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Utilizing Prey Drive For the Sporting Dog
What exactly is prey drive?
A sportdog that has a strong prey drive can easily be one of your strongest assets out in the field. Prey drive is defined as the instinctive and natural propensity to find, pursue and capture prey. Many experts agree that most genuinely, driven dogs are just born with it. So therefore working with a breeder to determine which puppies have the genes of either a dam or a sire that has a strong natural prey drive is the best place to start. But, just as in human personalities some of us are driven and some of us are not. Some dogs need a little help to bring it out and others need a little discipline to calm it down. Whatever breed you are working with, whether a pointer or a retriever, et cetera, if he has a strong prey drive with time, effort and the right tools you can make a great bird dog out of him.
So what does prey drive do for you out in the field?
Not to be confused with aggression, controlled prey drive creates careful and persistent work effort, especially in searching out birds. A well bred dog with a generous amount of prey drive can usually be taught to be an intently focused hunting companion. You might recognize strong prey drive if you been hunting with a friend whose pup is just a sheer joy to watch hunt, often stealing the show and making his master the envy of the entire hunting party, assuming the proper training time has been spent or you might have spent the entire hunting day becoming exhausted by the sheer uncontrolled energy of your friends’ mighty expensive hunting buddy.
How do you bring out the best in your investment?
In this day and age the best way to train a dog with plenty of prey drive is to use a training collar. Usually one with several levels of correction and possibly an audible correction as well. These training collars are highly efficient because they have so many different levels to basically, customize the discipline needed for each individual dog. Sometimes over driven dogs have a stubborn side that if left unchecked can cost you in the long run. When you spend the money for dog from a top breeder and your dog is simply unruly because he isn’t trained properly, you will understand why the time spent training early on was important. Plus, over driven, under trained dogs can cost you right much in veterinarian bills because the enthusiasm and drive will often make your dog forget the danger of things like running into fences or trees because he’s so focused on the prey.
When should I start?
When training a dog with intense prey drive it is imperative to start young. This is where many amateur trainers go wrong with high dollar dogs. Untrained, highly driven dogs can become unruly very fast. Use real birds as early as you can, as soon as the pup shows real interest. Always take plenty of time to train your pup but, break up your training into small portions because puppies have short attention spans and you want to keep the interest for the prey there and not make him bored with it.
So in essence, if you desire a dog with a high prey drive, you will more than likely have to start with a good breeder. Prey drive isn’t usually something that can be created from nothing, although I am not going to say it can’t be done, it just isn’t likely. But, no matter how much prey drive your dog is born with, you still have to take the time to train him and figure out how to make his natural ability work for you in the field.