How to channel your dog’s inner wolf
Tips and tricks to engage and motivate your dog in training
Without an appropriate channel unmet natural instincts can come out in all sorts of problematic ways: running, chasing, playing, hunting and lack of hearing when they’re busy doing something ‘important’ to name a few!
It’s not enough to teach them they shouldn’t do these behaviours, to ‘scratch the itch’ you must find their dogs safe opportunities to express natural behaviour.
How to motivate your breed of dog?
You might find it interesting to learn about something called “The predatory sequence”. It is a behaviour chain that is made up of behaviours that are intrinsically motivating and reinforcing for your dog:
SCENT/TRACK > STALK > CHASE > GRAB-BITE > KILL-BITE > DISSECT > CONSUME.
Certain breeds of dog have been bred to find different aspects of the sequence more reinforcing.
Playing games that harness these predation behaviours means your dog gets to engage with you, have fun and feel satisfied strengthening your bond!
Research your breed
What were they bred to do? Chasing? Digging? Scenting? Watching? Find out what comes naturally to them and give them opportunities to do it.
- Shepherd that likes to stalk? Allow them to stalk a toy on a flirt pole eye as you drag it along the floor
- Terrier that wants to kill small furry things? Bulldog that likes to grab/bite? A game of tug or toss a toy or treat for them to catch
- A dog that wants to de-fluff and shred their toys? Stuff a lattice ball with strips of fabric with treats interwoven for them to pull out.
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- Gundog that likes to scent or track? Scatter food or toys in the grass
- Sighthound that likes to chase? Roll food or toys along the ground for them to chase
- Consume = all dogs, try string feeding treats one after the other as a jackpot. Use wet food if bite-size bits are going ‘down the hatch’ without leaving much of an impression. Squeezy cheese-like primula tubes works well for many dogs I have worked with or imagine what a win a little sachet of cat food being squeezed out would feel for your dog!
For many dogs, food with a strong smell like sprats are highly motivating and tempting.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐“…Great as high value rewards in training” Richard, Anglian Dog Works Customer
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