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When people contact me about my dogs and I mention drive, I realize there is a lot of confusion between drive and energy .

It is difficult to attach theoretical labels to a reality that is observed, felt, and varies between races and individuals. In speaking with breeders and trainers of several breeds, the drive can have different “colors,” depending on the breed and type of work.

Let's try to popularize everything.

Driving is instinctive. It is in the dog, at birth. It's not a characteristic that disappears, it's not a bad trait that is replaced with obedience classes. It will not be alleviated by education. In fact, if it is not channeled into activities touching the dog's instincts, he will find a way to channel it himself... and you will not like his method.

Although it is already programmed in the dog, the drive develops, becomes more accentuated, is channeled, and is framed. There are countless nuances and degrees, but here is a simplified scale:

  • a dog that has no drive,

  • a dog with drive and

  • a high drive dog.

Drive is the dog's Will to do its job, what it was created to do. It's like the overzealous employee at work, the one who gets on everyone's nerves because he's way too intense. He crowds everyone to do the work first, he doesn't really see what's going on around him because he's so focused on what he has to do. He will probably catch you in the corridors because he is in his bubble, obsessed with his task, and he cannot see 3 inches in front of him. This employee values himself through his work, he likes to work, he likes to accomplish tasks, he likes his work, he enjoys it! (See the picture?)

Now imagine that this zealous employee is prohibited from working. How much time do you give him before he becomes irritable, even aggressive, and tries by all means to find an alternative to occupy himself and feel valued? And if, every time he finds a purpose, succeeds in giving meaning to his life and compensating a visceral need with this alternative, he gets reprimanded and withdraws this alternative... you have built a bomb delay.

  • A dog without drive will abandon the project quickly, he is not interested enough to deal with pressure or adversity.

  • A dog with drive is wonderful to train, he is willing and if you have channeled his drive well, if you have a good working relationship with him, he will always be more interested in working with you than in being busy. of what is happening around him and will remain so even in adversity.

  • A high drive dog is a dog that remains motivated and strong-willed when the going gets tough and without significant additional training/conditioning to develop this behavior. He will remain so despite a lot of pressure and a lot of adversity. They have learned that this is what is expected of them and they follow the program regardless and very importantly: they will do it voluntarily!

What is adversity? Situations that provoke fear. Interesting things happening around. Other dogs or other people. Elements that will provoke a reaction in the dog (fear, interest, etc.). Adversity is what we try to teach our dog to tolerate/ignore while working with us, to find his work more important than these “distractions”. The high drive dog does not need much training to prefer to work, it is innate in him. For example, for the Border Collie, the most satisfying thing for him is to do his job of herding sheep; you don't need a lot of training sessions, or reward-enhanced conditioning to get him going strong!

There, you say to yourself, oh that's wonderful, I want a dog with high drive!!

Haha… no Unless you are an experienced handler. To have a high drive dog (or in English high drive), you must have a lot of cumulative experience, be invested in a canine sport body and soul or even have a flock of sheep to manage or go hunting... you do not don't want to have a high drive dog as a family dog.

For a mundane situation in life, a high-drive dog will make everything complicated. A ball under the sofa... The dog will not let go of the piece until he has retrieved the ball, if he has to dig a tunnel in the sofa or in the floor to get there, he will do it Whatever the dog wants or does is to the power of 1000 (including bad moves)

If you do not channel the drive (his instincts) by redirecting them towards sports or activities adapted to his instinct (hunting dog, protection dogs, herding dog, etc.) and you only make him expend his energy, you will never see the bottom. He will become an endurance athlete and it is you who will no longer be able to keep up. You'll come home after 20 km of running and your dog will be running in circles as if he hadn't done any activity all day.

Before adopting a Doberman, a Malinois, a Dutch Shepherd, a working German Shepherd, ask yourself the question: Will I be a match for my dog?

In the photos, Theia at 10-11 months.


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