By Joel Monroe &
Please direct any questions or comments
to Joel Monroe firstname.lastname@example.org
The term "drives"
is commonly used in dog training. A drive can be loosely defined
as an instinctive desire or impulse. Every dog has certain amounts
of various drives and these drives cannot be increased beyond its
genetic limits. A trainer and owner can only develop a drive to
the maximum that the dog was given by nature.
Below are definitions of the drives
most commonly used in dog training.
Prey Drive: Prey
drive is the desire to chase and bite a moving object. This is a
dog's natural hunting instinct and is stimulated by rapid movement
moving sideways or away from the dog. Seeing a dog's prey drive
kick in is most obvious when you see a dog chasing a small animal
like a rabbit or cat. A dog feels ultimate confidence in this drive.
When a dog is held back from pursuing its prey, it will produce
a high pitched bark. However, when in pursuit, a dog will be completely
silent. You will often hear trainers talk about ball drive or toy
drive, but that is actually prey drive.
Defense Drive: The
phrase "fight or flight" is most commonly used to describe
defense drive. This is a dog's self-preservation instinct and kicks
in when a dog is afraid. Defense drive can be stimulated by movement
directly towards the dog. When in defense drive, the dog will either
flee to avoid the object that causes it fear or bite in order to
cause the object of fear to back away. Though defense drive will
produce an intimidating deep growl and bark, the dog is in a mental
state of least confidence. Due to the lack of confidence, a dog
in defense drive will bite with the front part of its mouth and
as far away from center mass of the object that is afraid of.
Fight Drive: This
drive is the most difficult to define and spot by the untrained
eye. Fight drive can bee seen as a dog's unrelenting willingness
to engage and become victorious in a confrontation. Do not confuse
fight drive with a dog that is unsocialized and aggressive towards
people and other dogs. When in fight drive, the type of movement
by the opponent is irrelevant. The dog is not engaging because something
is afraid of the dog and running from it. Nor is the dog afraid
and wanting to avoid further confrontation. Think of it like the
mentality of a boxer in the heat of a boxing match. The boxer just
wants to win and the only thing that will stop the boxer is being
knocked out. Fight drive does not produce confidence, but rather
a dog must be confident to have fight drive.
Food Drive: Food
drive is the level of interest a dog has in eating food. Though
the term "food drive" is commonly used in a dog training,
one can argue whether or not it is truly considered a drive. If
you look at all the other drives, it cannot be increased beyond
its genetic limits. For example, if a dog naturally has low prey
drive, it is impossible for anyone to bring out high prey drive
in that dog. On the other hand, when it comes to food drive, it
can be increased. Starve any dog long enough and you will see high