I have often discussed cooperation in versatile hunting dogs.

Cooperation is an integral part of a versatile hunting dogs makeup, and I find it not so easy come by in the GSP (& DK).

Cooperation is also a difficult concept for a lot of people, and I admit I struggled with it.
Anyway, Ed wrote me this excellent outline of cooperation, so I have reprinted it below for you readers. Cooperation in a dog is what we should look for in our breeding plans, as well as the other important things like temperament, hunting, retrieving, tracking, and good looks.

Biddability is doing your bidding, obeying commands as it were. The cooperative dog is more apt to be biddable than the uncooperative one, but the two things are not synonymous.

Tractability is how easily the dog is trained. Again, cooperative dogs are generally more tractable than uncooperative ones. Cooperation is not over dependence or independence, but the cooperative dog has the right balance of the two and can be either one when the situation demands (not when the handler demands but the situation calls for it). When I look at puppies, I just sit down and watch them and let them do their thing. Some will go find things like twigs, toys whatever and bring them to you for show and tell and for approval. This is the cooperative pup and it is the one I want to take home. Cooperation is wanting to do things for you not because you ordered it but because he wants to. Bringing some very dead thing without command is an example. The so called Bringtreuer or liberally translating, honest retriever, is a cooperative dog. Cooperation is anticipating your needs and desires and doing these things without being told so that by the time you think of something you want done it is complete or close to it.

In human terms, the absolute perfect waiter serving you the best food in a way that you are only vaguely aware he/she is there but by the time you decide on something or want a glass refilled, it is being done. Change the waiter to your dog and the restaurant to the field and that is an example of cooperation.

Now that should be as clear as the mud that covers the field and sticks to your boots!

It is not how well a dog obeys a command or how willingly, but the air with which he does it, a pride in being allowed to. You can look at it as both the dog and handler are tuned in to the same channel. And if not, it is because the handler is a screw up.

Does that adequately separate it from obedience, biddability, tractability and all that jazz?

Return to Main Page