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Instinctive Behaviour

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 27 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
Wolf Training Hereditary Canine Food

Sometimes unwanted behaviour in our dogs cannot be avoided. To our dogs they are just following instincts that have been buried deep in their roots and goes back centuries.


A dogs behaviour can be inherited, how many times have we been told that our dog acts in the same way as it dam or sire? Sometimes it is a simple characteristic of the breed other times a mannerism or trick learnt early in life.

Natural Instinct

For this we should look at our dog’s ancestor – the wolf. Basic instinct that our dogs perform in our home can be attributed to this animal.

Pack instinct: If you have more than one dog in the home there is a natural pack instinct. Strangely it is not always the oldest dog or the largest dog that is the pack leader. A female can be the more dominant especially if she has had a litter of puppies and one is kept. Without any sign of aggression the pack leader can control who drinks from a bowl and stop play in a moment. You will find that when this dog dies there will be a time of decision between the other dogs before a new pack leader is decided.


There are dogs that can escape from the most secure of gardens, scrambling over ten foot fences in their quest for freedom, dig the deepest holes under walls to disappear in to distance. These dogs are just following the most basic of instincts to be able to run free and safe.


Nothing can be more fearful than to face an aggressive dog. We are told not to turn and run but stand our ground and face the dog – easier said than done! A dog chases because it is instinctive for it to chase its prey and run it to ground. Sometimes a command in a deep firm voice is enough to startle the dog into submission.


There is also an ingrown sense in the dog to reproduce and establish the future of its breed. This can be seen when dogs from far away camp outside the home of a bitch in season. Dogs will mark the area with urine showing that they are the alpha male.

It is not just the dog that is attracted to the bitch in season, the bitch will also try her utmost to attract and lure the dog. If you find this a problem with your dog or bitch you should consider having them spayed or neutered. If this is not an option – you may wish to breed with your bitch then you should try to keep her inside during the second part of her season when she becomes more interesting to other dogs. Wash down the back yard and front path with a disinfectant that will help to clear the scent of the bitch.

Food guarding and stealing

Simple naughty acts by our dogs like stealing food from the kitchen and protecting feed bowls go back to the time when an animal had to hunt for its food and protect it at all costs, there could be days before another meal could be hunted down or found.


As long as we are aware that our dogs behaviour is instinctive rather than always being naughty then we can appreciate the canine traits and incorporate them in their training and domestic life.

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