Exploiting shared human/canine social drives
Making a safe, comfortable place where our family/pack can play with their favorite toys in peace.
Its about one, well two...
The best human theory and empirical evidence recognizes three canine instinctual drives which all canine behavior falls within. It is important to recognize these drives. It is more important to understand that all three constantly work together. It is the balance of these three drives that dictates specific behaviors. Repeatedly stimulating one drive outside of the context of the other two drives can produce obsessive, problematic behavior. Balance is the key to success.
Interactive team building
Social considerations mold and structure canine behavior much as they rule human societies. Canines interact socially by use of scent, vocal tones (not words), body language... We humans are predisposed to interact socially with language. We forget that conversation falls deaf on canine ears. Human willingness to "listen" to more instinctual forms of communication reaps great rewards. Our similar social goals have always brought canids and humans together. Once we humans learn to communicate without our linguistic crutches we discover a whole new level of real social interaction.
It's about feeling safe
Dogs want security, too. Fearful, aggressive dogs are compensating for a perceived void in their personal and pack/family security. We humans often unwittingly transpose our social fears and doubt onto our dogs. Demonstrating to our companions that we can approach frightening situations with confident, joint determination refocuses this instinct on following our lead. Dogs typically prefer to follow rather than lead. When fear is the isssue however, they demand a strong confident leader, much as we do.
Does he who has the best toys win?
Young pack members have to learn what socially acceptable prey is and how to pursue it in a social group. They will learn to wait patiently for a pack leader with opposing digits who can make chasing prey fun and safe. We may think to avoid conflict by denying our dog it's prey. But how do humans do without sports, competition... even our careers? Maybe we all learn it's less about the toys and more about the company, and how and where we play "the game".