Instinctively, dogs are hunters and scavengers, some more trusted than others. Even today, certain breeds’ genes whine incessantly for the adrenaline-pumping stimulation of the hunt and the thrill of winning their hunt. Nature has given them this extraordinary drive to continue to exist.
Cattle dogs with low prey are quite content to sit on your lap or with the remote control close by at your feet. Over thousands of years of human companionship, this instinct and urge for excitement and survival has weakened. They usually get along well with the other animals in the house. For them, the sound of a can opener is music to their ears and a lot less tiring than chasing a meal every day.
Nonetheless, there are those dogs with phenomenally high prey rates that only a good hunt can take the edge off. They are the quintessential dog hunter/provider. Humans need to take some responsibility for this behavior. In a number of instances we have encouraged and rewarded this drive and behavior in order to adapt the animal to our needs.
The term drive means something that your dog naturally finds rewarding and that you don’t have to provide. It’s a natural drive for a Beagle to put their nose to the ground and follow. It does not need to be persuaded to pursue or hunt. They are difficult to train to remember because tracking and hunting is their ultimate reward.
Australian Shepherds and Border Collies have an innate herd and control drive but are usually suited to training and rewards. This makes them easy to train. They do us good by conforming, but they retain a degree of intelligent disobedience just in case they need it.
Bidable vs. Non-biddable is how dogs respond to their innate instincts and drive, as well as their willingness to interact with their owners or handlers.
A dog or breed that is considered docile usually has a high need for human companionship and guidance. They are obedient and subservient to their human leader. This willingness and desire to please makes them easy to train and control. Praise, a ball, or a treat are their ultimate reward. They are also quite liberal in the forgiving department.
A dog or breed that requires less human companionship and guidance will be considered an unbidderable breed. They are less forgiving and more emotionally distant, independent and self-determined. It is not their priority to please their owner/handler. Her goal is self-gratification. This makes them more difficult to train and control.
Low Prey Drive/Low Bidable
Here we have a dog that doesn’t hunt much, but isn’t that keen on being told what to do. In this group you will find many of the companion, guardian and herding dog breeds, such as B. the Great Pyrenees, Bernese and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. They prefer to think for themselves, but politely yield when asked to do so. For them it’s “OK if you insist”. They are moderately easy to train but are reluctant to admit it.
Low Prey Drive/High Bidable
The ideal pet for the novice or average dog owner is one with a low prey drive and high in the bidder department. Collies and Old English Sheepdogs belong in this group. Their need to please their person makes them easy to train and far outweighs their desire to hunt anything. They usually play well with others, be it animal or human. This is the perfect dog for someone with minimal dog ownership experience, or for someone who has little time or inclination to work and exercise their pet. Almost by nature, they are incredible service and therapy dogs. Here’s the dog just throwing up his paws and saying, “What makes you happy makes me happy too!”
High loot/high bids
This group includes mainly herding, working and some sporting breeds. Here you will typically find German and Australian Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Golden and Labrador Retrievers. These are breeds that have an incredibly natural work ethic. They’re the dogs that thrive on a mix of human companionship and high docility, yet retain just enough intelligent disobedience to keep you on your toes. They require intense physical and mental stimulation, as well as fair, firm, and consistent leadership. To their credit, they forgive if their owner or handler messes something up! They love to learn and interact with their people and other animals. Dogs of this group are characterized by teamwork and trust. In some cases, this bond and teamwork can mean the difference between life and death. They are fierce competitors and hard workers in herding, dragging, agility, flyball, search and rescue, security, corpse, drug and bomb sniffing. They make wonderful pets for people who have the time and energy to develop their pet’s natural passion and willingness to please to their fullest potential. “Have you seen Me? Do you want to see me doing it again?” That’s how these dogs think.
High Prey Drive/Low Bidable
Here are the challengers! You can also talk to yourself. Terriers, corgis, sight, hearing and scent hounds often tackle this group. They enjoy human company to some extent. They choose who or what to listen to or play with… and it’s generally not the family cat or even another dog in the house. They adamantly believe in the “You’re not my boss!” Philosophy. They are generally intelligent but can be frustratingly difficult to train. They think the older they get, the dumber we get. High self-esteem is not a problem for this dog! When they are at work, they have exceptionally selective hearing. Ask any Beagle, Corgi, West Highland Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Jack Russell or Rat Terrier owner… they will be more than thrilled to share countless stories about the hours they’ve spent driving around with leash in hand and calling their dogs dear selective hearing dog. A high prey, low bid dog is not for the inexperienced or docile owner. This dog needs fair, firm, and consistent leadership at all times. They need regular reminders who’s boss! One look into their eyes tells you they’re thinking, “Whatever!”
Bottom line: To find out which is the right dog for you, you should seriously consider the level of their instincts, prey drive, and biddable and non-biddable traits. How compatible you are with your pet will make a world of difference.
If you are getting a puppy, make sure you get to know its parents. That gives you a good indicator for the future. You will get a fair assessment of a puppy’s drives, instincts and docility from their parents.
Mixed breeds with a combination of what you are looking for can be excellent choices. Mutts often make the best pets!
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