Nature vs Nurture | SpiritDog Academy

Nature vs Nurture


Have you heard the phrase “It’s all how you raise them” before? Did you think that all dogs come as a blank slate, and we alone determine how they will behave as adults?

Well … this is actually not true. Because dog breeds were developed over centuries to perform very specific tasks, and to show very specific behaviors; every puppy will come with his own genetic “blue print” of how to behave.

We need to be aware of this blue print, and make smart puppy training decisions based on it. The eventual goal of all puppy owners is more or less the same: To have a well-mannered dog that’s fun to be around.

But for different breeds, owners have to take slightly different paths to get there.

Let’s take the example we already mentioned in the Puppy Program: Behaving well in public. For some more introvert breeds with guarding instincts that are naturally suspicious of strangers this means that they should get to say Hi to others if they want to, and make plenty of pleasant experiences near people. This way we prevent them from becoming stand-offish or even reactive.

For very outgoing breeds such as my Golden Retriever, it means that he had to learn to focus on me and NOT go and greet others. This way, I got him to relax a bit in public and not think that it’s his task to meet everyone.

In this course, I grouped the breeds not always by their AKC group, but by behavior and prevalence. Eg – you will see a separate lesson about Doodles, because they are so common these days and I know many of our students own Doodle puppies.

If you own a less common breed or want to see a lesson specifically on your dog’s breed, please let me know – I always welcome content suggestions and will add lessons for breed or breed types we have not yet discussed 🙂

And last but not least: In this course, I mostly focus on the potential issues and problems that are likely to arise and how to prevent them.

Of course, your puppy is not just potential issues! (S)he is an amazing individual and will bring so much joy to your family. Use this guide as a help for what to focus on, not as a pessimistic outlook for all the things that will go wrong.