Have you ever heard someone say their dog has a strong prey drive and wondered what they meant? After reading a lot about dog drive types, I understand why some dog trainers and behaviorists rely on them to motivate their client’s dogs. But just how useful are they? Can they really help you better understand and train your dog? First, let me explain what drive types are.
There are three basic canine drive types that make up a dog’s personality, character or temperament, so to speak. Although some theories further break down the three types, they are the motivators that cause a dog to respond instinctively in different situations.
Dogs inherit all three drive types and act on them at different times, but one or two drives may be stronger or more dominant, depending on the dog and breed. Here’s a breakdown of the three drive types.
The 3 Basic Dog Drive Types
Are Drive Types Really That Useful?
Some trainers and behaviorists base their training methods on drive types and they tailor the training to the particular drive of a dog. That makes sense. After all, if you understand what motivates a dog, it’s easier to work with their nature or personality. Trainers will also attempt to decrease a particular drive that might be counterproductive in certain types of training or situations.
Others argue that the theory of drive types is outdated and understanding dog behavior is much more complicated than breaking down their personality or instinctual tendencies into a few simple groups. That also makes sense. Most dogs display strength in all three of these drives depending on the circumstances. Dog behavior can also evolve over time and can change depending on the environment, as well as the people and dogs they spend time with.
What’s Your Dog’s Drive Type?You can probably guess your dog’s drive type from the descriptions above, but if you need a little help, try taking this Canine Psychometric Test from K9 Magazine. I took the test and it confirmed my thoughts about Haley. She has a strong pack drive, medium-high prey drive and low flight defense drive. When she was younger though, she had a much higher flight defense drive.
I think it’s interesting to learn about dog drive types and they help explain a lot about dog behavior, but I do feel they’re probably overly simplistic and outdated. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my fellow bloggers, it’s the fact that every dog is different and you can’t train or explain dog behavior with a single theory or method. What do you think? Leave a comment below!