The Prey-Drive Blueprint

Understanding the Dog

Regardless of a dog breed, each dog has a prey-drive blueprint in their DNA. If a dog lived in the wild, they would be hunting all day and return to their den to rest. It’s how they survive emotionally, physically, and mentally. With hunting being the main driving factor of the dog’s natural instinct, we must understand that they love to bite. It’s social behavior, keeps them emotionally grounded, and they are naturally hunters. 

As owners, we want to fully embrace this natural instinct in the dog to keep them grounded and emotionally neutral. To use the dog’s prey drive and help them feel good, we determine what the prey is… because like we all know - the dog cannot go off and tackle every deer, squirrel, or large game animal it sees in today’s modern world! 

The reason dogs wanna pull and chase squirrels is because they are hunting - it’s their natural instinct. With this example of pulling on the leash, the end-all training we teach would look like the following: 

As Fluffy grows up he is highly attracted to prey (squirrels, deer, moose, etc.). Instead of never letting him catch that prey, we are able to take that prey energy and bring back to us. This may look like: Fluffy sees the squirrel, pauses for a moment unsure of what to do, the owner says, “Readyyyyyyyy! Pulls out a big bite toy and Fluffy comes running to the owner, jumps up, and bites the toy - you play some tug & push with the toy and Fluffy goes on his merry way during the walk carrying the toy in his mouth. You see, to Fluffy, he DID just catch the prey - and it came from teamwork and a strong bond with the owner. He feels good and satisfied. The owner owns the prey - thus the owner is the answer to anytime the dog gets scared, stressed, or feels his primal drive burning within him. 

The ideal situation is getting a puppy to raise it naturally so its natural drive is protected without instilling “kinks”. If you scold a puppy when they are picking up things in their mouth, jumping up on things, specific house-training methods (like disciplining or rubbing a dog’s face in the mess), you can really scare them. With a puppy, you are truly starting with a blank slate and fresh set of emotions. Instilling a traumatic feeling within the puppy is simple - we set you up for success so you as the owner act as the answer for anything and everything as puppy grows old with you.

If the dog starts to feel that it cannot express its natural drive, that’s where behavioral problems pop up throughout life.

Thus, if they can’t trust the human to express the natural drive, they find different ways to cope… which in today’s society we call behavioral problems (i.e. aggression, fear, reactivity, running away from home, getting into the trash, noise phobias, etc.) It’s Dog PTSD… The dog continues to relive the traumatic moment due to the fight or flight energy that failed to be released during the time of tension. 

When puppy is growing up, use a crate and back-tie in the house so it doesn’t get into trouble. You are preventing any unnecessary corrections with the young dog - so it doesn’t learn that their human is a source of anger, fear, and trauma.

Correcting the dog for everything it does is not strengthening the bond between owner and dog. In fact, it's destroying it.

Take a moment to reflect on any corrections you're giving your dog...especially indoors - are they avoidable? Can you crate the dog if it's getting into trouble or back-tie it in the house? Set your dog up for success... not corrections. It's confusing for them.

Growing up, when the human spends most of the time and excitement outside with the puppy, they can get stimulated and pick up a stick or a toy - that’s fine and actually training the puppy to trust the bond with their person. 

The training method is super fun. It’s exciting, physical, and connected to the dog you’re working with. People typically love to do it and it’s a great de-stressor from our busy lives as humans. This training has been something that has fully connected us to nature and our dogs, and we hope it does the same for you, too.

Sam Corbo