Natural instincts in dogs

BASIC INSTINCT: Dogs, like humans, are born with natural instincts that are not taught.

TRAINING of dogs does not give the end product.

A dog’s natural instinct plays a vital role. Man first domesticated the dog because he had so many useful instincts.

When we think that man has used the dog for many thousands of years for his own benefit, it’s very difficult to understand why so few people can differentiate between instinct and intelligence.

Instinct is an urge from within which makes a dog act in a certain way and has no connection with intelligence. A dog’s first instinct is to survive.

When born, a pup squirms about until it finds a teat and then sucks, no intelligence or learning by association plays a part in this process. Maternal instinct tells the female to clean up the foetal membrane, and stir the puppy into action by licking it.

This is not taught, she hasn’t seen another female do this. Most instincts provide pleasure and because it associates the action with pleasure the instinct grows stronger with usage. In my opinion instinct is either there or it’s not and it can be strengthened, weakened, or diverted.

It might lie dormant but once developed it can never be weakened again. A dog’s obsession for chasing balls can be controlled by training and providing other energy outlets in the same way. If a young dog is diverted the first time he chases a car he may give up the idea, but if allowed to chase cars the hunting instinct becomes stronger and it will be very difficult, even impossible to cure the habit.

Instinct covers survival, maternal, hunting, guarding, pack, and self-preservation. Self-preservation makes dogs furtive and afraid of the unfamiliar. In my opinion, nervousness in dogs is one of the common causes of problems in dogs today.

Nearly all cases where children have been attacked by dogs and owners bitten by their own dog arise from nervousness, it’s afraid it’s going to be hurt and attacks first.

The self-preservation instinct has been weakened by simply breeding from bold dogs rather than nervous ones but has never been entirely removed.


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