Posts Tagged ‘drive’

tug of war reuse

I am sure you have probably heard from one trainer or the other that you should not play tug of war with your dog.

Some trainers say you can play tug with your dog but you must never let them win.


What I teach people about playing tug of war with their dogs is in direct contradiction to the thinking of conventional dog training. I play the game based on the premise that all the things your dog does has a direct connection to their prey drive and their desire to hunt, and the more value an object has, the more attracted and emotional your dog becomes when they see that object, and if your dog catches, bites and eats that object then there is a certain amount of stress relief that the dog will experience.

Let’s examine this for a moment..

For the sake of argument let’s place a dollar value to some of the prey items your dog finds valuable..with regard to how emotional energized and attracted your dog will be to each object.

When a dog sees a mouse scurry through the grass, he might become attracted and give chase..and while it is fun to stalk and pounce on a mouse and eat it..the dollar value to your dog is about 1 Canadian dollar.. or as we call it..a loonie.

That’s cool, your dog experiences a small reduction in stress levels, and your dog will most likely do it again if he sees a mouse.

Later that afternoon your dog sees a rabbit, or a squirrel, now things are heating up..he gives chase and if he catches the squirrel or rabbit and eats it.. he experiences a bigger rush of “good feelings” and stress reduction, and that is like depositing 10 loonies or so in the dogs emotional doggie bank.

The next day your dog sees a moose, suddenly every nerve in his body lights up with an emotional charge like nothing he has experienced up to this point.. in terms of money..he has just seen 10 million loonies worth of energy and emotion head off into the brush..and if he could only catch the moose and eat him..his stress would totally disappear and he would be the happiest dog on the planet.

You can see how it would benefit you as a dog owner to learn how to be the moose in the eyes of your dog,.. you don’t want to be the mouse, or the rabbit or squirrel, those prey items are fun but don’t attract your dogs emotions and, feelings like a moose, buffalo, or caribou would.

One of the ways you can begin to be the moose is to play tug of war with your dog, the only thing is you must ALWAYS let your dog exceptions.

Here is a step by step guide to playing tug of war with your dog

1. Don’t stand face to face with your dog or smile a lot,.. humans are the top predators and this posture and showing your teeth will make your dog defensive and we want him to be in prey drive, so stand sideways, don’t smile, and don’t look him in the eye.

2. Get two tug toys…I like to use two foot lengths of rope tied in many knots. Put one in your back pocket or tuck it under your arm so you will have one to play with and get your dogs attention when your he or she don’t want to bring the one they have back..when your dog drops the one he has and turns his attention to you..tug and pull with him and when he runs off with that one, pick up the one he dropped and begin the game again.

3. With your dog on a 30 foot long line begin the game slowly, stay relaxed, make sure there are no other distractions, like other dogs playing or kids running around, and be sure to be on your game and paying attention..this game requires your dog to bite hard and if they miss the might get bit..but if you are careful, this doesn’t have to happen… tease your dog with the tug and entice him to bite it..this might take some time especially with nervous, timid dogs who have built up anxiety and stress..but keep at it..act like the mouse or the rabbit…run away waving the tug, lay down and roll around like a prey animal, and keep teasing your dog with the tug..he will bite it at some point.

4. Amp up your emotions and use your voice to get your dog into prey drive..say things like..” Get it boy”, Sic a hold on it,” or” bite that thang.”

5. If your dog starts to growl a lot then that is not a good thing, this means your dog is afraid he is going to lose the you should quickly let him win.

Winning means he gets to run away with the toy.

A little growling is o,k. just don’t let things get out of hand.

6. When your dog bites on the tug, pull smoothly, don’t jerk hard,,and keep the play session short so your dog don’t get bored..once you have reached a place where your dog is pulling and biting hard try to time it so you release the toy when your dog tugs hard on that to your dog is seems like he earned it and you are not just giving in to him..they can tell the difference.

7. When you are ready to end the game, have a piece of chicken some tasty treat in your pocket, take it out and offer it to your dog, they will take the treat and you can gather up the tug toys..and put them away until the next time you want to work with your dog.

* It is important that the game ends with you having possession of the toys, once you get home put the toys away out of sight of your dog until the next time you bring them out to play.

There you have it, if you have any questions about how to play tug of war to engage your dogs prey drive, tell me about it in the comment section below, thanks for visiting my blog and make sure to come back often.

All the best,





dogs hunt fox..reuse

Dog owners should strive to imprint the desired response in their dogs, based on their individual temperament, in order for them to learn how to behave as family pets.

There are three important questions all dogs need to have answered by their owners, I talk about two of them in this post and they are as follows

1) What do I kill?

2) Where is that thing that will hurt me?

3) What do I do with my energy?

The third question is fundamentally the most important one and I addressed this question in a earlier post.

What do I do with my energy?

Now lets get to it..

If these two questions are not answered by the dogs owner in a way that speaks to how their temperament has evolved to answer them.. then the dogs instincts will kick in and they will take it upon themselves to find the solution..this is the reason most dogs can be well-trained, and their owners have put many hours of hard work into shaping behaviors and practicing obedience exercises only to have it all fly out the window when a squirrel runs by or some kid on a skate board rumbles toward them on the street.

When the owner fails to imprint desired responses, this deep-rooted, hardwired, instinctual reaction to life and death situations becomes mandatory for the dog.

Now this kind of reaction is perfectly normal for wild canines like the wolf.. who lives far removed from people and knows its terrain and it’s place in it, anytime a dog resorts to its natural instincts in the human world, things can and do go horribly wrong..the dog that chased the squirrel, runs across the road and gets hit by a car..or the boy on the skateboard gets to close to the dog and gets bitten..

When a dog is raised the natural way and the owner has imprinted on the dog the answers to these fundamental questions of,. what do I kill, and where is the danger..and the dog is in agreement with his owner..the dog will feel attracted to their owner  because they have the answer they seek..the dog becomes as close to 100% reliable and under control as it can be.

When a dog and his owner becomes part of the same team..and the two questions have been answered ..the dog will feel safe and trust that his owner has the satisfactory solution to the problem..

You don’t have to train a dog to be social..they are social to the highest level naturally..the only thing the owner need to do is answer the two questions.

all the best,


Resource: Natural Dog


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I was watching a Wrestling match on the tube the other night
and one of the competitors was the guy we all know as…
“The Rock” aka. Dwayne Johnson.








I enjoy watching him wrestle, and yes I am well aware

that it is all scripted and fake as hell.

But..I still find it entertaining none the less.

Now I know you’re thinking what has this got to do with dog training.

Bear with me and it will all become clear in a minute or so..

What I like about the Rock is how he is able to use facial expressions
and body language to let his fans know what is coming next.

For example..he has a move called “The Peoples Elbow” a devastating blow
delivered by smashing his elbow into his opponent’s chest and in most cases is
the move that finishes them off..

You know what is coming not because he says anything but by the way he
stops, and looks out at the crowd,slides his elbow pad off,
then stares down at his opponent, and after a couple of springs off the
ropes delivers his signature blow.

He is what you could call a Master in using facial expressions and body
language to communicate his intentions..

Over the years I have learned and perfected how to use my body language
and tone of voice to have a powerful effect on how my dogs behave.

Let me break it down for ya…

You see your dog has three main drives,a defence drive,pack drive,and
a prey drive.

1- Guard Drive

This is a dogs instinctual reaction to a stressful situation, and of the three
drives this is the most diverse because it is determined by the dogs temperament
they will either fight or run away depending on their temperament.

If you have a confident dog that is not easily spooked by noise, other dogs or people,
they will most likely fight if cornered or pushed.

If you have a dog that is easily frightened by noise, other dogs or people
then this dog will likely run away in the face of adversity.Sometimes they will
just freeze and not move a muscle.

2- Pack Drive

Pack drive is the drive that your dogs are in when they work with you or interact with
a group of dogs. This is the drive you want your dog in when you work obedience exercises
or go for walks.

3- Prey Drive

This is the drive that causes your dog to want to chase sticks or squirrels.

This is the drive that you want your dog in when you call them to come.

Now how does your tone of voice and body language kick in these drives?

I’m glad you asked.

Have you ever layed down on the grass and notice that your dog almost immediately
runs to you and jumps and rolls on you having a great time. That’s because when you
lower your body to the ground it kicks in your dogs prey drive..they instinctually
are driven to play, because you pose no threat to them when you are on the ground.

You want your dog to be in prey drive when you call them to make sure you
squat down and use a high-pitched happy tone of voice when you call them to come.

If you stand tall and lean in toward your dog and use harsh tones then you will
shift your dog into guard drive and they will most likely not come to you or
be very hesitant and almost crawl to you on their bellys, because they are unsure
of what is going to happen to them.

When you stand straight, and use calming even tones you will kick in your dogs pack
drive and this is the drive you want them in when you go for walks or teaching

So to sum this all up..

It’s important to understand how your tone of voice and body language switches your
dog’s drive..because when you are working obedience commands you will want to change
your dogs drive to have success with different commands.

If you want to work with your dog or go for walks, then stand straight, use normal
even tones in your voice to kick in their pack drive, and your dog will follow you
and be very willing to work with you.

If you want your dog to come, squat down, or lean back, use high-pitched happy tones of
voice, this will kick your dog into prey drive and in most cases your dog will come
running to you.

If you want to kick in your dogs guard drive..stand tall, lean in toward the dog and
use a stern tone of voice.

This is a good drive to use when your dog is a little too excited and out of hand, not
responding to your commands.

Stand up tall and lean toward your dog and in a harsh low commanding tone of voice say,

“Hey, that’s enough!”

and in most cases the dog will hunker down, and start paying attention to you.

So remember if you want your dog to come then guard drive is not the drive you want..
a dog will find it very hard to come to you if you have kicked in their guard drive.

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all the best,