Travel thoughts E1: dog/dog sociability

I had fun with The Brindle Girl series, and decided to do more video-style posts. I’m hoping this will tie me over until I go back to speaking in front of groups of people. I was going to record these while driving across Guatemala and Mexico – but it turned out that the AC blasting and the car were too much background noise. So I’m only recording these post road trip. They are still travel thoughts, so I’m keeping the name!

The first video post below is my musings about dog/dog sociability. After recording this, I remembered that I recently learned something that contradicts my anecdotal experience: dog breeds, it turns out, are much less predictive of an individual’s behavior and personality traits than we conventionally think they are.

How do we know that? As of today (May 27, 2021), the Darwin’s Ark project has analyzed 3,056,323 answers provided by the owners of 29,233 dogs. At the 2021 Lemonade Conference, Elinor Karlsson explained their approach in a captivating talk that was amazingly understandable even for someone like me, with zero training in data analysis or statistics. If you get a chance to catch one of her presentations – make sure you don’t miss it!

Based on what Elinor Karlsson and colleagues have found, you should take my video musings with a grain of salt! So before you watch my video – here’s the scientific caveat:

In relation to predicting sociability, we’ve learned two things from Darwin’s Ark:

  1. An individual dog’s behavior and personality traits can not accurately be predicted if all we know is their breed.
  2. Dog breeds have some subtle differences in behavior and personality when compared to all (pet) dogs.
    However, these differences are not clear for all factors examined in the Darwin’s Ark project. For example, there are no statistically significant breed differences when it comes to factors like agonistic threshold, and dog sociability – two factors relevant to my musings below.

4 thoughts on “Travel thoughts E1: dog/dog sociability

  1. Barbara Weiss says:

    I enjoyed your thoughts about the differences in your Malinois. I’ve had 3 Mals now, and 2 of the 3 had temperaments like Game. The third one is like Grit. Although he has good manners (all of my Mals have been therapy dogs), he has no desire to play with other dogs in general. Once in a while he’ll meet another dog that he will greet and sniff, but then he’s done – no play bow, no overtures to interact.
    Thanks for your observations; I look forward to reading and seeing more videos. Barbara

    • Chrissi Schranz says:

      Thank you for sharing your observations about your three Mals! The longer I work with dogs, and the more individual dogs I meet, the more I realize that indeed, every dog is different – and there’s a borad spectrum of behavior that is perfectly “normal,” even if it inconveniences the human on the other end of the leash!

  2. Joyce Spinden says:

    I appreciated you sharing your work with Brindle Girl. By you sharing how you’d adapt to her responses and behaviors gave me much insight into your thought processes.
    I look forward to seeing more of your training work.

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