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Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior

March 15, 2015

Man’s Best Friend has been a loyal and loving companion to us for thousands of years. Before he was domesticated, Fido lived in the wild with his pack. Many of his old habits and instincts from those days come into play in your canine pal’s behavior and personality, perhaps more often than you might think. In this article, your local Troy vet goes over three key facets of canine behavior.

Pack Drive

One thing that is key to figuring out how Fido’s brain works is understanding that dogs see the world in terms of packs. Your canine buddy considers you and your household to be his pack. In all animals that live in packs, there is always a hierarchy. This too, comes into play when Fido is assessing his role in the family. Dominant dogs often see themselves as the pack leader, while more submissive pups will see their human master as head of the pack. Many of the most popular companion breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, have a strong pack drive. These dogs are happiest when surrounded by members of their family!

Play Drive

Fido’s natural urge to romp, roll, wrestle, and tussle with other members of the pack is known as play drive. When dogs interact with one another, how they play together can be very educational, both for you and your pup. You might see two canine ‘buddies’ switching between dominant and submissive roles. This is how Fido learns to interact with other dogs. Pups with strong play drive will often see toys and play time as a reward. After all, playing is their favorite thing ever!

Prey Drive

Dogs with strong prey drive have a strong urge to chase anything that remotely resembles prey or a target. Prey drive is a very natural instinct in our canine buddies, and dates back to the time when Fido lived in the wild. Prey drive can manifest in many different ways, from chasing squirrels to aggression. Many times, when smaller dogs are attacked by larger dogs, the larger dog has a strong prey drive. Dogs with high prey drive can make excellent pets, but may need additional training and safety measures, as they cannot always control their natural urges.

Do you have any questions about your dog’s health, care or behavior? Please contact us, yout Troy veterinary clinic, any time we can be of assistance.

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