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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Breeders and WAE

Hello,

I'd love another doberman some time in the future, I'm not in a hurry though.

I'm interested in the WAE as a minimum for the temperament I'd like in a doberman. I realize it's not the end all be all test but it seems a good starting point. Are there breeders that really focus on producing dogs that can pass it? If so, could you please mention a few. I'm going through the DPCA breeder list and from some of the breeders web pages I have visited it doesn't seem like the majority of dogs they list have that particular certification, more one here and one there kind of thing, or maybe I'm not reading it correctly.

Basically I'd like a doberman with some guardian instincts but I don't need the extreme prey drive of a sport or "working" type dog, given this the WAE seemed like a good starting point for what I'm looking for as opposed to a BH in IPO. I realize a BH involves an obedience routine in addition to temperament. I just mention it because the drive I'm assuming that is needed to do a 7 or 8 minute focused heel isn't the part I need in a dog right now.

Thank you for any input, I hope my questions don't push any buttons. If they do it's likely out of my own ignorance on these subjects.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 02:29 PM
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I would say, Irongate Dobermans, Eve Auch in Truckee, CA.
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 02:53 PM
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There are a lot of reasons why a dog may or may not have a WAC. Some people live in a geographic area where the accessibility to a WAE is restricted. Every DPCA affiliated club is required to hold a WAE at least once every 3 years, but there are big areas of the country that either do not now have a club or never did. As an example, the state of Pennsylvania only has one club which is the one I am an officer in: Quaker City DPC. We pull in SE PA and South Jersey. For the past several years, our meetings have been at the presidents house in South Jersey.... which is also where we hold our WAE. During my time here, I've see two clubs within a couple hours drive of me go under. Most clubs are small with an aging population because no-one wants to get involved. It takes a minimum of 2 organizers off the field, and 6 people on the field (not including the evaluator) to hold a WAE - some clubs don't have that many people. Our club has had other clubs join with ours to hold a WAE because they can't do one on their own. For the past 3 years, my husband (not a dog person) has been drafted as the aggressive stranger for our club - he actually does a great job.

I do take all of my personal dogs through the WAE at some point. Doing so with no previous training in it tells me a lot about their temperament. I don't truly care if they get the title or not. The vast majority of dogs fail at the aggressive stranger part ... but very few of those dogs try to actively get away from the aggressive stranger. They stand by their owner/handler looking at the guy as if to say: "what the heck?!" They are mostly show dogs and have been trained/conditioned to accept a lot of strange people to put hands on them all over. They truly don't know that they are allowed to react in an aggressive manner towards someone who stops 9' away. I know this for a fact because after one of my dogs failed at this point, I did 15 minutes worth of training with a personal protection trainer until the lightbulb went on in her head - once she knew she could react, she did. I took her through again and she passed with flying colors. My boy Harvard failed also, but since I've had him put himself between me and a stranger numerous times in parking lots while traveling for shows, I just didn't feel the need to prove it. I regret it a little, as the title would have been nice. I have another girl that failed, but her temperament is such that I didn't think it was a good idea for her to think that acting aggressive was an option her her - she is reactive enough already. I have dogs from all 3 of my litters that have passed the WAE and that is good enough for me.

What is important to know is how the dog did in all parts of the test. I have personally seen IPO trained and/or titled dogs fail the WAE for different reasons... they all passed the aggressive stranger part. I saw one fail on the footing part (not a big deal to me), but also saw one get aggressive where they should not have.

Most Dobermans are protective of what they think of as their territory.... people and places. What that means is that most Dobes are fairly protective in their own home..... but may not be when somewhere else.... which is actually not a bad thing! An intimidating dog that will bark at the window or door is pretty much a deterrent for all but the most determined of criminals. I once had a therapy certified Doberman that would have let a gang of 8 year old thieves take all they wanted (I had kids that age at the time and our house was a hangout), but she put an adult neighbor in a bark and hold in my front hallway when he thought he could follow the kids in one day. It was quite the eye opener for both me and the neighbor - haha! She did have her WAC, CGC, CD, and TDI.

Lastly, the other thing you have to consider is that show people generally have jobs and families. Their time for things other than shows is thin. So they hope for puppy owners that will put the other titles on their dogs so that they can show the versatility of the dogs in the litter.

I hope this helps some!
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 03:45 PM
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Also, dogs might not have been to a WAE, but instead gone through a different temperament test, like the ones put on by the American Temperament Testing Society and the United Doberman Club. And now the AKC is developing their own temperament test.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 04:12 PM
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I know this isn't my thread, but thank you for that detailed and thoughtful answer, Mary Jo! I've been tempted to try it with Newton to see how he'd do, I just never seem to get one on a weekend I can make it.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 07:40 PM
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Great information from MaryJo on the WAE and why some dogs don't ever take it and I'll add to that the fact that I know far more show breeders whose dogs take the WAE than people with pets.

Michelle Santana's Foxfire dogs often have taken and passed the WAE--it would almost exclusively be the show dogs--the folks who show know about the WAE and often belong to Chapter Clubs who give the tests.

in Washington state Electron Dobermans (Tammy Markey) encourages her owners to take the dogs through the WAE (a few years ago a bunch of her dogs from the breeding of her litter sister to Toad sired by Michelle's Jet--it was a litter of 14 the five show prospects all passed with flying colors).

Also in Washington Emerald Dobermans (Cathy Ceely) puts her dogs in the WAE and encourages puppy owners to do the same.

I enter all my dogs in WAE's--although I had to start having someone else take them through it (since I spend all of the dogs early life teaching them to be show dogs and for my personal preference to NOT BARK--some of my dogs have no clue that they are allowed to behave protectively toward weird looking bad guys.) Took almost no encouragement to convince them that if they weren't in a conformation ring (or obedience ring) it was OK.

I've had five dogs (all pretty much Foxfire breeding) pass the WAE.

In my immediate area I can think of five more dogs (also mostly Foxfire breeding) who passed the WAE.

And just for the record I watched a WAE a few years ago where a dog with a Schutzhund 1 took and failed the WAE on the bad guy--hid behind the handler from the time the bad guy started his routine until he disappeared behind the van.

But the bottom line on the WAE--is to ask the breeder if they encourage owners to take the WAE--more people know nothing about it than you'd believe. But don't just rely on the web pages. Frequently they just don't tell you enough.

Hmm--Kim Owen in Washington (Ravensown/KO) also usually takes her dogs through--that's why I started doing WAE's.

I do no training prior to the evaluation and I usually know if one of my dogs is likely to pass or not. At nine months I knew my fawn boy was going to pass easily and he did.

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 07:50 PM
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Our three passed the WAE and also without any previous coaching.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 11:01 PM
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I help with our club's WAE almost every year. Typically about half the dogs that take it pass, on average. I wouldn't rely on a breeder's website to necessarily be up to date in telling you if their dogs have passed - you can look on the DPCA website to see listings of dogs that have passed.

I see dogs fail on the aggressive stranger, but I've also seen a lot of dogs fail on the umbrella. And, dogs fail on other parts of the test. Some people train for the test, which I really, really hate. It's a temperament assessment - you should be seeing how your dog reacts to the test without "training" for it. Of course some parts of it are things you'd encounter in the real world, or in sports training, but the extent that some people go to try and pass is pretty shameful, IMO.

However, I do think it's great to see dogs that pass. However, it's also really nice to actually watch the WAE and see the dogs. There are a lot of different passing scores, and a lot of different temperaments that pass. It would only be a starting place for me. I don't disagree with you that it's something I like and would look for in pedigrees, but I'd still want to look a look deeper.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cressrb View Post
I would say, Irongate Dobermans, Eve Auch in Truckee, CA.
Had to go back and add, Eve breeds nice dogs. Longevity and temperament. I wouldn't hesitate to get a dog from her.

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I know this isn't my thread, but thank you for that detailed and thoughtful answer, Mary Jo! I've been tempted to try it with Newton to see how he'd do, I just never seem to get one on a weekend I can make it.
You should come over to Cambridge next June! It's not the worst drive for you and it's always fun to see you! We also have barn hunt and fast CATs, and last year there was a scentwork trial, so there might be again!


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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 11:45 AM
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I should also say that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Eve Auch's Irongate dogs--she is also very active in the WAE end of stuff--was from the beginning and is and has been an evaluator for years. No wonder her dogs tend to have great temperaments.

She was the evaluator for the WAE that my fawn dog was in--held him up as a good example of the kind of behavior you should see in an evaluation of a Doberman (and I'd been watching it since he was a puppy--that's why I thought he'd have no problems passing the WAE.)

I'm with you MeadowCat--I hate it when people train for the WAE--often you can tell if a dog has been trained (and I know because more than one evaluator has told me they can always spot a dog who has been trained on the various sections of the WAE)

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
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I'm with you MeadowCat--I hate it when people train for the WAE--often you can tell if a dog has been trained (and I know because more than one evaluator has told me they can always spot a dog who has been trained on the various sections of the WAE)

I'm curious as to how can you tell the difference between a dog who has been trained for parts of the WAE (or ATTS or UDC test, for that matter) versus a dog who has had a lot of socialization and exposure? Walking on a variety of surfaces, seeing all sorts of people, hearing noises, and stuff like that are all things that puppies should be exposed to.


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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
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I'm curious as to how can you tell the difference between a dog who has been trained for parts of the WAE (or ATTS or UDC test, for that matter) versus a dog who has had a lot of socialization and exposure? Walking on a variety of surfaces, seeing all sorts of people, hearing noises, and stuff like that are all things that puppies should be exposed to.
The meeting of a neutral stranger and a friendly stranger are definitely something that every puppy should have been exposed to but these are rarely failure points for a WAE. However--a lot of dogs are suspicious of stuff that involves footing and since the foot part is always a sheet of black plastic and an x-pen laid out flat one way to train for the footing is to drop a trail of attractive food down the length of the plastic and x-pen--a dog who goes slowly down the underfoot object with it's nose down all the way has almost certainly been trained to some degree. A dog who has never seen anything like that before usually will look down when they first step on the plastic or the x-pen but will just continue on.

Sound sensitive dogs can be trained to ignore a sharp sudden sound like a gunshot but often still fail it because a cap pistol just doesn't sound like a gunshot

Umbrellas are a dead giveaway if training has been done--almost anyone who is training a dog to pass the umbrella will do things like stick pieces of hot dogs on the point that protrudes in the center of the umbrella--dogs trained will go instantly for the point expecting to find a treat.

That's the kind of thing that goes on when people are training dogs just to pass the WAE not to see what a normal untrained response would be.

And as anyone who has trained dogs for competition knows--dogs don't generalize well and a dog who heels perfectly in his back yard may act as if he had no idea what "Heel" means in a new place. I've been told that there are well trained in Schutzhund./IPO/IGP (whatever they are calling it today--who cannot pass some sections of the basic test anywhere except on their own home field.

Vic Monteleon used to say that you could not train in what nature left out--and a lot of "trained" dogs can't pass parts of the WAE anywhere except where they were trained. Dogs refuse to walk on the plastic or x-pen, they startle at the rattle can and won't go near it. A gunshot drops them to their belly and they won't get up.

I've never even seen an ATTS test so except that I've been told it's much like a WAE I couldn't say how someone might "train" a dog. Ditto for the UDC test.

Considering all those tests are supposed to be a way to tell if your dog has appropriate "natural" instincts I'm always kind of surprised at the number of people that I know train for the WAE. Because all my Dobes start out as conformation dogs who are expected to stand like rocks for examinations no matter how weird the judge seems to be or how strange the clothing (Marie Myers--a judge from long ago was one you never wanted to enter young puppies under--she ALWAYS wore huge cartwheel size hats in the ring and while she was great with the dogs that hat often scared the bejeepers out of puppies who were in the ring for the first or second time) I've had some fail the bad guy because they clearly didn't know what they should do. They didn't hid behind me, they didn't try to run away but they often just stood in utter amazement watching the guy flop around and slap the ground with a stick.

If a dog of mine did that the first time in a WAE he got (like Mary Jo said) about 15 minutes with a personal protection trainer or a Ring trainer and you could see the light bulb go on. Those dogs passed just fine the next time they took the WAE.

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 12:35 AM
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There was a very interesting exchange between Ray Carlisle and Michelle Santana posted on the DPCA website about breeding and the WAE, how to use the WAE for one's breeding program. Some of the above responses have touched on some good points that they do bring up. MaryJo and Dobebug have a really good job delving into some of those aspects.
https://dpca.org/BreedEd/interpreting-the-wae/

For one, a dog that has been trained for the WAE will not behave in the same way as a dog that hasn't trained for the WAE. A conditioned or counter-conditioned response will be distinctly different from a natural response to the stimuli.
For another, a sport trained protection dog is not necessarily going to respond well to the aggressive stranger. While MaryJo says all the IGP dogs she has seen passed the aggressive stranger but failed in other areas, of the ones I've seen fail or barely pass, some did quite poorly or failed the aggressive stranger part. Training for sport and training for civil protection are very different things. The decoy/aggressive stranger in the WAE is wearing a hidden sleeve - if an IGP dog is sleeve focused they may not react at all. If an IGP dog is prey/play trained they also may not respond and in some cases be scared. And last but not least the behaviour and the picture is VERY different. Most decoys used at the WAE are not professional/trained helpers. Sometimes it is just a volunteer that hasn't ever done this before - they get briefly instructed by the judge and practice a few minutes before going in. An IGP helper is very "predictable" in terms of their movements and actions. That being said there are some Helpers who can be very intense and bring on the pressure and run dogs off a field - but they're still not the same as a guy behaving weird making zombie sounds, and moving in erratic, unnatural manner with a big hat and raincoat. Ultimately the dog knows what to expect (from both conditioned and contextual cues) and decides if it can handle it. My dog perks up and gets eager when she sees her agitation harness for example because she knows what it means. Her entire demeanour walking to the field is different with the harness and without it. This is not so, with the WAE. And it's part of the reason why the equipment used has to be approved and fit the same criteria for everyone - to ensure it's as fair as possible. If the dog is being taken through without training and for the first time, they have no idea what to expect, no clues/cues as to what they should do and what is going on. And if they've never encountered a hostile stranger, they don't necessarily "know" how they're supposed to respond until instinct kicks in, or the handler removes any inhibitions from said instinct.

Another thing to keep in mind... Dogs, (and particularly dobermans) cue in to their handlers, a lot. While I do believe dobermans have a natural capacity to make discerning evaluations of a situation on their own, generally a dog that is obedient and has a good relationship to the handler will turn to the handler if they are unsure of what to do, particularly if they have been trained/socialised/counter-conditioned to ignore weirdos, and/or have had their instincts and natural responses otherwise extinguished through training whether intentionally or unintentionally. When I ran Nadia through the WAE I think I was the only or maybe one of two handlers to listen to the judge's instructions. The judge specifically stated that in order to recreate a real situation of danger, you had to interact with the decoy.

If you just stand there doing nothing your dog may look at the decoy, look at you and decide this is 'normal' and particularly if your dog trusts your judgment, or is not necessarily an overly assertive dog (let's not pretend like we don't all know a dog that occasionally decides to 'veto' whatever decision the human has made and decides to take matters into their own paws ), or is the type of dog that really wants to please and not do the wrong thing, the dog may not react.

I've even seen this in protection training with young dogs being evaluated for the first time or introduced to it, particularly dogs that are highly obedient, with inexperienced handlers that make the mistake of walking onto the field in obedience heel, or put in a sit/down. The decoy comes out, provokes, tries to be aggressive. The dog gives them a massive side eye and keeps looking between the handler (that remains silent and unmoving) and the decoy and wonders wtf is going on, but the obedience overrides the need to react and the uncertainty/trust towards the handler makes the dog default to 'no reaction, dad doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong here'. I've seen dogs who are very reliant on their handler to the point where they almost look like they are expecting their human to do something/deal with the situation. It isn't necessarily out of fear or lack of confidence either, just an obedient dog deferring to their master.

Another thing too - if you have a happy, friendly, sociable dog that has been very well socialised and has never been in a situation of danger, never seen you fearful of anything... the dog may have a very benign conception of the world. In that dog's head if he's never experienced anything scary with his human, then he may not know that people/strangers can be bad, or that the world can be dangerous. I know that sounds a little silly, but I've seen it! I would say this is a dog that lacks natural suspicion which can be faulty for a doberman, but conditioning can be strong. That suspicion may exist but as I've said, might have been extinguished and could need re-boosting. Or, the dog may simply be young and not fully developed. Though you can take the WAE starting 18 months, this is a slow maturing breed especially with males, I find many of them are not even fully mature until 3... and I've seen some for who the light doesn't 'switch' on until even later than that for the 'seriousness'.

Bringing this back to the WAE. The judge said, if you were approached by an aggressive, hostile or unstable/drunk individual with bad intentions, you wouldn't stand there and just let your dog react would you? You'd likely yell/warn the threat to stay back. If you want a confident, happy, well-socialised dog to take a threat seriously, then the owner/handler/human has to take that threat seriously as well. You need to communicate or confirm to your dog that this is not normal, this is not desirable. You gotta get into the scenario a little and 'act' it out.

So sometimes when a dog fails it is not because they lack the capacity or the instincts. Sometimes the handler is a detriment. (It can also happen in the opposite way - a handler encouraging and praising too much their dog can distract the dog or reinforce the wrong thing, like if the dog is not reacting and you say "good boy!" you might reinforce the lack of reaction).

As others have said, the WAE is not strictly pass/fail. There is a scoring grid for each station, and for the last one (the aggressive stranger) it's even divided in to three separate aspects. Ok the dog has passed, or has failed. But how did he pass? How did he fail? To me a dog that would get +3 on all stations would not be correct either. My personal opinion is that a doberman should NOT be overly friendly or engaging with a neutral stranger. I also do not think a doberman should get naturally excited and eager to meet even a friendly stranger. To my mind, a doberman should be reserved and aloof and the ideal response beyond a cursory sniff or inspection should be to ignore. I also think the natural response to a friendly stranger should be mitigated and somewhat reserved, if perhaps more interested in the friendly than unfriendly. Even though they are friendly, they are still a stranger to you and the dog.

I am not ashamed to say that when Nadia did her WAE, she received plenty of handler help on my part for the friendly stranger. The handler is encouraged to act excited and enthusiastic and as the members who've seen the video can confirm, I behaved towards the friendly stranger as if I were greeting an old friend, greeting them and fussing and still Nadia's first reaction was to jump all over ME and be focused on ME. She was responding to my excitement, not the stranger's. She did go and inspect the stranger, greeted her (with mitigation, gave a bit of a nub wag, then 'parked' in front of her to humour her for petting) but her interest/excitement died down quick when she realised she didn't know who this was. Otherwise when friendly strangers approach us on the street for whatever reason, even when she is off duty from her service dog work, she tends to ignore them. Rarely even deigns a sniff even when they ask if they can pet her (if she decides that she is up to tolerating petting she will 'park' herself in front of the person sideways and allow them to pet her neck or back. No licks, no sniffs.)
Now if on the other hand I invite someone she's never met into the home it's a completely different matter - she will be all over them!

I am also of the perhaps controversial opinion that some dogs are gifted the WAE, some dogs pass that shouldn't in my humble view. Because it does come down to interpretation of the judge. There is a video of a dog who supposedly passed (I haven't checked on the DPCA website or Dobequest to verify) on youtube whom I wouldn't touch with a 30ft flag pole in terms of breeding or ownership. He was a European import and used for IPO, and still in spite of being personally involved with the sport, is not a dog I would have wanted. I didn't like what I saw. I disagree with what the owner of the video relays about the judge's comments. A characteristic of the WAE is that the dog's ability to recover and calm down from stimuli is also important, I do not consider that dog regained calm or control quickly enough on most stations, and on the last he was still wired throughout the judge's comments.

So while the WAE is a good start - much like any other title, simply having it (or failing it) doesn't necessarily tell the whole story or paint a full picture. If I'd be invested in a dog's WAC, I'd want to see the scoresheet, absolutely, and ideally I'd want to see a video to evaluate for myself and determine whether or not I a) agree with the judge and b) like what I see. Unfortunately, temperament is one area where I find there is a lot of misunderstanding, ignorance and ultimately there are many shades of grey that are subject to personal interpretation and opinion. I'm at the point where personally I know what kind of thing I don't want to see and some of the things I would like to see. I've learned a lot in that regards in particular over the last 2-3 years (and I'm still learning! There is so much yet to learn) and not every breeder should be as well versed on temperament as they should be, therefore I don't automatically rely on titles or other people's opinions/evaluations (and this goes for working breeders too! There are show breeders that are way more knowledgeable of temperament than certain working breeders could ever hope to be, even if they may not have the technical terms and the vocabulary to express their concepts they have a thorough enough understanding that they can explain it in their own words... And of course the reverse is also true, show breeders who are clueless to temperament and have working counterparts who talk like a board certified veterinary behaviourist). There are plenty of people who don't understand sharpness and reactivity (the good kind) and misinterpret that as instability and so breed away from it. And some people who see an unstable dog or a dog with poor nerves as being aggressive and confident/reactive.

For example. Hackles, hackles are not a controlled response they are an involuntary response. Hackles are not penalized in the WAE but they are considered a negative and can be penalized in the United Doberman Club's Temperament Test. Many laymen who aren't familiar with the ins and outs of aggression, defensive drives and dog emotion tend to perceive hackles as a 'positive' for a protection dog, because people wrongly assume it is akin to a dog trying to threaten or appear bigger/fierce. I believe the reason why the UDC doesn't view it positively is because while 99% of all aggression is fear based (and here, fear is loosely used. People think fear is the same thing as 'being scared' it is not, or at least not so directly. Fear of losing access to a resource for example, leads to resource guarding. Dominant behaviours are also fear based, a dominant dog is a dog trying to control access to resources because it fears losing access to said resources - mates, territory, food, the couch, their favourite human etc.) which many working dog people don't like to hear, what separates a confident dog from an insecure dog, is how they react and deal with that fear. Hackles the majority of the time represents that the level of fear and stress exceeds the dog's level of confidence. In some cases hackles can represent surprise - like a mini shock to the system. But in those cases the hackles usually go back down very quick after the initial response to the stimuli. In rare cases hackles can indicate overarousal (in the context of play/excitement/anticipation(whether positive or negative, such as a dog being stared down and unsure if there might be a fight breaking out). It is interesting to note that some dogs starting out protection training will show hackles early on, and clearly show other behaviours of discomfort and 'this is more stress than I'd like right now', over time as they gain confidence the hackles disappear entirely and the level of stress signals is reduced or rendered inexistent (even if the dog still experiences stress, no matter how much they enjoy it, protection work IS stressful to the dog, but a happy, confident dog simply handles the stress better and I'm sure some of them are akin to adrenaline junkies). I suppose that the UDC penalizes hackles because they view it as a lack of confidence when compared to what the baseline confidence should be in a doberman. (Also a dog won't necessarily fail but they will have the negative hackles characteristic highlighted on the score ****). In all fairness, the threat in the TT is further away from the threat in the WAE, so a dog that would be unable to handle the pressure in the TT without showing hackles may indeed be too sensitive and lack sufficient confidence. In the WAE the pressure is a lot closer, something to take in consideration especially with dogs going through it without having ever faced pressure before or an aggressive stranger. Therefore manifestation of stress should not automatically be interpreted as to mean the dog lacks sufficient confidence or nerve.

Aside from the WAE, as previously mentioned there is the UDC Temperament Test and the American Temperament Test (society). There is also the UDC Breed Survey and of course the German ZTP as well as the German Körung (although the Körung might be a little bit redundant to some, since you need to already have a ZTP and a Sch1/IPO1/VPG1/IGP1). Other countries have different character/temperament tests and certification as well. There are several breeders out there who voluntarily will not breed without some kind of temperament certification or testing done on their dog, but you shouldn't necessarily stick strictly to WAEs. Another thing to keep in mind... pedigree consistency. Is that dog the only one in its pedigree or siblings to have a WAE? Well, is that dog a fluke or is that dog just the tip of a consistent but untested iceberg? And if the dog doesn't have a temperament certification, is the breeder capable to discuss what kind of temperament their dog has (and be honest about it), if necessarily provide video or invite you to meet the dog and see it work/be tested?

I think Eve Auch/Irongate is a very good place to start with. She is the Secretary of the WAE for the DPCA and she has to the best of my (limited) knowledge good health and longevity in her lines.
Don't think she has a website, her contact info would be on the breeder listing of the DPCA I imagine

I... also apologise for the novel I wrote. Temperament, particularly doberman character and temperament is something I am quite passionate about and fascinated by.
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 11:35 AM
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Just a little brag....

I had never seen the WAE before. I had a little pamphlet from the club that had stick people and stick dogs showing what to expect. I remember thinking "why not try this, how hard can it be" which was the same attitude that got us through OB, Rally and Agility with little to no real training. So up to Wisconsin we go. Bacc was just under 2 years old and I was clueless.

Everything went well on the field even the gunfire which Bacc merely flicked an ear backwards toward the sound and happily moved forward. Then we got to the stranger garbed in flowing black raincoat, floppy hat, sun glasses. It was windy on the field that day and the decoy's raincoat was blowing. He was a large, imposing man. At the end of this part of the WAE Eve Auch (evaluator) came over and congratulated us and then yelled to the women at the table who were keeping things organized and moving "this is what I was talking about...THIS is Doberman temperament". A couple of the helpers came up a few minutes later and were petting Bacc and Ms. Auch walked over and said "your dog has beautiful temperament".

I look back at that experience and think that was the proudest I had ever been of my best friend. Bacchus I miss you.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 08:28 PM
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Artemis,

Don't be apologizing for the novel--it was well presented and explained some very fine points and I applaud you for the presentation.

Most of my Dobes have been friendly--my very first Dobe was not--he liked a pretty limited number of people and if you hadn't known him since he was a puppy he wasn't terribly interested in meeting or getting to know you. The WAE hadn't even been thought of in his time but I have no doubt that he'd have been able to deal with all of the stations particularly the bad guy with no problems.

And another of my dogs--much more recent dog--who did pass the WAE on the second time (the first time he basically said that he wasn't allowed to go after weirdo guys with sticks and big coats stumbling around--and he wasn't. He was a suspicious dog--even as a puppy--he was even pickier about who he liked and who he didn't like than my first Doberman. But he spent 1/2 an hour with a trainer for Ring and about half way through the trainer asked me what he had failed in the WAE--I told him--"bad guy"--he just shook his head and said that won't happen again.

Boy was he right--first of all my basically unfriendly dog start through ignoring the neutral stranger (he didn't know her--so why would he even check her out). The friendly stranger spend some time getting him to come to him--he finally did--reluctantly--gave him a half assed wag and that was it. Walked on the plastic and x-pen, turned around at the gun shots and then continued on his way. Startled at the umbrella and then tried to grab it--rattle can attracted his attention--poked it and thought it was interesting.

But through all of this he was keeping an eye on the evaluator--a stranger--he didn't care for him following along like that. It made us laugh later because the evaluator had no idea what my suspicious dog was doing but we did.

At the bad guy he was standing by my friend who had taken him in--the guy came out from behind the van and my dog was at the end of the leash watching, watching--and when the bad guy started the reeling spinning routine my dog said NOT IN MY COUNTY! The Ring trainer was right--he was never going to just stand there again and the fact that he was so suspicious of the evaluator had him on pins and needles by the time the bad guy showed up.

Funny dog that one--I loved his temperament but not everyone would want a dog like that. He's the one I always took to the door with me. He wasn't big but he had a black eye and the salesman who took a step forward and put his hand on the screen changed his mind when my dog took a footstep toward him--something about the look in that black eye always seemed to convince people he was more than serious.

You'd have liked that dog Artemis.

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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 08:47 PM
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I don't think Leo would have much trouble with the strange surfaces in the ATTS test.



Yes, that's technically a fountain she is on.

She was hot and tired, which is why she hesitated over giving her foot. The heat index was pushing 100, and she was over it.
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the great responses! I couldn't get this thread to pull up on my phone this weekend so I'm just reading through them now.
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 10:34 AM
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Just an FYI, a BH doesn't show protective behavior, most dogs that can get a CD could probably get a BH. They took the gun shots out years ago and there's no aggressive stranger. The point of the BH is to show the opposite, that you and your dog work as a team and that your dog can function in society. It's why they have to meet strangers, behave while you're out of site while a bike, another dog and stranger runs by.

Personally I don't care if people train for the WAE, it's not something I would do but then again you may look at training in IGP as a partial training for the WAE. I also do things with my puppies like walk on weird surfaces, I do team building hikes with them, and I also will do things to startle them to see if they can recover properly. For me these are part of testing a puppies temperament and if it will be a sound enough puppy for me to start working with. I have little time and energy to spend on a weak temperament, I've been fortunate enough to never have one in my short tenure in the sport and only having 3 dogs lol.

I believe Sharon Marinelli (Sharjet) has a litter on the ground she lives in NJ, I love her dogs, love the temperament and have one myself. I also really like Elizabeth Barrett's dogs (Adamas) out of Georgia.
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artemis View Post
There was a very interesting exchange between Ray Carlisle and Michelle Santana posted on the DPCA website about breeding and the WAE, how to use the WAE for one's breeding program. Some of the above responses have touched on some good points that they do bring up. MaryJo and Dobebug have a really good job delving into some of those aspects.
https://dpca.org/BreedEd/interpreting-the-wae/

For one, a dog that has been trained for the WAE will not behave in the same way as a dog that hasn't trained for the WAE. A conditioned or counter-conditioned response will be distinctly different from a natural response to the stimuli.
For another, a sport trained protection dog is not necessarily going to respond well to the aggressive stranger. While MaryJo says all the IGP dogs she has seen passed the aggressive stranger but failed in other areas, of the ones I've seen fail or barely pass, some did quite poorly or failed the aggressive stranger part. Training for sport and training for civil protection are very different things. The decoy/aggressive stranger in the WAE is wearing a hidden sleeve - if an IGP dog is sleeve focused they may not react at all. If an IGP dog is prey/play trained they also may not respond and in some cases be scared. And last but not least the behaviour and the picture is VERY different. Most decoys used at the WAE are not professional/trained helpers. Sometimes it is just a volunteer that hasn't ever done this before - they get briefly instructed by the judge and practice a few minutes before going in. An IGP helper is very "predictable" in terms of their movements and actions. That being said there are some Helpers who can be very intense and bring on the pressure and run dogs off a field - but they're still not the same as a guy behaving weird making zombie sounds, and moving in erratic, unnatural manner with a big hat and raincoat. Ultimately the dog knows what to expect (from both conditioned and contextual cues) and decides if it can handle it. My dog perks up and gets eager when she sees her agitation harness for example because she knows what it means. Her entire demeanour walking to the field is different with the harness and without it. This is not so, with the WAE. And it's part of the reason why the equipment used has to be approved and fit the same criteria for everyone - to ensure it's as fair as possible. If the dog is being taken through without training and for the first time, they have no idea what to expect, no clues/cues as to what they should do and what is going on. And if they've never encountered a hostile stranger, they don't necessarily "know" how they're supposed to respond until instinct kicks in, or the handler removes any inhibitions from said instinct.

Another thing to keep in mind... Dogs, (and particularly dobermans) cue in to their handlers, a lot. While I do believe dobermans have a natural capacity to make discerning evaluations of a situation on their own, generally a dog that is obedient and has a good relationship to the handler will turn to the handler if they are unsure of what to do, particularly if they have been trained/socialised/counter-conditioned to ignore weirdos, and/or have had their instincts and natural responses otherwise extinguished through training whether intentionally or unintentionally. When I ran Nadia through the WAE I think I was the only or maybe one of two handlers to listen to the judge's instructions. The judge specifically stated that in order to recreate a real situation of danger, you had to interact with the decoy.

If you just stand there doing nothing your dog may look at the decoy, look at you and decide this is 'normal' and particularly if your dog trusts your judgment, or is not necessarily an overly assertive dog (let's not pretend like we don't all know a dog that occasionally decides to 'veto' whatever decision the human has made and decides to take matters into their own paws ), or is the type of dog that really wants to please and not do the wrong thing, the dog may not react.

I've even seen this in protection training with young dogs being evaluated for the first time or introduced to it, particularly dogs that are highly obedient, with inexperienced handlers that make the mistake of walking onto the field in obedience heel, or put in a sit/down. The decoy comes out, provokes, tries to be aggressive. The dog gives them a massive side eye and keeps looking between the handler (that remains silent and unmoving) and the decoy and wonders wtf is going on, but the obedience overrides the need to react and the uncertainty/trust towards the handler makes the dog default to 'no reaction, dad doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong here'. I've seen dogs who are very reliant on their handler to the point where they almost look like they are expecting their human to do something/deal with the situation. It isn't necessarily out of fear or lack of confidence either, just an obedient dog deferring to their master.

Another thing too - if you have a happy, friendly, sociable dog that has been very well socialised and has never been in a situation of danger, never seen you fearful of anything... the dog may have a very benign conception of the world. In that dog's head if he's never experienced anything scary with his human, then he may not know that people/strangers can be bad, or that the world can be dangerous. I know that sounds a little silly, but I've seen it! I would say this is a dog that lacks natural suspicion which can be faulty for a doberman, but conditioning can be strong. That suspicion may exist but as I've said, might have been extinguished and could need re-boosting. Or, the dog may simply be young and not fully developed. Though you can take the WAE starting 18 months, this is a slow maturing breed especially with males, I find many of them are not even fully mature until 3... and I've seen some for who the light doesn't 'switch' on until even later than that for the 'seriousness'.

Bringing this back to the WAE. The judge said, if you were approached by an aggressive, hostile or unstable/drunk individual with bad intentions, you wouldn't stand there and just let your dog react would you? You'd likely yell/warn the threat to stay back. If you want a confident, happy, well-socialised dog to take a threat seriously, then the owner/handler/human has to take that threat seriously as well. You need to communicate or confirm to your dog that this is not normal, this is not desirable. You gotta get into the scenario a little and 'act' it out.

So sometimes when a dog fails it is not because they lack the capacity or the instincts. Sometimes the handler is a detriment. (It can also happen in the opposite way - a handler encouraging and praising too much their dog can distract the dog or reinforce the wrong thing, like if the dog is not reacting and you say "good boy!" you might reinforce the lack of reaction).

As others have said, the WAE is not strictly pass/fail. There is a scoring grid for each station, and for the last one (the aggressive stranger) it's even divided in to three separate aspects. Ok the dog has passed, or has failed. But how did he pass? How did he fail? To me a dog that would get +3 on all stations would not be correct either. My personal opinion is that a doberman should NOT be overly friendly or engaging with a neutral stranger. I also do not think a doberman should get naturally excited and eager to meet even a friendly stranger. To my mind, a doberman should be reserved and aloof and the ideal response beyond a cursory sniff or inspection should be to ignore. I also think the natural response to a friendly stranger should be mitigated and somewhat reserved, if perhaps more interested in the friendly than unfriendly. Even though they are friendly, they are still a stranger to you and the dog.

I am not ashamed to say that when Nadia did her WAE, she received plenty of handler help on my part for the friendly stranger. The handler is encouraged to act excited and enthusiastic and as the members who've seen the video can confirm, I behaved towards the friendly stranger as if I were greeting an old friend, greeting them and fussing and still Nadia's first reaction was to jump all over ME and be focused on ME. She was responding to my excitement, not the stranger's. She did go and inspect the stranger, greeted her (with mitigation, gave a bit of a nub wag, then 'parked' in front of her to humour her for petting) but her interest/excitement died down quick when she realised she didn't know who this was. Otherwise when friendly strangers approach us on the street for whatever reason, even when she is off duty from her service dog work, she tends to ignore them. Rarely even deigns a sniff even when they ask if they can pet her (if she decides that she is up to tolerating petting she will 'park' herself in front of the person sideways and allow them to pet her neck or back. No licks, no sniffs.)
Now if on the other hand I invite someone she's never met into the home it's a completely different matter - she will be all over them!

I am also of the perhaps controversial opinion that some dogs are gifted the WAE, some dogs pass that shouldn't in my humble view. Because it does come down to interpretation of the judge. There is a video of a dog who supposedly passed (I haven't checked on the DPCA website or Dobequest to verify) on youtube whom I wouldn't touch with a 30ft flag pole in terms of breeding or ownership. He was a European import and used for IPO, and still in spite of being personally involved with the sport, is not a dog I would have wanted. I didn't like what I saw. I disagree with what the owner of the video relays about the judge's comments. A characteristic of the WAE is that the dog's ability to recover and calm down from stimuli is also important, I do not consider that dog regained calm or control quickly enough on most stations, and on the last he was still wired throughout the judge's comments.

So while the WAE is a good start - much like any other title, simply having it (or failing it) doesn't necessarily tell the whole story or paint a full picture. If I'd be invested in a dog's WAC, I'd want to see the scoresheet, absolutely, and ideally I'd want to see a video to evaluate for myself and determine whether or not I a) agree with the judge and b) like what I see. Unfortunately, temperament is one area where I find there is a lot of misunderstanding, ignorance and ultimately there are many shades of grey that are subject to personal interpretation and opinion. I'm at the point where personally I know what kind of thing I don't want to see and some of the things I would like to see. I've learned a lot in that regards in particular over the last 2-3 years (and I'm still learning! There is so much yet to learn) and not every breeder should be as well versed on temperament as they should be, therefore I don't automatically rely on titles or other people's opinions/evaluations (and this goes for working breeders too! There are show breeders that are way more knowledgeable of temperament than certain working breeders could ever hope to be, even if they may not have the technical terms and the vocabulary to express their concepts they have a thorough enough understanding that they can explain it in their own words... And of course the reverse is also true, show breeders who are clueless to temperament and have working counterparts who talk like a board certified veterinary behaviourist). There are plenty of people who don't understand sharpness and reactivity (the good kind) and misinterpret that as instability and so breed away from it. And some people who see an unstable dog or a dog with poor nerves as being aggressive and confident/reactive.

For example. Hackles, hackles are not a controlled response they are an involuntary response. Hackles are not penalized in the WAE but they are considered a negative and can be penalized in the United Doberman Club's Temperament Test. Many laymen who aren't familiar with the ins and outs of aggression, defensive drives and dog emotion tend to perceive hackles as a 'positive' for a protection dog, because people wrongly assume it is akin to a dog trying to threaten or appear bigger/fierce. I believe the reason why the UDC doesn't view it positively is because while 99% of all aggression is fear based (and here, fear is loosely used. People think fear is the same thing as 'being scared' it is not, or at least not so directly. Fear of losing access to a resource for example, leads to resource guarding. Dominant behaviours are also fear based, a dominant dog is a dog trying to control access to resources because it fears losing access to said resources - mates, territory, food, the couch, their favourite human etc.) which many working dog people don't like to hear, what separates a confident dog from an insecure dog, is how they react and deal with that fear. Hackles the majority of the time represents that the level of fear and stress exceeds the dog's level of confidence. In some cases hackles can represent surprise - like a mini shock to the system. But in those cases the hackles usually go back down very quick after the initial response to the stimuli. In rare cases hackles can indicate overarousal (in the context of play/excitement/anticipation(whether positive or negative, such as a dog being stared down and unsure if there might be a fight breaking out). It is interesting to note that some dogs starting out protection training will show hackles early on, and clearly show other behaviours of discomfort and 'this is more stress than I'd like right now', over time as they gain confidence the hackles disappear entirely and the level of stress signals is reduced or rendered inexistent (even if the dog still experiences stress, no matter how much they enjoy it, protection work IS stressful to the dog, but a happy, confident dog simply handles the stress better and I'm sure some of them are akin to adrenaline junkies). I suppose that the UDC penalizes hackles because they view it as a lack of confidence when compared to what the baseline confidence should be in a doberman. (Also a dog won't necessarily fail but they will have the negative hackles characteristic highlighted on the score ****). In all fairness, the threat in the TT is further away from the threat in the WAE, so a dog that would be unable to handle the pressure in the TT without showing hackles may indeed be too sensitive and lack sufficient confidence. In the WAE the pressure is a lot closer, something to take in consideration especially with dogs going through it without having ever faced pressure before or an aggressive stranger. Therefore manifestation of stress should not automatically be interpreted as to mean the dog lacks sufficient confidence or nerve.

Aside from the WAE, as previously mentioned there is the UDC Temperament Test and the American Temperament Test (society). There is also the UDC Breed Survey and of course the German ZTP as well as the German Körung (although the Körung might be a little bit redundant to some, since you need to already have a ZTP and a Sch1/IPO1/VPG1/IGP1). Other countries have different character/temperament tests and certification as well. There are several breeders out there who voluntarily will not breed without some kind of temperament certification or testing done on their dog, but you shouldn't necessarily stick strictly to WAEs. Another thing to keep in mind... pedigree consistency. Is that dog the only one in its pedigree or siblings to have a WAE? Well, is that dog a fluke or is that dog just the tip of a consistent but untested iceberg? And if the dog doesn't have a temperament certification, is the breeder capable to discuss what kind of temperament their dog has (and be honest about it), if necessarily provide video or invite you to meet the dog and see it work/be tested?

I think Eve Auch/Irongate is a very good place to start with. She is the Secretary of the WAE for the DPCA and she has to the best of my (limited) knowledge good health and longevity in her lines.
Don't think she has a website, her contact info would be on the breeder listing of the DPCA I imagine

I... also apologise for the novel I wrote. Temperament, particularly doberman character and temperament is something I am quite passionate about and fascinated by.

Thank you! I tried to PM you but it looks like it disappeared. I came across a video on You Tube a few weeks ago where the handler said the dog received a high score but I didn't understand why. I was wondering if it was the same one you mentioned but I wasn't sure if it would be appropriate to post here. I'll read on on those other temperament tests you mentioned as well.
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 02:17 PM
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On a side note, one thing that annoys me about the WAE and the UDC temperament test is that aloofness to a neutral stranger is seen as a negative. I personally LOVE that in my dogs. I don't want aggression to a neutral stranger but it bugs me that Kya loves everyone. I love that Mav is like, "meh, I see you, I may come up and sniff you but you're not my mom so I'll be on my way. I may not even acknowledge you at all".
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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 02:23 PM
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On a side note, one thing that annoys me about the WAE and the UDC temperament test is that aloofness to a neutral stranger is seen as a negative. I personally LOVE that in my dogs. I don't want aggression to a neutral stranger but it bugs me that Kya loves everyone. I love that Mav is like, "meh, I see you, I may come up and sniff you but you're not my mom so I'll be on my way. I may not even acknowledge you at all".
Aloofness to a neutral stranger isn't a negative on the WAE - I've worked our WAE with multiple evaluators and it's never been described by our evaluators as a negative. I'm not sure where you've gotten that? What evaluators have said that's a negative?
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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 02:49 PM
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Aloofness to a neutral stranger isn't a negative on the WAE - I've worked our WAE with multiple evaluators and it's never been described by our evaluators as a negative. I'm not sure where you've gotten that? What evaluators have said that's a negative?
Just going by the evaluations I've received. Mav didn't acknowledge the neutral stranger and was given a 2 instead of a 3. Indicating to me that aloofness is more of a negative than acknowledging the stranger.
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 03:04 PM
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Just going by the evaluations I've received. Mav didn't acknowledge the neutral stranger and was given a 2 instead of a 3. Indicating to me that aloofness is more of a negative than acknowledging the stranger.
Interesting.


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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 03:16 PM
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It would be interesting to talk to the evaluators - I have chatted with Eve quite a lot the last couple of years about different elements of the WAE, but not that specifically.

The handbook doesn't say dogs need to be friendly, it specifically mentions the standard. Objective: To measure the dog’s reaction to strangers in a non-threatening situation. (Standard requires “alert, watchful, fearless, and loyal”; faults are “shyness or viciousness").

http://dpca.org/awards/wae/documents...rs-Nov2017.pdf
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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 04:50 PM
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Interesting.
Nadia got a -1 on her approach to the neutral stranger, under Judge Schoeneman.
She showed no avoidance behaviour, shyness or fearfulness.

To be clear, the judge told me that her lack of interest was perfectly fine and correct for the breed. He did not consider it a negative trait. But since he gave her -1, like G_R I also took it to mean that aloofness is penalized per the WAE's scoring grid.

Based on what you are saying here, I would think the judge's interpretation isn't just interpretation of behaviour but interpretation of scoring scale.

For those who haven't seen her WAE, here it is. Even re-watching it I don't think she showed avoidance or shyness or a behaviour I'd qualify as "negative" in terms of breed traits.
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