Your Street Dog.
Dogs have been living side-by-side with people for over 30,000 years. They are genetically programed to respond to human contact. In fact, those who have studied Street Dogs have concluded that human contact is their single most successful survival strategy. Your dog is prepared to bond with you.
Here is what you must know right now:
- Dogs are positively motivated by FOOD and PLAY. These are your best tools for bonding with your dog. Exercising together is a form of play.
- Dogs are negatively affected by Stress. Small stresses can layer to become large, resulting in aggressive or fearful reactivity. Stress interferes with bonding.
- Recognize the difference between ‘Above Threshold’ and ‘Below threshold when it comes to stress. If your dog is so stressed that it will not take food, it is above threshold and you need to remove the dog from the situation. You need to effectively manage your dog’s environment to reduce stress.
- Your dog will read your body language and your tone of voice. Be careful with both. This is why Positive Reinforcement training techniques work the best, by far!
The Street Dog, sometimes called Village Dog or Junkyard Dog, is not the product of a hodge-podge of stray purebreds, but exactly the opposite. Most scientists believe that Street Dogs (sometimes called Village Dogs or even Junkyard Dogs) trace their genetics back some 10,000 to 12,000 years to the first ‘proto dog’ descendant from a now extinct species of Eurasian wolf. The genetic studies continue, but it seems to point to maybe six to eight different lines from this ‘proto-dog,’ specific to different parts of the world. So, if you take a close look at your dog from India or Malaysia, you’ll see a strong resemblance to dogs in Africa, Turkey, South America—wherever Street Dogs proliferate, over 750 million around the world. What might appear as your typical American mutt and the product of random pure-bred mating, is in fact, the original source of the vast majority of those pure-breds. Remember, most AKC registered breeds today are less than one hundred fifty years old, while the Street Dog has been around for over 10,000 years.
What this means is that Street dogs are the product of the evolutionary process of survival-of-the-fittest, making them extremely intelligent, independent and determined. It also makes them prime candidates for human-canine socialization, since studies have shown that interaction with human beings is the single, most successful survival strategy for the Street Dog.
This same intelligence and independence means that by far, the best way to train a Street Dog is through Positive Reinforcement Training. Luckily, this is the overwhelmingly favored philosophy of the dog training/canine behaviorist industry. The goal is to gain your dogs trust by showing them why you deserve it. Be calm, steady, consistent, and above all, kind and they will come to love and trust you for it.
The vast majority of ISDF-sponsored rescues come with having had a good deal of socialization. They have been handled and cared for by their human rescuers, support organizations and frequently, foster families. Plus, there is so much competition to get these dogs out of very difficult situations in their home countries, that it allows ISDF to pre-screen the dogs for success in their adoptive home.