Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dog Behavior Drives

The instincts that make dogs act in the way they do are Behavior Drives.  Good training will manipulate each dog's drives to get the desired results.  Most anything a dog does can to attributed to one of these behavior drives.  Always consider your dog's behavior drives in training.

Sociability Drive.
This drive refers to a dog's natural friendliness and desire for companionship with other dogs and humans.  A dog's sociability drive falls into one of the following categories:
1)  Overly Social
2)  Neutral
3)  Unsociable
As I have noted many times throughout this blog, properly socializing your dog is vitally important to raising a well-balanced, well-behaved pet.  Depending on your dog's natural sociability drive, you can may have to take extra time and care in socialization exercises.  Dog's should always seem relaxed during socialization and allowed to move forward at their own pace.

Food Drive.
This drive refers to a dog's willingness to take food in exchange for performing a known behavior.  A dog with a high food drive is generally easier to train.  Positive reinforcement training uses food lures and food rewards.

Prey Drive.
This drive is defined as a dog's eagerness to chase small animals or objects, or to play tug of war.  Dogs with a high prey drive may be offered a toy as a reward during training instead of food.  When training using a dog's high prey drive, use his favorite toy only during training sessions and then put it away where the dog cannot get to it.  This will keep the favorite toy's value very high for training.

Play Drive.
This is a dog's desire to play with people or other dogs.  Although this drive can be used in training, it is generally too distracting to use as a regular reward.

Defense Drive.
This is a dog's desire to protect himself, his owner, or his territory.  This drive will often surface when using harsh training methods, and typically will manifest as aggression.  You must always be aware of your body posture and movement when dealing with a dog with a high defense drive.  The best training option for a dog with a high defense drive is an operant conditioning program.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Temperament in dogs refers to the way a dog reacts to stimuli or situations.  It is how a dog thinks, behaves, and reacts to things.  A dog's reaction to stimuli or situations can include:  curiosity, fear, aggression, etc.  Research indicates that dogs (like humans) tend to have a general personality type.  Although breed can play a role in a dog's overall temperament, it is mainly based on each individual dog.  These natural traits of the dog can be weakened or strengthened through life experiences.  Raising your dog in a positive environment while giving him positive experiences, will help shape a good overall disposition in your dog.

There are seven general dog personality traits:

1)  Shy, fearful, timid
2)  Stubborn, dominant
3)  Nervous, anxious
4)  Hyper, excitable
5)  Calm, low-energy
6)  Aggressive, combative
7)  Moldable, responsive, eager

When looking to add a new dog to your family, keep the above information in mind.  Although every dog deserves a loving home, choosing a dog with a good natural disposition or temperament will help you get the fun-loving family pet you've always hoped for.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Breed of the Month--Saluki


Color:  Tricolor, fawn, red, white, cream, grizzle, tan, black and tan
Height:  Males:  23-28 inches/  Females:  smaller
Weight:  29-66 lbs
Life Span:  12-14 years

Breed Health Concerns:  eye problems, thyroid problems, heart problems, and cancer.

Coat:  Two types, smooth, and smooth with feathering
Country of Origin:  Iran

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

The Saluki name for the breed comes from an ancient Arab city, and the breed itself dates as far back as ancient Egypt.  This sighthound has amazing speed and can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour.  The Saluki has been used for hunting for many centuries.

The Saluki has a very high prey drive, but is even-tempered, gentle dog.  He is independent, dignified, and intelligent.  This sensitive dog is known to "sing" rather than bark.

The Saluki needs plenty of exercise and some good running time every day.  This dog cannot be trusted off leash because of their intense prey/ chase drive.  A good, fast walk each day and some running time will keep the Saluki happy.

The smooth coat Saluki needs only be brushed occasionally.  The feathered type should be brushed a few times each week to prevent tangles and mats from forming.  The ears of any Saluki should be kept clean to remain free from infection.

It is vitally important to teach the Saluki basic obedience right away.  It is hard for this breed to resist his inborn characteristics to chase small prey.  The sensitive Saluki responds best to positive reward based, gentle training.