Border Collie

How dogs show their natural instincts without training

There are many stories of dogs doing what they do naturally.  Last October there was a story in The Telegraph about Rocky the border collie who rounded up some sheep and brought them into the farmer’s kitchen.   Rocky was only seven months old at the time, yet his natural instinct was to round up sheep, and where else to round them up but into the farmer’s kitchen.  He knew that his work would certainly be noticed there, and it was. 

A kitchen full of mud, and sheep droppings was not exactly welcomed by the farmer and his wife.  Of course, they shooed them out of the house and back into the field leaving a lot of mess to be cleaned up and a rather confused dog who expected his humans to have been very pleased with him.   These dogs are absolutely amazing at rounding up sheep and with a bit of training can perform some incredible rounding up feats which anyone watching “One man and his dog” on UK TV will know about. 


Other dogs with natural instincts

Golden Retriever
MBurdich (CC0), Pixabay

This story is not unusual as there are many dogs that have their natural instincts born into them.   So for example a gun dog is unlikely to be bothered by the sound of guns going off.  Maybe the first time will be a surprise, but after that, the sound of guns will trigger their instinct to go and look for the fallen birds and bring them back to the person with the gun.  And anyone who has ever owned a retriever will know how gently they carry things in their mouths.  Gun dogs can carry an egg in their mouths without breaking it, so they do not damage birds they pick up. 

Hounds of various kinds naturally find and chase other animals for the benefit of their owners so the prey can be killed.  Surprisingly to me, I discovered that the Dachshund is by its name a hound, but is still very successfully used to find wild boar in places like the Czech Republic.  Because of their short legs, they can run under thick undergrowth and find the boar more easily than a big dog might manage.  After hounding the boar and making a lot of noise, the hunters then move in for the kill.

Personal experiences of dogs instincts

I was once walking through a large park with a friend who owned a couple of Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  These dogs are trained to round up lions for hunting and their natural instinct is still with them no matter where they are.  The dogs were running free and we became aware of a bit of a rumbling sound.  This turned out to be a herd of deer being rounded up and directed towards us.  As the herd ran past with the dogs after them, the dogs looked at us as if to say “We brought you the deer, why aren’t you shooting them?”

Once when walking in the mountains of central Italy I came across a pack of large white Pyrenean mountain dogs.  They were looking after a large flock of sheep, totally unaided by any shepherd and there job is to see off any threat to the sheep including wolves.

pyrenean mountain dog, great pyrenees, canine
skeeze (CC0), Pixabay




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