biddability, energy, and "velcroness"

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by GoingNowhere, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    Is it just me, or do they all seem to go hand in hand more often than not? Dependence/"velcro-dog" syndrome and biddability make intuitive sense to me - after all, the independent dog likely wants to think independently as well and thus may have other ideas than listening to the trainer. But energy seems to be right there as well.

    I ask because I've been thinking about my future dog and what I like to live with and what I don't and it seems I've stumbled upon this interesting catch-22 of sorts. When it comes down to it, I think that there are two things that would drive me up a wall faster than anything else: noisiness and lack of an ability to settle (while I love training, I'd prefer this ability to be less of a trained "stay at your place" and more of a natural thing. And no - playing independently with a squeaky isn't the same as settling in my eyes).

    I like Boo's energy. From the day that we got her (@ around 2 or 3 years old), she always had impeccable house manners. She settles well, doesn't always need to be up someone's butt, etc. Yet, she LOVES to do things and go out when we give her the opportunity. I really really like that slight independence/grace/composure about her.

    At the same time, I would love to have a dog that's naturally a bit more biddable. Boo is more than happy to work with me, but she doesn't have the "let me do something for you PLEASE!" attitude. I would love a dog who, with a bit of work (but not so much that I give up), can be let off leash in public spaces with a solid enough recall that I can get it back to me even with another dog approaching or a squirrel nearby. I get that it's as much about training as it is about natural behaviors/willingness to please. But, I also recognize that there's absolutely something to be said for genetics.


    So, here's the general question. Are there any breeds that you know of that are notoriously biddable, but also notoriously well-mannered before they've just settled with age? I'd be interested on the flip side as well (though I think that's a bit more common) - of dogs who have a ton of boundless energy, but really don't give a crap what their owner thinks (I'm thinking some terriers haha)...


    Sighthounds and spitz type dogs strike me in the very "well-mannered" category, with dogs like border collies and malinois in the very biddable category. Are there any that are extremes of both?

    And yes, I get that a mature golden retriever, lab, aussie, or border collie even could fit the bill quite well - but I'm wanting this to be more of a general breed thing and less of a "dog for me!" thread :)
     
  2. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    What about like a collie collie?
     
  3. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    I'm not sure. I mean, Dobermans are supposed to be a biddable breed, they're definitely energetic (especially in their younger days) and are extreme velcro dogs, but they (IME) are not naturally well mannered haha. Mine were both terrors. Ripley was better, as he's a sucky boy who just wants to do right, but Keira was a nightmare and made me never, ever want another Doberman again lol. Until she grew up a bit and then Ripley came along and we were like yes, let's get another (apparently we temporarily forgot her naughty stage in the presence of a cute little red puppy and his littermates). But for a breed that is very human oriented, they are not a breed I'd put into the "naturally well behaved dog" category.

    Journey is a very energetic, very biddable (much more so than the Dobermans), very velcro dog and while she's had naughty moments, she's been super easy since day one and has never caused any major trouble. I started letting her sleep loose in my room at like 4 or 5 months old and she was perfect, and she's totally trustworthy left alone in the house too and has been that way for a while. I don't do it often, but I know I can. I also never really had to teach her to be off leash. She just was naturally good. Stuck close from the beginning, keeps an eye on me, 99% of the time has an extraordinary recall, etc. There are many examples, but those are a couple. She's just a naturally good dog. And for as much of a velcro dog as she is, that doesn't mean she pesters me. She just likes to snuggle and be near me, but isn't what I'd call too clingy or needy. My Border Collie mix was much the same way, except with her extreme sound neurosis, I couldn't leave her loose alone as she'd panic.

    Dance is not what I'd call biddable, is not at all a velcro dog, and is active. She's never gotten into any major trouble and is not what I'd call a dog who took a lot of work to mold into a well behaved house dog, but at the same time, she is super sneaky and is always finding things to do independently. Not usually anything bad (except consuming fabric), but still, she doesn't just hang out like the rest of my dogs and when I tell her to do something, if she were a human, she'd totally give me that bratty teenager eye roll look and do what was asked with an attitude haha.

    As far as general breeds go that are biddable and easy, I know the internet scared me from herding breeds a little bit thinking they were all "go, go, go" dogs who needed tons of training and stimulation, but now that I've had two, and thinking about most of the others that I know, I'd say generally herding breeds seem to be (for the most part) naturally good, easy dogs as long as the owner is an actual dog person and knows how to raise a dog properly. Not all of them, of course, but many of them. Other people might have had different experiences, and this might be my experience simply because I am well matched to herding dog personalities, but yeah, my experience is that they're pretty naturally well mannered.

    Other groups I've lived with are hounds (IME not naturally well behaved) and working dogs (again, take a lot of effort and training, but then are good). Most of the dogs I know are herding dogs, working and hound as well. Some sporting and some terriers (both of which I would not say are naturally well behaved, although the sporting dogs certainly try their best haha).
     
  4. StompinT

    StompinT Member

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    Jumping in with a silly question - which breed is Journey?
     
  5. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen New Member

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    Sheltie? All of the shelties I have met are very biddable and also naturally well mannered. None have had over the top energy either.

    I think a collie is another good suggestion. Biddable, but well mannered and not off the wall.

    I think the "moderate energy" herding dogs (like farm-type collies, not BCs) fit a lot of your requirements.

    IME sporting dogs are pretty biddable and generally very velcro, but not at all naturally well behaved. The older ones often are (everybody knows a sweet old gentleman golden or lab) but adolescence can be tough. They are just physical dogs and think that body slamming and moving into your space is awesome. Dogs who naturally move away from physical pressure (like some herding dogs) come across as more polite because they're not getting up in your space and jumping all over you. I think the ones with softer temperaments tend to be easier, because they actually care when you give them a withering look and ask them to stop counter surfing. The ones with more of a hard temperament just laugh at you while jumping on the counters and stealing your stuff.

    Watson will hunt independently off leash, and it seems like he doesn't care where I am, but I've realized he does always have his eye on me. He just assumes that if he can still see me, it's fine to keep running after animals. He doesn't actually want to take off on his own though and will panic a bit if I suddenly hide or disappear. So not crazy biddable, but pretty velcro and not super independent either.
     
  6. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    She's an Aussie.
     
  7. GatorDog

    GatorDog Member

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    Carma has incredible biddability. She will work for anyone who asks her to, really, and do so happily. She loves doing everything and will try anything once. She also recovers well from something that might startle her and has no issues with trying something more than once, even if she's unsuccessful. She could heel through a busy dog park with the most focus you could ever imagine, and do a perfect recall in the middle of it all.

    She has plenty of energy, lol. Not sure if you've seen some of the videos I've posted of her, but she can go all day long. The greatest thing about her though, is that she settles so great in the house. As long as she has had a reasonable amount of exercise during the day, she just grabs her closest toy and lays down. She isn't super destructive and sleeps loose in my bedroom at night, usually on my bed ;)

    Velcro, for sure. Even though she settles well in the house, she does follow me from room to room. Not up my butt or anything, but just keeping an eye on me ;) She won't really go farther than fifteen feet away off leash outside. She likes to explore a bit, but make sure I haven't gone anywhere without her.

    She's perfect for me. Obviously I recognized her drive to work at a young age, and spent a lot of time building upon that, but i think that even if I hadn't picked her for sport, she would be an awesome pet for an active home. She's great with every person or animal she's ever met, could play fetch for days on end, and will sleep in bed with me at night. I can't ask for much more than that.

    Oh, she's absolutely adorable too.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    Interesting responses everyone. Collies are one of the few breeds that did strike me originally as possibly being that rare-middle ground, though I haven't met many to see their energy level first hand. I haven't met many shelties either (though I can assure you that if only due to noise level, they are not the breed for me!)

    Carma sounds awesome and certainly sounds like she's perfect for you! She also sounds like she could have developed worse house manners given her energy if not for a dog saavy owner like yourself.

    That said, I guess the intent of my question was less to consider breeds suitable for me and more just to see if there were any exceptions to the trend I've noticed that there seems to be a positive correlation between bidability and energy.


    You know how some dogs tend to just be naturally more apt to chill? That is, even if they just get a walk around the block, they're happy as clams. They don't need a dog saavy owner. Actually, if anything, their house tendencies tend to be more catlike. Think of sighthounds. Even as puppies, they're notorious for being pretty "chill" - a good romp or two and they're content to relax and just be with their people.

    Now consider those breeds that are known for being biddable and having an amazing work ethic. None of these breeds seem to overlap with the "chill out" breeds.

    It's almost as if energy and biddability were selected for conjointly (because those who needed biddable dogs, also needed a partner who was willing to work all day)... or maybe the two just tend to be genetically related. Or maybe, there's some third variable that I'm not thinking of!


    I guess I find it interesting, because while I can't think of many biddable but lazy dogs, I can think of a handful that are hardwired for go-go-go energy, but also notoriously independent.
     
  9. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    To bring the conversation more personal again, this is the guy I'm currently drooling over:

    [​IMG]

     
  10. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

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    I think a lot of very biddable, high energy breeds (thinking mainly herders here, but I think it could apply to labs & goldens & what have you), have been bred for the last few generations to be high energy. I have a hard time imaging old farmers & ranchers tolerating dogs that had a lot of nervous energy, or paced around the farm yard, or whatever. It would agitate the animals. Sure, they needed to have the stamina to work all day, but they didn't have to be "on" all day - the way I picture a lot of herders now a days. I would think that if you looked at the dogs bred for working dogs, you might see a lot less of the over the top high energy.

    I think Hudson is very velcroy. He isn't clingy and doesn't feel the need to be touching me all the time, which I'm thankful for, but he is very sure that I can't be left alone, unsupervised. He definitely wants to please and be a good dog. He was an easy puppy, maybe not as "old soul" as a lot of ESs are, but he wasn't purposefully naughty. He wasn't chewing on the legs of the chairs, or the table, he was easy to crate train, has been sleeping loose in the bedroom since he was just a few months old, etc. Just an easy pup.

    But I wouldn't consider him 'high energy'. Sure, he can go all day when I ask him to. In Oct. I took him to an ES gathering and he ran for 4 -5 hours straight, played with tons of dogs, & met sheep for the first time. I do think he was getting tired and defensive towards the end, but he would have just kept going. During the week, he is crated while we're at work, and we play fetch indoor since it still gets dark early. He is perfectly content with that. He doesn't need hours of running & training to be happy inside. I guess if "high energy" you mean any puppy that needs more than a romp or two, and then chills all day, I guess he could be described as High Energy, but personally, I consider him in the medium range.
     
  11. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    That's a really good point about the farm dog mentality. Yeah, it doesn't sound like Hudson is high energy - maybe I just have a skewed perception of typical herders based on all of the "scare tactics" that people throw out there to try to dissuade people from buying an active dog on a whim.

    For example, my friend regularly goes on about the amount of energy that her dogs (aussies) have. I was quite pleasantly surprised when she brought them to visit. For the most part, they napped the day away unless they were watching out the window or chewing on a squeaky toy. She walks them every day (and at their home they have a medium sized yard), but that's it as far as serious exercise or mental stimulation goes.
     
  12. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen New Member

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    I see what you're saying and I do think sometimes energy and biddability go together. A biddable dog has to have the drive to want to do things with their person. If they were a true couch potato, they probably wouldn't have as much drive to work with people because they would be happiest just lounging around. That can mean the dog needs some stimulation to be happy, but it doesn't mean they will be a pacing whiney mess either. I also agree that people selecting for biddable dogs would want energy to actually do the job the dog is bred for, whether it's herding or hunting all day.

    Watson had been called high energy by trainers, but I think he's more medium energy. I only walk him about 45-60min a day (less this winter) and he really does sleep most of the time. He would go all day if I asked, and he can turn on the energy and drive when he wants, but he's not annoying either (except occasionally, but he's still under 2). He might drive some people slightly crazy if they wanted a low energy dog, but for a dog savvy home he's not hard to live with.
     
  13. Oko

    Oko Silence, peasants.

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    I think a big thing with herding breeds is that the act of working stock is very, very taxing mentally and physically, so when you place them in a home without that activity, it's going to take a heck of a lot more time to tire them out.
     
  14. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    I think a lot of that depends on how the dog is treated in the house. I'm not saying that all dogs can be taught to settle well (that's obviously untrue) but I think there's a lot of play in the line.

    When I'm home alone with Elsie, she naps. If I ask her to get the ball, she jumps up, if I leave the room, she follows me, but she doesn't pace, pant, or pester.

    When my roommate is home, Elsie moves NONSTOP. She pokes, she pants, she drops balls, she pesters, she steals, she gets on and off furniture--she's a huge pest. I told my roommate when she moved in not to encourage those behaviors, but she ignored me, and now she's a monster who won't settle... when my roommate is there.

    Now, my roommate talks about how 'those dogs' never settle in the house and Elsie has too much energy and needs constant attention and so on, but as soon as she walks out the door, Elsie's back on the sofa, napping. My roommate doesn't believe me, lol. Why would she? In her experience, Elsie moves nonstop.

    I'm not saying get a Belgian, of course, but Elsie is not anywhere near the monster people talk about. She gets a lot of stimulation and interaction, but she doesn't need 7 hours of running or anything crazy like that. We have plenty of days where we do very, very little.

    She's very biddable, moderate energy, and she's... under my desk with her head on my chair's wheels right now, lol.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  15. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen New Member

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    I get this with Watson too. Right now he's passed out on his dog bed, and earlier tonight he was passed out on my lap. We only walked about 30min and did 5 minutes of training and he's happy to sleep all evening. If I get up he'll be ready to go, but when I sit down he goes to sleep again.

    When he's around our instructors (and other dogs), and when my parents are visiting he paces, whines, jumps on and off furniture, steals things, and is generally annoying. I've had so many trainers say "Oh, he's high energy! I bet he never sleeps." They really don't believe me that he just crashes at home and 99% of the time isn't a pain at all. My parents don't always know how to encourage quiet, and instructors see him in high arousal situations which aren't daily life.

    I think dogs with that tendency towards busy behavior can be easily stimulated into acting obnoxious, but if you manage it correctly they're really not bad. It just requires some dog savviness to be conscious of when you're reinforcing bad behavior and when you're reinforcing calm.
     
  16. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

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    That's a good point that I didn't consider. Reading stock, being ready to take direction at a moments notice.

    Same. New people get him pretty worked up, so everyone thinks he is "OMG Crazy" all the time, but today we went outside a few times, played fetch in the house, and he squeaked a toy. Now he's laying in the corner sleeping.
     
  17. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Yes! I completely agree with this. My dogs are awful for other people. Journey bounces and leaps and is just generally obnoxious. Keira paces and whines and demand screeches everything. Ripley plays non-stop. Dance frantically wanders the house gathering things neurotically to play with. I expect from my dogs that when we are in the house, we are calm and quiet unless given permission otherwise. I don't really feel like it's something I taught specifically, but somehow all of my dogs know that when I am around, they are to relax and behave themselves. And they do so happily. They either play quietly together when I'm home until I ask them to stop, or they sleep most of the day, or they chew bones. It's an expectation that they've grown accustom to since day one. I don't really understand why they are not the same way with other people, or what people do differently with them than what I do, but they can certainly be tyrants when I am not around lol.
     
  18. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    My shelties have all settled very very well for what it's worth. They didn't need any extraordinary amount of anything. Compared to Mia, they were a cake walk. Nice manners, adaptable energy level, etc. Are all shelties like that? No, but most are pretty adaptable. I know some really drivey ones but they're dogs that were bred from two worlds' team members, or something like that. Those dogs can be a lot more dog but still strike me as being able to turn off well. For what it's worth, Mia is much less apt to turn off or skip a day than any of our herders were.

    My last sheltie was sport and show bred too. He basically spent his time lounging around the house and running around our couple acres. Nothing too major there.

    A lot of 'energy' is going to depend on perception and where you see the dog. My trainer has a belgian, a blue lacy, a viszla, and a border collie (just for reference) and has commented on how high energy Summer is. Summer is 10 and not high energy at all really. She just... is excitable in agility. It's her favorite game in the world and she's a bit nutty for it (which I love!). On the agility field, she spends the whole time bouncing and spinning like a top. You see her at an agility practice and she looks like a dog that goes nonstop. You see her at the pet store and she looks kinda bonkers. You see her at home or on a normal walk and she's pretty darn chill. On the flip side, in public Mia is so disinterested in people that she comes across as really low key. Whereas at home, Mia is busy.

    Tonight I was gone for a full 13 hours (with lunch time break splitting it up). It's an unusual occurrence- my friend's brother passed away, etc. Long story short, I didn't get home till just now. Summer has been asleep all day and when I got home went to potty then went to the couch to sleep. Mia is pacing and whining. I'm going to have to run Mia down for a bit if I want to sleep. And that's with a couple mental stimulation times and food toys and training for her as well as doing a ton yesterday at the barnhunt and after plus hiking both days beforehand.

    Mia LOOKS much calmer to most people but she's not. She's much busier. She can't handle 13 hours of downtime well. Summer would probably never ever demand exercise but when it happens is so bubbly and happy she looks crazy hyper. It's pretty deceptive and just meeting a dog in public doesn't give you a great idea of what it's like to live with.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  19. Kootenay

    Kootenay Active Member

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    Rough Collie would definitely be one breed that springs to mind as biddable but pretty mellow.

    And yeah, also farm-ish collie type mixes. My mom has an awesome little dog, she seems like a border collie mix but she's a perfect blend of biddable and willing and high energy when needed, but also totally happy to just chill out. They are very much your average pet owners, they walk her sometimes, but she goes to the office every day and just hangs out. She's an awesome dog. And soooo cute too! She comes from a local farm/ranch and there seem to be tons of dogs who look very similar to her and have similar temperaments.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. gilles

    gilles New Member

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    Volka (CAO) is pretty good listening and following orders.....but for a limited amount of time and then he gets bored quickly. he has his own area in the house because he can be pretty destructive and already did a good job on doors and chairs. he sleeps a lot which is good which gives me time to do few things around the house.
    but in 3 months i am moving to my summer house..and there...he will have a big outdoor area to play and few farm animals to guard ..it will be heaven for him.
     

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