Prey drive is the “buzz word” among dog lovers these days. Its textbook definition states that it is the instinctive behavior of carnivores to chase and capture prey, but it is commonly used to describe habits in dog training. Prey drive is what motivates a dog to chase a ball, animals, a car, or a fleeing child, so it is important to teach children to never run from a dog. Prey drive is what makes dogs chase them. Understanding your dog’s prey drive will influence how you control it, which will keep your dog out of trouble.
The prey drive follows a sequence and is the same in all predators. The sequence begins with the search leading to the peduncle, the chase, the bite, and finally the deadly bite. Through the process of selective breeding, some of these five sequences are overpowered or diminished in different breeds of dogs to suit various human purposes. The search aspect of the sequence is essential for detecting dogs such as beagles and bloodhounds. Eye stalking is important in herding dogs, while chasing is a must for racing dogs and terriers are valued for their bite to grab and bite to kill. Some aspects of the prey drive are undesirable in certain dogs, such as the retriever that chases prey and then returns it to the human hunter without biting or harming it in any way. Herding dogs stalk and chase, but inhibit the urge to bite and kill to avoid injuring livestock. Bull terriers have amplified the grab bite because humans used them to restrain bulls by hanging onto their noses, but there was no need for the Bull terrier to seek out or stalk prey. Terriers are small, but that means very little when it comes to prey, as these little dogs were bred to chase underground vermin. But not all small breeds have a high prey drive. The Pekingese and Maltese make better companions and watchdogs as they have little ambition to chase them. Dogs that were bred to guard livestock and households have a low prey drive compared to those bred for sport, herding, or those in the bloodhound group that have a high drive. Siberian Huskies, belonging to the working group, show a high chasing instinct, which they will do with complete abandon, ignoring the call back. Bloodhounds and bloodhounds have a high prey drive and once the instinctive drive takes over, even the best trained dog will ignore the call to return. A dog with a high prey drive should always be on a leash, no matter how sure you are that he will return when called. By having a dog outside safely confined and on a leash, he will be able to control his instinctive reaction to chase what he sees moving.
Different dogs will have substantially different levels of prey drive. Search and rescue dogs, as well as narcotics detection dogs, must have enough drive to keep them searching for hours for their prey. In dog training, a strong prey drive motivates dogs to chase moving objects, which is an advantage. The characteristics of a dog’s breed, temperament, and what it was bred for define its behavior, and by understanding what it was bred for, you can control its behavior through well-informed training and exercise. A dog’s prey drive is “hardwired” into them and cannot be turned on and off at will, which is what makes them good at doing specific jobs. For a dog to continue to have a healthy and stable mind, he must be physically active. every day. If he doesn’t like long walks or participating in dog sports, then a dog with a high prey drive would not be a good fit. Dogs that are burrowers and escape artists, such as huskies and terriers, will attempt to escape if left unsupervised, and you will be held responsible for what they do if they are successful. Understanding prey drive is important as it will help you decide the right dog breed for your lifestyle. Shelters are full of dogs whose owner chose a dog with a high prey drive that they couldn’t. handle
When an owner stimulates their dog’s prey dive and then satisfies the drive through play, the dog is happy and its overall behavior is balanced. However, if his owner works long hours, has a hectic family schedule, and doesn’t spend quality time with him, the dog’s energy level will increase to the point of behavioral problems resulting in a frustrated owner and possibly a new owner. home for the dog. Dogs with a high drive must unload their energy or destructive behavior, like chewing, will be their release. Chewing will pacify a dog’s adrenal system in the same way that a cigarette relaxes a smoker. Dogs with too much energy can bark too much, jump fences or mouth parts of the human body. Dogs were bred for a specific purpose and getting a dog based on looks or image alone without understanding the characteristics of the breed is a potential problem. Conscientious breeders screen prospective buyers carefully to ensure that the chosen breed is a good fit for their lifestyle. They make sure these buyers have a fenced yard, time in their day to properly exercise the dog, if the buyer is physically able to handle the dog, and is knowledgeable about the breed and its characteristics. If the breeder feels his dog breed has too high a prey drive for the buyer, he will refer him to a quality pet breeder of lower prey drive breeds and discourage him from getting a dog that does not fit his style. of life.
For owners of dogs with a high prey drive who exhibit destructive behavior, daily exercise such as long walks is helpful or playing tag with a ball or Frisbee will drain energy. The stress of learning in an obedience class will wear him down. Enroll your athletic or scented dog in agility and tracking classes to use up pent-up energy. Owners who got their high-motivated dog through adoption or a private party should research the breed through the library, the Internet, or by talking to breeders and other owners. Breed clubs will educate you about your breed, talk to others with high-drive breeds, and offer activities related to the breed.
And for “chewers” and diggers, confining them to a cage when they can’t be watched will keep those unwanted behaviors in check.
Choosing a dog is not like choosing an item of clothing. A dog is a companion, a member of the family, so let him know his breed of choice and be true to himself when it comes to his breed of choice and his lifestyle. In other words… choose wisely.