The Domestic Dog
The domestic dog is truly unique to all other animals.
Regardless of breed or purpose it is the only animal that possesses a natural servitude to humans making it Man’s Best Friend.
Find out bellow how the dogs WTP and WTS drive a dogs behaviour trained or untrained.
Mutual Respect, trust and the Will to Serve (WTS)
The Will to Serve is an instinct breed into the domestic dog after centuries of service to mankind. Deriving from a basic need to be led, the domestic dog is the only animal that has this instinct.
When trained with Mutual Respect and Trust The WTS (will to serve) of the dog is enhanced to make possible not only the training but also the retraining and conditioning of dogs with behavioural problems. The WTS is present in all breeds and genders making all dogs that possess it trainable. Imagine a space filled with different untrained animals, the dog is the only one that will willing follow us home without the reward of a fish or carrot, it will follow because it has a basic need to be led and from this the WTS is developed. It is only when threw a Lack of Training, Improper Training and or an Incorrect relationship with owners and or handlers that the WTS can be diminished and even destroyed.
It is then that the WTP (Will to Power) takes over the dogs behaviour and determines the outcome of its actions.
The Will To Power (WTP)
The Will To Power of the dog drives any behaviour which is either self-gratifying self-preserving or both. Its fight or flight instincts are a common description of any animal’s self-preservation, the gratification may manifest as anything that makes the dog feel good. The problem with the WTP is that it has no boundaries, it grows naturally and if not controlled the behaviours it drives can become excessive. For example, it is the WTP that drives the territorial nature of the dog, if it is contained by the WTS the dog can become a useful guard dog, if not it may roam and because of the compulsive nature of the WTP never be satisfied with the size of its territory. In truth there is probably not many dogs that enjoy pulling on the lead but with a WTP telling the dog it must get there and must get there now, a sore neck becomes unimportant, the higher the dogs WTP the more discomfort it will endure in the attempt to gratify its self. A dog willing to pull on a lead in the direction it wishes to go to the extent that it renders itself unconscious is not unusual but demonstrates the extremes to which the WTP can develop.
This does not mean however that the WTP is a bad thing, as mentioned above when controlled it is an essential part of many of the tasks we may want our dogs to perform. Things like endurance and courage also come from the WTP and when controlled by the WTS become desirable qualities.
Three main Reasons for an unbalanced WTP/WTS
Lack of Training
All dogs have a capacity to learn, what they learn is or should be up to the owner and or handler. Training with mutual respect and trust should match the individual dog’s capacity to learn, this will develop the dogs WTS. When this is not done the dog learns for itself, it is the WTP of the dog that then drives it’s learning and so self-gratification and or self-preservation become the basis of learning and the resulting behaviours. This means that by doing nothing more than leave the dog in the back yard, a dog may become aggressive, fearful, territorial and so on. The extent and severity of the behaviours learnt by the individual are completely unpredictable and uncontrolled. Most of us will have met a dog that is hand shy with an owner that swears to have never hit or severely punished it. This can be quite true of a dog that has made its own assessment of the world it lives in, and due to self-preservation and it’s WTP got it wrong.
Dominance or the Alpha pack leader
There is many trainers and professionals that base their training methods around destroying the WTP threw the idea of dominating the dog. Apart from the fact that this can’t be done it is unnecessary. When unnecessary force, pain and intimidation are used as a form of training the resulting fear and resentments are merely hidden by the dog’s self-preservation making its behaviour unpredictable and possibly dangerous.
The idea of the alpha pack leader comes from the study of wolves, because of the dog’s ancestry being that of the wolf it has been widely accepted that our domestic dogs can be trained in the same way as wolves interact socially. Wolves are aggressive dominant territorial often fearful wild animals. The bottom line is that a dog treated like a wolf will act like one. Any form of intimidation pain and unnecessary force is, regardless of reason or excuse a form of dominance.
As most people whom own and have an interest or need to train their dogs do actually like dogs, so the pitfalls of dominance training are becoming increasingly undesirable to many handlers and trainers.
Positive reinforcement sounds like a much better alternative however all too often its application is misused. The practice of clicker Training which is used in the training of Whales and Dolphins has developed from this. The problem is that The click and or command become a source of reward for the dog based on self-gratification meaning the dogs WTP is being strengthen.
Due to the lack of respect for the fact that the dog has a natural willingness to work for us in the first place, it does not use or strengthen the WTS. Often the dog trained in this way will become very keen and even over excited to perform, resulting in mistakes in its performance and demanding behaviour like jumping and nipping when not rewarded. The WTP seeks the gratification but can become completely uncontrolled and in some cases produce unwanted traits like those of a dominance trained dog.
Praise is an important part of training but it should be given to the effort and not performance. This increases the effort which strengthens the WTS and improves performance. For example, when calling a dog, the praise should be when the dog is recalling not when it arrives, the effort and WTS are in the effort not the doing.
A correct relationship is one of human/dog based on mutual respect and trust. An incorrect relationship is relevant to both a lack of training and any form of improper training as either of these can create a dog/dog or dog/human relationship.
An incorrect relationship can also be created by a human owner’s expectations and emotional needs. Because of the dog’s natural servitude to us it will try to be whatever we want it to be. If that is as human substitute for example severe behavioural problems can manifest. Self-mutilation, food refusal, separation anxieties are examples of a dog stretched beyond its emotional capabilities. A human/human relationship is basically just not possible for the dog.
Gaining a Balanced WTP/WTS
A Balanced WTS/WTP
By giving the appropriate amount of training to the individual dog, based on mutual respect and trust creating a correct relationship we end up with a well behaved respectful domestic dog with its WTS controlling its behaviour. With the WTS as the reason and the WTP as the drive the gun dog will swim in cold water, the cattle dog will turn a bull, the tracking dog will search to exhaustion and the house dog will always be at your feet.