You Don't Get To Choose What Your Dog Needs

You don't get to choose what your dog needs.

I talk often about your dog's instinct. Breed Characteristics. Drive Level. Temperament. Personality.

We can't choose what our dog needs any more than we can choose what color eyes we have. Some needs are built in and hard-wired.

The little guy in this picture is not your average dog, not even your average pit bull. He has a high drive level unlike any I have ever seen. He's hard-wired for arousal and a ton of energy.

What we can do for him is management. Teach him the best behaviors we can, meet the needs of his drive and energy level, and manage the rest. He won't ever be "dog-friendly", believe me we've tried.

So today while participating in a presentation at IACP Trainer's conference -- this statement was made. And it reminded me of this case and to share with you the story.

Many of you are struggling with dogs who have instinctual needs that are not being met. Or drive levels that were far higher (or lower) than you expected when you brought the dog home.

Remember, there is a spectrum. And we can only train the dog that stands before us. This is especially true if you're in rescue, pulling from the shelter etc -- you can't be sure what the genetic breeding of your dog is when you don't know their lineage -- and even then, you may pull a wildcard.

You may be struggling because you haven't accepted the reality. Once you fully embrace what the dog needs -- and not what you thought he needs or what you "wanted". Everyone will be more fulfilled, in ways you may not have ever considered.

You can't choose what your dog needs. The only question is:
Will you give your dog what he actually needs. Megan McLaughlin (IACP 2016)


Dana Brigman