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I got into a discussion with a co worker of mine regarding dog breeds and training. He believes, no matter what a dog was bred for, it can be trained to do otherwise. I disagreed, and told him that despite training my dog Rune that she is not allowed to make a move to herd the cats, it will never stop her from posturing/eying them because its in her blood, its instinctual...I also suggested he look up the videos of 8 week old pups being introduced to the sight of sheep, and already falling into the 'herding' postures...Its not something they were trained to do to begin with! Comes too naturally, lol.

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I guess I see two scenarios here:

1) the herding dog who wants to herd the cats - yes, you can "teach" him an imcompatible behavior, such as sitting or going to a crate or whatever. But that would not eradicate (or perhaps even lessen) the DESIRE and inclination to do the original behavior.


2) (and I'm grasping for an example here...) - the northern breed who is "taught" to do agility. It doesn't come naturally (following a human's directions, second by second), it isn't easy (turning, NOT going full speed if handler can't handle that speed), and it isn't instinctive. But it could be done - and has!


In either case....as you pointed out, yes, a dog can be trained to do "otherwise" - but that doesn't remove the instinct.



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