Pantops Pet Salon
Follow us on Facebook

Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Nature and Nurture

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

There is an on-going debate on whether animals and humans are born with “what you see is what you get” or if they can be developed through environmental factors.  Which is more important?  Let the scientists argue.  I think we can agree that both the nature and nurture sides of the debate play an important role.

Those of us with children know that each is born into the world with a certain personality and it is up to us to shape it.  My son Michel owns the Pet Motel and Salon—an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree.  My daughter Laura is a mother of three and helps in the business—she said she could care less about attending college.  My daughter Rebecca was a gifted swimmer and as parents we encouraged that through college—and it paid off.  Our son Carl on the other hand was born with cerebral palsy and no amount of love or education was going to change that.

When you select a puppy, be aware of the traits that that puppy is born with.  It has been established that selective breeding over generations increases the likelihood of offspring that resemble their parents.  Proven race horses can demand top dollar to become part of a breeding pair because their offspring are likely to have the same racing ability.  The science of animal husbandry is mandatory education for farmers who deal in livestock as well as for breeders of dogs.

While not guaranteed, your chances of getting a dog that closely resembles the traits of the breed are much higher with a conscientious breeder who only breeds the best.  In a litter of 8 pups, a breeder may determine that 1 or 2 have a fault they don’t wish to be passed on.  It may be as minor as some white on a dog that must be totally black to something more serious.  These pups are usually sold as “pet quality” (rather than show quality) for substantially less money than the others.  My second Dane, Belle, was from such a breeder.  Belle was extremely shy.  She was by far show quality in appearance but required special care from me in unfamiliar situations or with strangers.

After selecting your pup, you must rely on nurturing the traits.  What we bring to the table to form, change, and reinforce the behavior, appearance, and health we desire of our dog.  We have several articles that go into detail in these areas.  Where nature claims that “what you see is what you get,” nurture says that with emphasis on the environment, we can shape the behavior and well being of our pet.  I think we have to make a concerted effort in both areas—pay close attention to breeding when selecting a pup but realize that your dog won’t meet its full potential without regard to how we train and care for it.

Leave a Reply