Nature versus Nurture is another thing argued about extensively, usually with little of value resulting. We do, however, need to realize the role of nature in training because it can be difficult to tell. Once summer, we took a dog for training that we had worked with as a puppy the summer prior. When we got the dog back, he refused to go into a air freight box on his own. This was not problem at all the summer before, but now he refused to go into a box. We were frustrated because we haul dogs in boxes mounted on ATV’s this time of year at our training area to save wear and tear on the truck, and it was a wrestling match with this dog every time with neither party involved enjoying it.
Thinking that the dog had experienced some sort of bad experience somewhere along the line, we queried the owner but he reassured us that he could think of nothing uncomfortable that had happened in this regard, but that he too, had noticed that the dog did not like to go into a box. We at first rationalized that, probably, something had happened that this owner, being not nearly so experienced at such things, did not recognize.
In short order, however, we worked two littermates to this dog and, you guessed it: though the litter was all with their new owners by eight weeks of age, and though these three dogs were widely separated for the next two years with three different owners in three different circumstances… none of them liked to go into a dog box.
Something strange in these genes (we had worked both parents and several grandparents without seeing this problem) converged in this litter and the behavior, apparently, had nothing to do with a bad experience. So it can pay to keep in touch with the breeder and owners of brothers and sisters to the dog. Though brothers and sisters are not genetically the same, common problems can occur.
-Ryan Frame, LCS Elite Crew