Lobo expressing his natural drive during a motivational recall request.
Natural Drive is your dogs inclination to exhibit inherent canine behaviors– which we can harness in training. Some of these behaviors include eating food, chasing their Guardian, pulling (sleds, carts, bicycles, etc.), retrieving, and tugging. Natural Drive in canine companion dogs is present in all puppies, in varying amounts, and is either enhanced or diminished by environmental factors during maturation. Puppies who are raised to exhibit some of these natural behaviors into adulthood are happier and have better relationships with their human Guardians.
Gypsy retrieving her tennis ball for a job well done.
Many dogs have their Natural Drives diminished at an early stage in their life. Their Guardians reduce their dogs ability to play by mistakenly punishing their canine for exhibiting these natural behaviors. It is much healthier for the young dogs mind if we successfully harness this Natural Drive by channelling the energy into enjoyable games that we can play with our best friends.
Dogs that have very strong Natural Drives are able to resist efforts by their Guardians to reduce what humans often perceive as nuisance behaviors. In many cases, these dogs are left anxious and conflicted as they have no acceptable outlet for their Natural Drives. Often, these highly driven canines who lack direction and leadership will begin to demonstrate problem behaviors like lunging, constantly pulling on their lead, jumping, and possible aggression.
When building a relationship with high drive dogs it is helpful to reward the dog by engaging their Natural Drive instincts. This can be accomplished by using treats, tugs, and ball rewards in training. Channeling and harnessing your dogs Natural Drive is an important aspect of training canines and will help deepen the relationship you have with your four legged companion.
Merlin being rewarded for a successful Stay with an ultra fun game of tug.
While training dogs who have had their Natural Drive inhibited it is important to provide ample opportunities for these dogs to reconnect with their instinctive drives. Almost all dogs can be persuaded to accept treats in training and increase their ability to work for food. Sometimes it is also possible to reignite the inhibited canines natural instincts to retrieve and tug. In both cases it is imperative to remain patient and give the inhibited dog plenty of time to begin to accept treats and play as rewards during training sessions.
Keeping your dogs drive and natural spark alive and engaged is the job of every responsible canine Guardian. Strong instinctive pullers can be taught to ride a bicycle using a Springer device with a pulling harness. Dogs with natural retrieve and tug drive can be rewarded for successful obedience requests with play. All dogs benefit from using treats to enhance their instinctual food drive. Teach your best friend to follow you as you move and perform requests like Sit, Down and Stay for treat rewards. Keep all these training sessions short and fun and over time you will see your dogs abilities improve and your relationship grow.
If you have any questions about your dogs Natural Drive or the Kabler School For Dogs training program please call me at (828) 337-5792. I would enjoy saying hi and hearing more about your best friend. Happy training!
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Frank’s Guardian engages him with an action packed game of tug– working with your dogs Natural Drive deepens the canine/human bond.