Nature vs Nurture: Genes & Upbringing

In Italian, there’s a saying that can be translated into English as “The oak doesn’t make oranges”, this can be used when describing a person with an unpleasant personality that is a son or daughter of people equally unpleasant.

Rude kids generally come from rude parents. But the question is: are some kids misbehaved and rude because of their genes or as a result of their upbringing? In other words, is it their nature or nurture?

Regarding dogs at least there is an ongoing debate. Some people insist that the dog’s personality comes from its hereditary genes and, consequently, there is little to do in order to change it. People on the other side insist that the environment where the puppy is raised will determine its character.

Both parties are right, the character of a dog is determined by its genes, a puppy will share its parents’ genes and, therefore, if they are shy or fearful, their puppies are likely to be similar. The opposite is equally true, however, a confident puppy from confident parents can become fearful if its upbringing is full of traumatic experiences.

In other words, both nature and nurture will have an important impact on the dog’s personality and this fact creates a third way of thinking known as the interactionist approach.

In my opinion, the nature of a dog is a frame available to you to build your dog’s character on and a clue for your starting point of tailoring training for a specific character.

For example, if the dog lacks confidence calm, positive and simple training and exercises will be beneficial in boosting the dog’s confidence.

When a person gets a dog, he or she should focus primarily on gathering information about the puppies’ parents in order to understand what personality to expect from their offspring.

It is also important to remember that upbringing is equally important and that puppies are already learning through their experiences. Because of that the environment and conditions in which puppies and their mother are kept need to be taken into account as even that will affect the future personality of the dog.

So dogs, like humans, are not perfect. Each individual has its own limitations. The personality inherited from parents can be considered a frame to work on. Keep this in mind, it will be difficult for you to build a car on a bicycle frame but you can definitely build an excellent bicycle with it. The same goes regarding your dog, he or she may not be perfect but it can become an excellent dog.

Dogs can be a fountain of great inspiration, and it is fascinating that many principles applied to them can also be applied to us humans. We all have our own limitation. We share our hereditary genes and our personality has been influenced by their upbringing and people and the environment where we have spent our life up to now.

So, pay attention to your surroundings as you may have heard the saying “you are the average of the five people you spend most of the time with”. Pay attention to how and with whom you spend most of your time. Surround yourself with positive and inspiring people and cut off any toxic personalities or anyone that will be detrimental to your wellbeing.

Both you and your dog will benefit from a positive, pleasant and encouraging environment in order to gain the best out of you both.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and if you like to learn more, please, feel free to subscribe to this blog.

Also, if you like the topic of dogs, please check my book ‘Before You Get A Dog’ by Simone Burani. You will find the essential knowledge written in simple language to have a great time with your pet.

Best wishes,

Simone Burani.