Satiating the genetic need
Another symptom that needs to be taken into account, which is, THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE WERE DESIGNED, especially dogs. In the early ‘90’s I went to a Meisterfeld seminar and remember him talking about our dog breeds not performing the functions for which they were designed and that we needed to give our dogs a substitute job to keep them from going stir crazy. And as much as I agree with and recommend that people give their dogs a job and to do things (such as obedience, frisbee, flyball and agility) that stimulate their minds I have also found myself saying regularly that certain breeds of dogs need to perform the function for which they were breed to satiate their genetic need periodically, which in turn keeps their behaviour more acceptable in modern day life.
It is my belief that to have calm biddable canines in suburbia we should take our dogs (approx every 6-8weeks seems to suffice) and let them perform our breed functions, i.e herding breeds go herding, retrievers diving into water and retrieving, scenting breeds go tracking or nosework, terriers for vermin extermination, gundogs flushing out or pointing at game, carriage dogs escorting horse and carts etc.
There are plenty of dog activities to satiate these dogs genetic needs such as Treibball, Dock Diving, Herding, Tracking, Nosework, Lure Coursing, Schutzhund to name a few that would achieve this and return balance to our specific work orientated breeds and it doesn’t need to be performed for competition, but for FUN.
The clients who have tried this suggestion/philosophy especially in the herding breeds have found it to be very beneficial to their dogs behaviour. The other functions of agility and obedience (give your dog a job) to stimulate the dogs mind benefits immensely as the dog is more attentive, learning ability is enhanced, focus, concentration is held longer and stays more consistant when that inherent need is met. The frustration from the dog of not doing what it instinctively wants to do is lessened considerably when it is allowed to do it periodically.