In this video I’m working with Boomer, a dog with a high prey drive, to show how I switch him from prey to pack drive. Boomer has a good pack drive with good recall, place, sit and down and I’ll use this pack drive to switch him away from his prey drive instincts.

Boomer’s prey drive and desire for food means he’ll make mistakes as I work him but I’m not using any level of correction other than to ask him to get back onto the place or repeat the command – place should always be where the dog feels calm and relaxed. Loading his prey drive with food means his adrenaline levels are raised and he’ll have a hard time registering the commands. But if I can build the prey drive and then cap it and bring it down again using his pack drive instincts it’s an extremely good exercise, especially if the dog is reactive to other dogs.

I purposely give him food to increase the prey drive, and you can see how this raises the excitement level leading him to make mistakes and offer behaviour that I’m not asking for. I’ll make the food rewards intermittent so as not to keep him in the prey drive – I want to be able to load the drive and then bring it back down again. Repeating this exercise for short periods, giving him time to process what he’s learning, is going to gradually build his pack drive and control his prey drive instincts.

For more information about Defence, Pack and Prey Drives see the extract from Dog Training for Dummies (1-3rd edition, Wiley Publishing, 2001-2010 ©) reproduced in my Newsletter:…
– with permission of Jack and Wendy Volhard.
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