Some dogs are turned on by conflict.
And….. That ain’t a bad thing.
People are the same way. Chess Players LOVE conflict. So do lawyers. Kids on the debate team.
Also…. weightlifters. They love a weight that doesn’t want to go overhead. Not to mention the obvious boxers, and wrestlers.
All those folks like conflict. They crave it.
In fact…. They NEED it in order to be OK. Take any of the people with the drives that make them excel at the above activities, and prevent them from being involved with said activities…..
And, you’ll have some ill-behaved individuals.
In fact… Prisons are full of those guys. They could have made athletes, or entrepreneurs….. But, they found the wrong ways to express that conflict.
I was that kid. I was in huge amounts of trouble. Very angry, violent kid. Then, found fighting as a vocation. Started weightlifting, and training for fights. I had so much conflict in my life it was silly. But… it was the good directed kind. And, it turned me around.
I am a (mostly) balanced, functional adult. This is ONLY possible because I found an outlet for my urges for conflict that helped me develop as a person.
Some dogs are the same.
They are biologically programmed to be turned on by conflict.
Not necessarily physical conflict.
Herding dogs like the chess match more than the rugby match. Catch dogs are like the rugby folks. And, Pits…. Well….. They are like me.
Point is, there are different “flavors” of conflict. And….. If you don’t find a way to provide it……
It will leak out into other areas of life.
Most dogs….. The only conflict they have access to is with the leash. Or, being stubborn with you. That’s their tug of war. Their debate club.
That’s where play comes in.
Games are at the same time cooperation AND conflict.
Tug, is obvious.
So is Weight Pull
What about Fetch? The ball is trying to escape, they must catch it!
Food training…. That’s like chess. Less physical, but still…. They have to figure out how to win! And the better they get, the harder it is to win! It’s conflict. Debate club conflict. Not fight club conflict. But….. a cooperative game of conflict, none the less!
Find out how turned on your dog is by conflict. And, what kind they crave.
Find, and craft, the game that will give them access to it, while developing relationship, life skills and responsibilities in the process.
Now….. go play with your dog.