How To Assess Pack Drive in a Dog

A dog’s pack drive is its motivation to belong to a pack for survival purposes.  Being in a group means that the dog is protected, nurtured, and guided by several other group members.  Pack drive makes a dog want to belong to a group, may it be of other dogs or humans who have him as a pet.  Here is how to assess the strength of your dog’s pack drive.

  1. Observe how the dog behaves with other dogs.  Bring the dog to a place where other dogs are present and watch how he behaves.  If he joins the group and interacts with other dogs, he has a strong pack drive.  If he stays away from other dogs and remains in a corner, he has a weak pack drive.  Take note: some dogs are more sociable than other kinds of dogs.  Know about how a dog breed normally exhibits pack drive.  Ask dog owners, consult professionals, or read books and articles.  Compare the normal pack drive with what your dog exhibits.
  2. Stroll with your dog.  Dogs love to go outside and explore in groups.  If you asked the dog to walk with you but he declines, his pack drive may not be strong enough.  Put him on a long leash and see whether he sticks close to you or if he maintains his distance.  Observe if he follows where you lead him or if he drags you to an opposite direction.  Staying close and following his master indicates a positive pack drive.
  3. Call your dog’s name and see if he responds.  As the dog’s owner, the dog considers you to be the team leader of the pack.  Say your dog’s name and observe his reactions.  If he immediately goes to you, he has a high level of pack drive.  If he shows signs of attention such as eye contact or ear twitching, but stays at the same spot, he has moderate pack drive. If he completely ignores you or runs away, he has a low pack drive.
  4. Give commands to your dog.  Following the pack leader’s commands is a sign of pack drive, because disobedience to the master may lead to exclusion from the pack.  Give simple commands to your dog such as fetch an object, run towards you, sit, roll-over, and see how he behaves.  The speed and enthusiasm with which he carries out your orders indicate the level of his pack drive.
  5. Do some activities with your dog.  These activities may be playing, exploring, or hanging out with your dog.  If he stays close to you no matter where you go, he has a strong pack drive.  If he roams within your vicinity, he has a moderate pack drive.  If he goes off by himself and hides from your view, he has a weak pack drive.

Assessing your dog’s pack drive generally means you determine how much your dog wants to stay in a group.  A high pack drives in a dog makes him submissive to his master, interact with other group members, and stay close to the group.  Pack drive is an instinct, but it is learned as well.  If you want to develop pack drive in your dog, give him constant attention and care.


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