Training for Instinct in Dogs

Written by Maria Stouffer, Training Director at Playful Pups Retreat and Owner of Full Potential Dog Training

Humans and dogs alike have natural instincts that just occur, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere.  To put it into perspective, if a human is falling, their instinct is to brace for that fall with their arm and hand to mitigate damage that can occur.   When a dog meets another dog, their natural instinct is often to sniff the other dogs rear end.  This is a normal and accepted behavior in the dog world, and although humans don’t understand it, dogs learn important information about each other through this instinctual behavior such as identity, gender, age, mood, diet and overall health.

Websters definition of Instinct is

  1. A natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity
  2. A largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason
  3. A behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level

Each breed has inherent instincts that carry over from generation to generation.  It is important to understand the instincts of the breed of dog you have or are planning on bringing into your home.  Instincts can and will guide their behaviors.  Being aware of behaviors that come natural for your dog will help you to better understand and communicate with them.  By taking the time to research the breed characteristics of any dog you may be interested in adding to your family you can eliminate possible frustration and challenging relationships between you and your dog.

Playful Pups Retreat offers an exceptional program for your canine companion, the A to Z Day Training program, where our skilled dog trainers can help teach your dog to have proper Impulse (instinct) control through strong command and behavior work.  Instinct and impulse will never go away, and should never be trained out of a dog. Through command work including both a verbal and a visual cue (command) we can teach your dog how to overcome their natural response to a stimuli and make a better decision thru prompting a better and more pleasurable behavior. This is very strong brain work and is very mentally enriching for a dog.

Working the dog’s brain and asking them to think thru the problem presented (fighting back against the instinctual response they want to present us) provides them the opportunity to present an alternative behavior the owner is looking for and receiving a positive reward for doing so.

When we teach sit, down, wait, stay, come, etc. we are teaching the dog the behaviors we want them to have, providing them with polite manners and good public behaviors.  Many people want to take their dogs out in public to meet people and other dogs, but of course it is crucial that they are well-behaved and have a calm, neutral response to novel environments.  Our dogs are special to us and we want to provide them with socialization and positive and fun experiences.

The A to Z Day Training Program at Playful Pups Retreat is perfect for busy pet parents who want their dog to learn excellent manners and social skills, and it will enhance your relationship with your dog and add value to both of your lives. This innovative training program requires a two day per week attendant for 4 weeks and can help dogs of all ages.  Find out more information or sign up at