Using and Manipulating Your Dog’s Instincts to Live a Peaceful Life Together
So many people are out there trying to train, coax or beat the instincts out of their dog.
First off, dog’s aren’t people.
They often, aren’t even close to people.
They behave a lot like toddlers, but toddlers are human.
Toddlers have human instincts.
Dogs have canine instincts.
- They bark.
- They poop and pee inside (after all they don’t understand “bathrooms”)
- They jump up.
- They hump.
- They sniff.
- They pull on leash.
- They dig.
- They bite.
- They protect.
- They chase.
- They herd.
- They swim.
- They hunt.
Don’t Get Me Wrong
None of those things sound particularly wonderful to me…
I want to be able to control my dog’s behavior and to teach him to control his impulses but sometimes I think denying him any use of his inherent instincts is unfair.
If you get a Beagle you can’t expect him to never sniff.
If you get a Malinois, you can’t expect him to act like a Golden Retriever and love everyone.
If you get a Terrier, you can’t expect him to never dig.
If you get a Husky, you can’t expect him not to pull.
If you get a Border Collie, you can’t expect him to never nip or herd.
If you get a Grey Hound, you can’t expect him never to chase.
Now this doesn’t mean that these dogs can face their instincts with “reckless abandon”.
I mean, have you ever watched videos of dogs herding?
The videos on you tube with the sheep and dogs from Scotland (the land of simply amazing herding) where they light the sheep with lights and then film them at night? Usually the videos are uploaded with some entertaining music.
My point is that the dogs are handled with almost surgical precision.
They aren’t running around tearing wool out of the sheep, or biting anything that runs past them.
They learn to control their instincts because they want to herd the sheep more than anything else.
A hunting dog doesn’t eat the duck or even chew on it. The dog merely retrieves it. He learns to control his desire to kill birds and chew and eat them.
A police dog doesn’t bite everything in his path, he learns to control his prey and bite drive so that he can play and bite decoys and then eventually criminals.
The catch, and this is a BIG ONE
The catch is that this kind of training isn’t “easy”.
It isn’t easy like teaching them basic obedience, because they have to learn such a dramatic amount of impulse control in order to control their instincts.
For instance, having had protection dogs (like police dogs) it can take months and months if not years of training several times a week to build and then control the impulse to chase and bite.
And, this is not the kind of training you start and then stop (it is especially dangerous in protection sports), or you have a dog that is 1000 times worse because you have built their drive for what they want, but then never taught them to cap or control it.
It has to be something that you are dedicated to!
The benefit is that you get the “control”, the control that you have been ripping your hair out wanting but not knowing how to get.
And, the dog, the dog gets to do the THING he was bred to do.
You don’t have to fight anymore.
You no longer expect your Beagle NEVER TO SNIFF, or your Husky NEVER TO PULL
So if you have
If you get a Beagle, teach him to track.
If you get a Malinois, learn to control his bark and possibly his bite.
If you get a Terrier, let him do barn hunting.
If you get a Husky, let him pull a sled or your bike.
If you get a Border Collie, teach him to herd.
If you get a Retriever, teach him to hunt!
If you get a Grey Hound, let him lure course!
After all, it is kinder to your dog to stop trying to make him human and actually let him be a dog.
We bred them for specific reasons, for a reason!
Then when your dog wants to go into instinct mode and you don’t want him to… Guess what?
You can control him!