What do Dogs really want out of life?
A dog’s main goal is to move through life with as little stress as possible. In order to do this, dogs need to live in a structured and stable environment, with clear expectations, and fair reinforcement of the pack rules. Dogs that do not feel that they have a stable leader may try and fill the position, however if they are unstable they will make poor decisions, which can lead to unfortunate consequences. The fantastic news is that you can give them EVERYTHING they need in life, and in return, they will happily give you their heart, mind, and soul.
Using Pack Drive you will learn to give your dog alternative activities as replacements for unwanted behaviors. Over time your dog will begin to form new thought processes, and will start making better decisions instead of exhibiting unwanted behaviors.
Why Dogs do what they do?
3 Drivers for dog behavior:
Pack Drive – The Urge to Follow and Collaborate with the Leader (i.e. you). This is the most important driver as without the pack, the dog is less likely to lead a healthy life (mentally, physically, and emotionally). A dog in Pack Drive is psychologically connected to you, and wants to work with you toward whatever your goal is at that moment.
Prey Drive – The Urge to Chase, Catch, Kill, and Consume Prey. Prey Drive is a natural instinct and is not the same thing as aggression
(which is a behavior). If you try and suppress a dog’s prey drive you can inadvertently create anxiety, depression, frustration (i.e. an unhealthy state of mind, which can lead of aggression). In
today’s society we must find healthy ways of redirecting our dog’s natural prey drive using games such as retrieve, hide and seek, and recall. This will allow our dog’s to use their natural
abilities, and therefore enjoy a healthy state of mind.
Play Drive – All work and no play… All dog’s know the value of play, and know that without an even balance of work and play that life is just not as fulfilling. Just remember that all games have rules, and someone that enforces those rules (that would be you). It is your job to fairly control the situation, help you dog learn and understand how to control his own excitement, as well as clearly communicate the boundaries of each game. We can use games (which can substitute for prey drive) and other rewards for exhibiting Pack Drive, further strengthening the dog’s psychological connection to you.
What is ‘State of Mind’ and why is it important?
State of Mind is most simply put as how one is feeling at that moment. Dog’s are no exception. The state of mind that a dog is in at any given moment will determine the dog’s actions (i.e. thought drives behavior), and it can change in less than a second. For example, a dog in Prey Drive is on alert, and can react to quick movements or loud noises. A dog in Pack Drive moves with the pack, and will not enter Prey Drive without permission from the Pack Leader (that’s you). The more your dog practices Pack Drive, the more they will stay in Pack Drive, and the unwanted behaviors will fade away. Once you learn to read your dog’s body language, you will begin to recognize the current state of mind, and can act accordingly.
Why is Nutrition important?
Whether human or dog, both the body and mind must have the nutrition they need in order to function properly. If one or both are lacking, physical and mental growth can be delayed or halted entirely. On the wrong food, a dog can go through life in a kind of haze, just moving slowly from one place to the next, without any real joy or direction. I believe that the right food is extremely important, and each person should do some research to find out what is in their dogs food, and if it is the right thing for them. You can visit Dogfoodadvisor.com for tons of information on the different choices.
How can I tell if my Dog is in Pain?
Most of us know that dogs in general can be very stoic, or exhibit a high tolerance for pain. I certainly don’t dispute this as I have seen a 15 lbs dog with a broken leg hobble down the street without making so much as a sound. Chronic pain such as arthritis or hip dysplasia are often not diagnosed until the dog has exhibited a drastic change in behavior. Unfortunately this change in behavior is normally not noticed until the dog bites an unsuspecting child who accidentally steps on the dog, or pets them a bit too hard. Feeding the right food (and the right amount), providing the appropriate exercise, and keeping an eye out for physical or behavior changes will help ensure you and your dog have a long life together.
With all this responsibility, do I ever get to relax?
Thankfully yes! Taking time out for yourself, as well as relaxing with your dog (or Pack Rest) is extremely important. After a 15 minute training session I like to sit in the shade of a tree with the dog I have worked, and enjoy the company of a good friend and a gentle breeze. No matter what your pleasure, and whether you take time for yourself before or after you work with your dog is entirely up to you. I am extremely passionate about working with dogs and helping families, I find it very rewarding and I learn something new from every dog. At the same time, I also need to unwind and have some ‘me time’ so I can prepare for the next exciting challenge.
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