What is the difference between nature and nurture as it applies to how dogs respond to their environments?FamilyPet
Nature refers to the inherited genes and nurture is how the environment affects their phenotype, actual observed properties, such as development, morphology or behavior. This distinction is fundamental in the study of trait inheritance or evolution.
Nature determines features and characteristics that may be inherited by some ancestors were endowed with the same features and characteristic. In the dog’s case, the wolf in the wild. Even though dogs are now domesticated, they still have some of those traits, such as the social rules of the “pack.”
Nurture depends on environment and, even though inherited, some of those traits can be modified. For instance, wild wolf packs often had many types of howls to signify happiness, sadness or warnings. We employ training techniques to modify those behaviors so our dogs won’t engage in excessive barking.
In reality, the obvious answer is both nature and nurture are factors in how animals respond to their environments.
Separating the complex interconnections between nature and nurture is difficult. While some dogs, because of their genes, may be more likely to fight than flee, the factors that decide one reaction or the other are highly situational. There are temperament differences between genders, within breeds, lines and even litters. Owners further shape differences in individuals with socialization, training methods, even nutrition and medical care. These life experiences pile onto one another over a lifetime creating learned responses to similar events.
When a pet has a disagreeable behavior, such as inappropriate barking or digging, blaming nature does not change the situation at hand. Nurture may have had a part in the current issue, but still isn’t a remedy. To change the way our animals react to their environment, trainers and owners employ such methods as desensitization, operant and classical conditioning,