Behaviour South Russian Ovcharka

The South Russian Ovcharka is, basically, a guard dog. This means that, inside the territory in which it lives, it shows itself extremely dominant towards other dogs and, most of all, towards strangers. Apart from its family and a few other chosen friends, the SRO will be aggressive with everyone it hasn't known since it was a puppy, even getting, if provoked in its own territory, to bite.
Being it naturally inclined to aggressiveness, we advise not to train it with the defence courses that many people are nowadays organizing: the risk, in fact, is to make the dog so dominant that he will exceed and ignore the hierarchies, getting the upper hand not only over strangers, but also over its owners. It's essential, in fact, for the puppy to learn, as soon as possible, the family hierarchies so that he can quickly understand who the "leader of the pack" is and which humans are more important than it in the hiearchical order. And this is the reason why this breed is not suitable for everyone: the owner has to have an iron grip while growing the puppy, he has to be firm in his decisions, sweet with snuggles but strict with punishments. Don't hesitate to correct the dog when it growls or tries to bite someone it shouldn't bite, because it's important for him to always remember who's in charge. In order to leave peacefully when the dog becomes adult, it's necessary that it is educated in this manner since it is young. It must be considered, in fact, that whatever the puppies learn during their first twelve months of life will be what they will remember the most and forever. Putting them into contact with as many stimuli as possible, will make them grow smarter and more clever, and as a consequence, more keen on obeying. Concerning this, it's useless to expect from this breed the same obedience of dogs like German Shepherds or Border Collies. The SRO is, in fact, stubborn and lazy in answering its owner's orders. If stimulated from a tasty prize, it can be more willing to obey but, however, it will always do it with little conviction. To teach the dog the basic orders (answer to its name, sit, lay down, etc), it's possible to use snacks as prizes for obedience but pay attention not to turn the dog into a mercenary. Every once in a while it's useful to replace the snack with some snuggles so that the dog doesn't associate action and food. Obedience courses, unlike the self defence ones, are well accepted and, if anything, they can be very helpful in getting the dog more pliabe.

Despite its natural aggressiveness, the SRO is very sweet and affectionate with the family members. This selectivity makes its loyalty exclusive. The affective experience it offers is, however, completely different from what can be received from a pet dog. The SRO is not, in fact, a dog who performs long manifestations of love or who spends entire days searching for snuggles and effusions. It's a very proud and brave breed that shows its happiness in welcoming the owner at home but who, then, prefers to spend its days outdoors in the garden rather than inside the house. Moreover, outside of its territory, it is a friendly and calm dog that lets, willingly, strangers carress itself. It's necessary, however, to get the dog used even to this since it's a puppy. Always remember that even if it can be mild if taken for a walk, it won't be hesitant about responding if provoked by a threatening or aggressive dog. For this reason, for your and other people's safety, it is advised to always use the proper measures like the lead and, of course, attention.
Finally, it is important that those who decide to bind to this breed have a big garden where the dog can move freely and that allows it to "patrol" the territory entrusted to it. More important, though, is the fact that the new owner is able to love it and respect it because what he will have in return will be far bigger than what he gave. We assure you.
Obviously, this description is referring to an "avarage" SRO. Every individual, even among men, varies from the others and, for this reason, the dog could be different, sometimes even a lot, from this profile. Much, in fact, depends not only on the disposition of the dog, but on the way and the accuracy with which it is raised and, therefore, on the responsibility of its owners.

Sara Veggi 2010-2013