Welcome back to the next installment of our prey drive series!
First, we talked about the importance of prey drives and how understanding your dog's innate drives can help tremendously in your training. Next, we taught you some of the physical manifestations of prey drives, and how to tell when your dog's prey drive is engaged.
Now, it's time for a pop quiz (We know, you didn't come here thinking you'd be taking a quiz, but we promise, this won't be too hard).
Check out this video below. This is one of our Simply Obedient K9 dogs, Mila, a German Shepherd/Belgian Tervuren mix. She is clearly very interested in those unsuspecting geese. But how can you tell her prey drive is engaged? (this is the quiz part).
Now that you've learned about how to spot the physical manifestations of prey drive, this should be a walk in the park (well, unless there are any geese around).
You can see that Mila's eyes are locked on those geese, her ears are perked up and she's sniffing the ground.
But there's even more to it then that! (Sorry, looks like we didn't give you a fair chance to ace that quiz).
Looking at Mila, there are quite a few other visible physical manifestations of her drive that aren't included within the list we had in our last post. She is pulling on her leash, doing everything in her power to get to those geese. It's almost like she has tunnel vision, nothing else around her matters besides getting to the geese.
Keeping this example in mind, we wanted to show you some of the other elements of prey drive that will help tremendously in understanding your dog and his/her behaviors. It will also work wonders in training your dog, because it will help you to create fun and engaging training sessions that are tailored to your dog's inherent drives.
The 5 Elements of Prey Drive
Read through the prey drives listed below - which of these describe your dog?
Do any of those descriptions sound familiar? Your dog may exhibit one or all of these traits, although most dogs have elements of their prey drives that have become more pronounced over time due to selective breeding (ex: think Shepherds for herding).
In our next post in the series, we will take a look at how to use these 5 elements of prey drive for fun, engaging training sessions for your dog.
Missed our first couple of posts in the series? Check them out below:
In our last post, we introduced how learning more about your dog's inherent biological drives can help you to better understand and train your dog.
The first step toward understanding when your dog's prey drive is engaged is knowing how to identify the common physical signs.
So how do you spot typical manifestations of your dog's prey drive? Prey drives start with basic body changes such as:
These six physical signs indicate the onset of prey drive building, and are all things dogs often do to begin hunting (which is the basic foundation of prey drive: to hunt and eat). Since we have domesticated dogs, we often neglect these basic, natural instincts. But, the good news is that once we learn the basics of working with our dog’s prey drives, we can tap into them and use them for training.
And the best part - it will also allow our dogs the time to fulfill their most primal instincts in a healthy, controlled, fun way.
Tune in for part 3 of our Prey Drive Series to learn more about the 5 elements of prey drive!
Prey drive is something we talk about quite a bit in our training method, so we figure an introduction might be in order.
We think that Robert Cabral says it best when he describes prey drives & their impact on not just training your dog, but also understanding them and their behaviors:
Drives are the unconscious, biological impulses that carry out important vital functions. They display in a physical manifestation of the dog's personality and energy. Although inherent, these drives can be compounded by environment with good or bad handling techniques. It is important to recognize drive traits in order to control and develop, or inhibit the manifestations of dangerous or undesirable ones. You cannot properly train or understand a dog without understanding the drives that make him a dog. Without these drives, the dog is merely a stuffed animal that barks and moves.
Over the course of our Prey Drive Series, we plan to give you the ins and outs of understanding your dog's innate drives. We will take a look at how to spot the physical signs that indicate that your dog's prey drive is engaged, what the 6 common prey drive responses are, how to engage your dog in training games that are fun AND a valuable outlet for some of your dog's natural instincts, and a whole lot more.
So stay tuned and subscribe: you'll be on your way to understanding your pet a whole lot better than you did before!