Obedience; the drive killer

Some of my best writings, come out of topics and conversations I see happen online through social media. This was an interesting one for me….gameness and aggression…Are they the same thing? There are many people out there, maybe even reading this, that didn’t know there was a difference, have never heard “gameness”, or are now more curious. If you are educated and well versed in the language of old dogmen, dog behavior and training, and the writings of american pit bull terriers…. then the answer is easy for you. NO, they are two totally different things. If you are not, then you might be apt to believe that aggression is gameness——to which you are all backwards in your logic.

By definition, gameness is defined to mean the ability or willingness to do the task at hand, in the face of adversity. Seems like a pretty badass quality to have, huh? On the flip side, aggression is summed up as hostile or violent behavior or attitude towards another. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want an aggressive dog…and in fact, if you are reading this and happen to be a believer in “all pit bulls are bad”….rest assured that aggression was actually an unwanted behavior and many pits were culled on the spot for showing those signs and behaviors.

GAMENESS IS WHAT WE WANT. Now, a lot of different breeds of dog can be game!… we aren’t just talking about APBTs here. I know several game Mals, Border Collies, even rat terriers! The willingness to do the task at hand, in the face of adversity. That’s gameness. Whether is it a clatterstick, 3000lbs of weight, bales of hay on top of rat filled tubes, or

Now, since we have so many of the bully breeds running around, and dog fighting is illegal (which is how they used to test gameness)…..what do we do with dogs who were bred for the gameness, grit, and perserverance? Dog Sports. Here is what was ironic about the inspiration for this little blog… the person was arguing against the idea that gameness can’t truly be tested because we don’t allow dogs to fight. “UM, Im sorry—-what?” Now, I already said it before, but that is now illegal, but she wasn’t entirely inaccurate. In the old days, I am talking as early as the 1700s, american pit bull terriers were put up on bulls, bears, and other dogs. All in efforts to test gameness….. wasn’t ideal, but that is the truth. Get right with it. Know history, so we don’t make the same mistakes.

Now dog fighting is not an option, but we still have a ton of bully breeds out there that are unfulfilled (and I don’t mean dogs looking for brawls and fights; I mean dogs that have gameness and no where to put it safely and humanely). Dog Sports…. that is how we test gameness now. You see, a new emerging sport, GRC DogSports combines the old school pit game of wall climb, spring pole, weight pull and mill racing but with the added element of social responsibility and control. Yes, I said it… “CONTROL”. There are many sports out there that encourage weight pull, wall climb, and mill races. VERY VERY few of them seek to advocate and push for social responsibilty. Maybe fear that it will remove the gameness? Does putting obedience on a dog really kill drive? Or are we giving adversity a definition? The definition of gameness doesn’t say that obedience and control can’t serve as the sources of adversity. To be honest, having to internally control and fight off the urges to act, on their own accord, as opposed to being physically restrained by a harness, leash, or person… that speaks more to adversity to me.

Here is my take on this…. if you have a real game dog….obedience doesn’t do shit. It’s a pause….. a brake system for a V8 engine….an interruption but NOT a deterrant. Read that again…. obedience doesn’t affect a game dog. Think back to the definition… it’s not just a definition reserved for American Pit Bull Terriers. The obedience and control MAKES the gameness even more spectacular; it doesn’t kill drive. It enhances it. The problem is and will always be—-when it is introduced. If you are obedience heavy and start adding a ton of parameters too soon, some dogs never learn they have gameness, or develop the drive you want. Therefore, making it seem like the obedience is the drive killer. Not that your timing could have been off ;)

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out GRC DogSports. Gameness isn’t just reserved for the American Pit Bull Terrier….. so GRC DogSports isn’t either. Check it out, come train with us…. Gameness, Relationship and Control… that’s what it is all about.

Ashley Sculac