Jessica Perry Hekman, DVM, PhD, tackles The Question – Is genetics absolute? In other words, can some dogs be dealt a bad hand genetically and be doomed to a life of bad behavior? She addresses real world questions like “Are pit bull-type dogs genetically aggressive toward people?” and “Is my dog aggressive because of poor socialization (my fault) or bad genetics (the breeder’s fault)?
German vet Daniela Neika tells the story of how she had to adapt to extreme challenges in the medical care of the SAR dogs in her care in Nepal. The learning curve and the losses have been high, but she and her team of dog handlers are able to treat and save many more dogs now.
We are just at the beginning of a golden age of genetics. We are learning more and more about how environmental differences affect animals at a genetic level, and we are realizing that genes aren’t the whole story as we originally thought.
I am SARdog trainer, examiner and doghandler for 27 years and live in Germany. My profession is veterinarian for small animals. My former SAR unit was involved in international Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) missions after earthquakes. In 1999, we faced two heavy earthquakes in Turkey. For the second one, I was choosen as doghandler with my famous dog Amigo, and as team leader. We were fast on the spot, but we still came too late. Amigo only found dead bodies.