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Breed Specific Behaviors

April 22, 2024

We are all about prevention around here! Prevention of injury, prevention of practicing unwanted behavior, and most importantly prevention of behavior issues. Yes, I hope to put myself out of business with all your perfect pups living their best lives. Since I have a ways to go to make that happen, let’s talk about one of the quickest ways to make a difference in your dog’s life. 

Tapping into your dogs natural ability

Dogs have been specifically bred for certain traits and behaviors for generations. Ingrained in their brain is the need to do the thing they were specifically bred for. This is why we talk so frequently about getting a dog who matches your lifestyle. Even with a ton of training, you can’t make a mastiff a poodle, and you can’t make a beagle a German Shepherd. (Well, maybe. If you used enough food I think a beagle would do anything.) 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common traits in our dogs and how you can help them satisfy that need. 

Jinger investigates cake plates with cookies on top.

Sniff – Did you know that a dogs olfactory sense is housed in their frontal cortex. Guess which area is largest in a dog’s brain! Yes, the Frontal Cortex! Sniffy games are wearing out your dog because it’s literally using most of their brain! 

Chase – chase you, chase birds, chase the cat. Some dogs can’t get enough running after things. By using things like a toy when you are working on recalls or a flirt pole, you can harness the need to chase the things into something much more appropriate. 

Retrieve – Get the thing and bring it back. If you have a retriever or a dog who lives to fetch, make it more challenging by asking for known behaviors before throwing the ball. Watch your dogs brain break real quick. 

Herding – making things move and following directions. People often forget that to be a successful herding dog they need to see the details and quick movements out of place. That trait is not helpful in your living room where the only thing moving is you. Herding dogs like aussies, and shelties live to follow instructions. If there is no instruction, they are probably going to bark at it or bite it. Spend some time really proofing your verbal cues and string them together to create a routine or pattern to follow. 

Cargo found baseballs at the park

Patrol – Dogs need to move. Livestock guardian dogs like Great Pyrenees and Mastiffs want to see what their domain looks like. Make sure these guys are getting plenty of time to walk around the neighborhood or in a big field where they can clock their miles without establishing their perimeter alone. Usually this involves them wandering off without you, you can’t find them, everyone ugly cries. It’s a whole thing no one enjoys. If you are finding your patrol dog enjoys screaming at the neighbors then a trip to a quiet place might be a better option.

If you have a mixed breed dog or are not sure the parentage of your dog, then you get to look at your dog as an individual. Try out all the things and see which games they enjoy the most. Also, just because you have a herding dog, does not mean they won’t enjoy sniffy games. Toad is a Cattle Dog and loves barn hunt and scent work. Try a little bit of everything, your dog will thank you for it. 

About Us

At The Freckled Paw, we are committed to kindness towards both you and your dog. We understand that every dog and owner team is different and will have their own unique challenges. We pride ourselves in listening to your challenges and coming up with a plan that will help you reach your goals for your life with your dog. Let us help you navigate your challenges and come up with a plan that works!