Heart 2 Heart

How Training Strengthens Bonds' on Both Ends of the Leash

Sammie here! There’s a lot going on in the world of dog training these days. There are so many styles, theories, approaches, and trainers to choose from. You may find yourself overwhelmed, confused, and asking questions. What’s “right”? My goal in this post is to explain why we believe that drive-training is essential in building the greatest bond possible between you and your canine companion while helping to heal dogs with trauma & behavioral problems.

Let’s explore what Drive means:


noun : an innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need.

This term is essential in applying this to our friend, the canine, to further understand their side of the leash. 

We see it everyday - the squirrel that grasps our dog’s attention, the 2 dogs flip-flopping back and forth in a fun game of play, the dogs who carry something in their mouth, and the dogs with aggression. All these forms of drive have a few things in common: Movement, Emotion, and Attraction. As it’s common knowledge, the dog is part of the Great Wolf Family Tree. Even your toy chihuahua shares traits of the Wolf.

So, the question is: How can we use this primal instinct of the canine mind as a source of training? 

The answer: Through movement, connection, and trust.

Why through these three perspectives rather than correcting these primal instincts and trying to change our companion? Because by moving energy mentally and physically with your dog and channeling its drive, you are channeling the core essence of this beautiful and strong animal. You are teaching them to move emotion, energy, and that feeling good is important. 

Most of us as humans find importance in moving energy: that twice weekly yoga class we go to, our boxing gym, maybe we enjoy running to clear our mind and deal with stressors life throws our way. All these activities have something in common… They connect the body and mind to move energy. They offer a huge release.

One more term I’d like to explore is Somatic:


adjective : relating to the body, especially as distinct to the mind.

In drive training, we are teaching the dog not to hold back. “Hold back” meaning stay under threshold.  We’re teaching the dog all these tools where they can be over threshold (when they feel like they can’t hold back), but know exactly where to put that energy and who to move with. By using a somatic & holistic approach to training, we are teaching the dog (and ourselves) to move and connect the body and mind. It’s healing.

As owners, we must understand and use the dog’s drive to create a powerful bond that is more attractive than anything else. We can either stop our dog from moving well and teach our dog to become a storage container for stress, or use the stress as a means to feel good.

For us at Dog In Neutral, we consider movement as powerful medicine in our personal lives and in our dogs’ lives. Teach the dog what to do in times of stress and flow with that. Let it Re-Wild the Dog, and Re-Wild Yourself. Be sure to check out our facebook this week for videos of us working these tools with our dogs. Their “stress-toolbox”