Each breed of dog has its own a personality type that he inherits from his ancestors. His genetic factors will determine his nature and how much training he will need to perform specific tasks.
A canine’s personality type, also known as behavioral drive, may fall into one of three categories; prey, pack, or defense mode. Keep in mind that certain breeds will be dominant in one of these categories but, in certain circumstances, may shift from one to the other. A dog may be high in one category and low in another or high in more than one. It depends on how strong each mode presents itself in the canine that establishes how a dog sees and reacts to his environment.
The prey mode is related to hunting instincts; hunting his prey, killing it, and consuming it. Movement, sound, and scent are very much involved in triggering the prey factor in a dog. A few prey activities would be sniffing the air, digging a hole in the yard to bury a bone, shaking a rag toy roughly, and tearing apart a stuffed animal.
Dogs are pack animals. In the wild, they live in packs. They live in groups to survive. Packs have a social order and live strictly by a chain of command. Mating and having offspring is done within the pack. That is why dogs make great pets. Living with people fulfills the pack mode need. The pack mode is stronger in some dogs than others. This is why some dogs have a more difficult time when left alone for longer periods of time. A predominantly pack type dog loves to be with people and other dogs. He will follow his human everywhere and anywhere he is permitted. He is very content being in the company of others. He also enjoys being groomed and touched.
An animal in the defense mode is reacting to very strong preservation instincts. Defense has two sides to it. The same stimulus could rouse either the fight or flight response. The fight response does not generally appear until the dog is sexually mature. The degree to which a dog demonstrates the fight response may depend on what he has experienced in his early years. A dog in this mode is very territorial. He will protect his food or toy from people or another dog. When lying in an entryway or by a cupboard door, he may become very stubborn when commanded to move. Unlike the pack mode, a dog in the defense flight mode does not like to be touched or groomed. Putting his head over another dog’s shoulder is also representative of the defense mode. If another dog or a human appears to be in his space, he will growl.
The flight response to the defense mode occurs mainly in younger dogs that have not yet developed self-confidence. This type of dog may hide when company comes to the house or when something is going on that is out of the ordinary. He does not like to be touched by strangers. When meeting with a person or dog, he may tuck his tail. His fur may stand up along his spine when fearful of a situation.
Determining the training your dog needs and its intensity depend on his dominant personality type. A dog with a low fight drive generally needs very little training. This dog will stay away from conflict. He wants to be with you all day and is not a chaser. Whereas, a dog that has a predominantly prey personality and high on fight defense is a challenge and may need an expert to train him.