Kathy Diamond Davis presents:
The kind of grooming that will most increase pack drive is grooming every day. This gets your hands all over the dog, the dog working cooperatively with you to turn this way and that so you cover all the hair. Comb the hair completely through with a top-quality comb if it's long, give the dog a thorough rub-down with your hands if it's short.
It's really important that it be every day. Then it will not be painful. It will, however, teach the dog to tolerate mild discomfort, and to communicate to you when something hurts without turning around and biting you. It will also make you more aware of your dog's body language and help the two of you learn to move more smoothly as a team. You'll be able to guide your dog better with your hands in all other situations as you learn to do it
The grooming is great for your dog's health, too, not only skin and coat, but all the other things you will notice before they become advanced problems. And the effects on a dog's obedience and cuddliness are just astonishing.
Another way to increase pack drive is to keep the dog with you. House dogs are part of the family, they develop many interactive behaviors with you, and they feel they belong. If your dog still needs crating at night, putting the crate in your bedroom instead of another room would increase pack drive.
If the dog does not require a crate, your bedroom floor is the perfect place for a dog bed. Pack drive is increased by a dog sleeping on the bed, too, but there are several circumstances in which that would not be a safe practice, and it is not necessary in order to have a great relationship with your dog.
The major way most people probably increase their dogs' pack drives is training. Harsh correction methods will increase defense drives, so you don't want that. If the dog perceives you as a fair leader who is generous with praise and other rewards, the dog not only increases in pack drives, but also increases its specific bond to you.
Petting also increases pack drive, so if you can use it as a reward for commands obeyed (praise is always the first reward, then petting if appropriate, or food or play), you're getting double-duty out of the training. Praise as a reward is so very important, for the dog to learn to love the sound of your voice, at the same time you practice and learn by experimenting just exactly how to use your voice to motivate your dog. Every dog is a little different. And good use of your voice requires regular practice.
When you take the dog away from the house with you, that seems to increase pack drive, too. You are the amazing leader who conducts these wonderful expeditions! Best if you don't take other dogs at the same time, since the bond to you is the most important one, not the bond to the other dogs. If you have multiple dogs, they need to each spend time alone with you regularly, in order to maintain a good bond with you and not be bonded just to each other.
Getting along well with another dog of opposite sex in the home probably increases pack drive, too, but if the choice of the other dog were not compatible with this dog, that would be detrimental. If other dogs are acquired too quickly, that would be detrimental, too, because as you can see from reading through this, the things that increase pack drive in your dog are things that involve you spending one-on-one time with the dog. Every new dog you add can challenge your ability to provide that for each of them.
---©Kathy Diamond Davis, author, Responsible Dog Ownership
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