Let’s talk about drive for a minute. Pull ten different dog people from various sub-genres of the dog world and every single one will give you a different definition of drive. It can be a good thing ( “My new Farfenhound is soooo drivey. He’ll be fantastic at farfing”), or it can be a bad thing (“Fluffy’s prey drive is so high, she’ll never be able to be around cats”). And sometimes people just flat out misuse the term (pro tip: hyperactivity does not a drivey dog make). At this point, we’re pretty sure it’s just a word people throw around to make themselves look like they know what they’re talking about. (“I really wanted a drivey dog, that’s why I went with a pet bred miniature dachshund.”) We’re also pretty sure that many people who claim to own a “drivey” dog would poop their pants if they actually encountered one.
Here’s the thing about “Drive”. It’s not a fixed concept. Drive is fluid. It can be built. It can be quashed. It’s really mostly a load of horse-shit because in the long run it’s not the drive that matters. Want to be dismissed off-hand by people who actually know what they’re talking about? Talk about the drives incessantly. Prey drive, defense drive, fight drive, play drive, tug drive, sex drive, one drive, two drive, red drive, blue drive… Seriously. We get it. You read a lot of books and watch some youtube. We bow to your superior understanding of buzzwords.
Among us, we’ve never met a dog completely devoid of drive. We’ve met plenty of trainers that can suck any desire to work right out of a dog. We’ve met plenty that have an out of control dog and blame it on too much drive. Then there are the poorly trained and undirected pets that dominate the suburban landscape. Lastly of course, there are the trainers that are willing to maintain and build a dog’s natural eagerness to work while also maintaining control. Here’s a hint, those aren’t the trainers that are always bragging about how full of drive their dogs are. I know we preach this a lot, but it stands true. In dog training, the loudest talkers often know the least.
For funsies sometimes we fact-check Facebook announcements on drive etc. (You would be amazed how much pure information is available online about any and every dog exploit you’ve ever had). While we have full understanding of careers cut short by injury, ring sourness, and general lack of interest by the handler, if you’ve never done anything and bitch about how a young dog lacks <insert pointless drive buzzword here>, it’s not the dog.
So here’s the deal. Real training peeps recognize drive and can build or quash for their needs. They don’t have to talk about it ad nauseum. You shut up about drives, and we’ll stop yelling about how meaningless buzzwords dilute the value in actually educational training discourses, Mmmkay?