Bacon Drive; Do YOU Have it? Does Your Dog?

Thanks Investors Place for the Photo

Bacon Drive do you have it?  That overwhelming desire to do anything to eat bacon?

Remember the old commercials:

What Would YOU do for a Klondike Bar??

Recently I saw a meme on Facebook saying “I know what you did for that Klondike Bar” and you are gross”.  I still giggle; admittedly mostly to myself.

So do you have Bacon Drive?  This isn’t meant to be a discussion about vegan-ism I am happy for you all to make your own choices.

The truth for me is that I HATED bacon as a kid.  I remember getting in trouble as a small kid, I guess I was 6 or so.  My family had planned a camping trip and I told my mom I wanted to go but I refused to eat bacon.

I hated bacon cause the way my mom made it; was all limp and greasy.

I actually like it now… basically if it has bacon on it I will eat it.

And, the camping trip was cancelled totally to teach me a lesson about putting my foot down on any subject; and so the rest of the family would hate me for a while for ruining our vacation.  Don’t get me wrong, I was forced to eat bacon, we just didn’t go on vacation that year.  Tough love I guess.

Most people love bacon.  And, most dogs would love bacon, however bacon being greasy and full of fat and dogs having a limited ability for their pancreas to digest that kind of fat; bacon can kill dogs.   SO JUST DON’T DO IT!

Your Dogs Drives

The idea of the articles is to talk about your dog’s instinctual drives.

I have a friend who cracks up because as people we refer to anything a dog wants as a “drive” .

  • Ball Drive
  • Toy Drive
  • Cat Drive
  • Squirrel Drive
  • Nap Drive
  • Exercise Drive
  • Fight Drive
  • Add Whatever Suits Your Fancy

Truly there are only a few basic, instinctual drives.

So when I hear someone say “ball drive” (and sometimes I am guilty too)… it makes me giggle.

Real Dog Drives

Food; all dogs need food to survive

Water; all dogs need water to survive

Sex; all dogs need sex (provided they are not neutered) to continue the species

Territorial; most dogs (those intact especially) have a drive to protect what is theirs, their food, families, females and anything else they deem worthy.

Prey; all dogs have prey drive so that they can catch their food and survive

Defensive; all animals have a defensive drive (except maybe badgers… badgers are just down right aggressive ha ha).  This is the fight or flight feeling.  The dog has a fraction of a second to decide he can fight and possibly win, or run for the hills and save his life.  Defensive drives keep you alive.

These Are Your Dogs Only Drives

Prey Drive is Probably the Strongest Drive! Thanks Science Blog for the photo

I can use food drive to teach my dog to perform for food, something he needs to survive.  (no bacon!, but cheese, dog treats, carrots, his own food)

I can use water in the same way (although I believe this is sad).  Unless you are making your dog sit in so that he doesn’t spill his water on you; making him work for water is unfair.

You can use sex as a motivator, but the instinct to breed is harder to control than the instinct or desire to eat.

Usually we are trying to control territorial behavior in the opposite way (unless you are talking about dog fighting).  We try to teach dogs that by sharing their space, beds, food, toys, and siblings they can get what they want in life.

If severe enough in my opinion territorial drives can be controlled but never changed.  If left alone to the dogs’ own devices this is where a lot of dog fights happen because they can learn to share with you around, but refuse to share when alone (remember sharing doesn’t always keep you alive in the wild).

Prey drive (my favorite) we utilize prey drives to teach dogs to herd, to teach them to hunt, to teach them, to play and to use play to manipulate them to do things for us.

Think of all the wildlife programs you have watched over the years where the baby cubs play with pine cones, chase rocks, and find other things to play with… this play is grooming wild animals to someday hone their chasing and prey skills so that they can eat.

I doubt you would see a mother lion playing with a ball of yarn.

However our dogs don’t have the impending death and drama wild animals have to deal with, so they stay in a state of play and catch.

Those who don’t play… wouldn’t make it long in the wild!! 😉

Defensive drive

Defensive Drive Saves Your Life thanks Natgeo for the Photo

Defensive Drive Saves Your Life thanks Natgeo for the Photo

This is the drive that says “GET OUT” or “FIGHT”.

If I am alone in an elevator a man threatens me for my purse I’m going to give it to him and run like the wind when I am able.

If I am in crowded McDonalds and an 11 year old punk comes up to me and tells me to give me my purse or get in his car I am going to fight like a prize fighter.  The chances are in my favor not to go when others are around.

When your dog sees a statue, a jack hammer, a person with a hoodie over his head… he may go into defense or either try and kill the thing he doesn’t recognize or run away.

Defense is a scary drive because the dog is usually a millimeter away from either biting or running.

Many in the protection world want a defensive drive dog, because they look tough fighting and frothing, but they are so close to buckling and running away, plus they are very hard to control because they are simply scared, it is not reliable.

There is no “FIGHT DRIVE” what you are seeing is the fight the fraction of a second before your dog decides to run.

The Drives You Want to Use

I think he's got it wrong... thanks Examiner for the photo

I think he’s got it wrong… thanks Examiner for the photo

Food Drive; make your dog work for food!  He will do anything for you if

you control his food.

Prey Drive; (call it ball drive, toy drive, Frisbee drive, hose drive I don’t care what you call it but if you want to be correct it’s prey drive) but use that desire to chase and play to sculpt his obedience and get him to do what you want.

At my house, Prey Drive rules!!!  My dogs love to play!

What’s your drive?  Do you have Bacon drive??

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  1. Carol says:



  2. Karin Yates says:

    Bacon is as bad for dogs as it is for people as it is for pigs.
    My(rescue)dogs have always been vegetarian.


  3. Mary says:

    You need to read Wendy Volhard.

    And your right about bacon. It is bad for dog and man but I do love it crisp.


  4. Rodney Koran says:

    thanks for the bacon info I had no idea


  5. Brenda says:

    Food drive! Carrots, dog treats, pretzels, but only Lucy will eat those.


  6. Sharon says:

    I wish my doodle would train for food. Only thing that works for her is praise.


    Minette Reply:

    All animals have food drive we need it to survive, at some level your dog does.


  7. Donna Villers says:

    I agree a lot bacon treats are not good for my dog .But now and then I will give it to her for a special ok??


    Minette Reply:

    Bacon and pork is very high in salt and fat and can cause pancreatitis which can kill dogs… so I would never use it


  8. Linda Piel says:

    We have lean turkey bacon. They love it, not fatty.. Is this ok, or too much salt too?


    Minette Reply:

    WAY too much salt and turkey has been reported as not good for dogs, I stick to chicken, or use liver and bake my own treats.


  9. Jeannie says:

    I can’t stand to cook bacon – it’s fine in the moment, but the house smells like stale bacon grease aroma for the rest of the day. Having said that, there is a way to slow cook bacon until it’s crisp that renders out almost every bit of the fat and leaves a sort of bacon jerky. Someone else can do that, at their own house. Not me. There’s a reason they don’t make bacon incense.

    I do use food as a reward, and not their regular kibble. I also use clicker training – sort of. I can’t always have a clicker on me, so when they do something I want them to do, I cluck my tongue against the roof of my mouth and immediately give them a treat. My dogs are trained to do “tricks”, not obedience trained other than the basics. I train them in order to interact with them and teach them to learn and to do what I ask. I use people food a lot as a treat, because to them it’s a major score (it’s important to know the handful of foods dogs shouldn’t have though). Every single one of my dogs would grow wings and learn to fly for cubed cantaloupe, for example.

    After repetition and success with a new skill, a click (cluck?) and the occasional treat is enough. In my experience, the most important things are that both of you are having fun, and that you start and end with success…your dog might not seem to need to be asked to sit, stay or lie down before learning something new, but they do need to start with confidence and a bond with you, and that’s what demonstrating their skills does for them. And then when you finish, if they haven’t gotten the next step of a new pattern after a few tries, go back to something they know and can succeed with and reward them. If it’s fun and play, you don’t need as much bacon.


    Briana Reply:

    Ever try BAKING bacon instead?


    Minette Reply:

    remember never for your dog, but yes, baking is superior to any other cooking method I have found


  10. Ellen King says:

    I think that you missed the “attention drive” – probably because of your own basic attention giving drive
    Nevertheless, most dogs have a strong drive for attention – as do most people.
    In the dogs’ case it’s look at me, notice me, play with me, pet me, join me, etc. It is a very strong motivator!


    Minette Reply:

    This is not a natural drive needed in wild dogs, we can teach them it is important but it is not an inherent drive


  11. Beca says:

    I had hoped that you would have addressed the issue of whether pork is dangerous for dogs. I have had 2 vets caution against EVER giving dogs pork, as it can cause pancreatitis. It may not happen the first or twentieth time, but like an allergic reaction, can happen the next time. My dogs don’t get pork, ever.


    Minette Reply:

    I did I said don’t do it ever, just used bacon as the header for the article because most people like it


  12. Jerica says:

    I have a treat driven dog. Just mention the word and all four paws do a lift off. Boing, boing, boing! But I give my dog dental treats. I cut them in small pieces, or I give him a buffalo bully stick. His teeth are perfectly white, and his breath is great, and no plaque. If you are going to give him a treat why not give one that helps his health?

    My dog will come to me, paw at me and whine. Then I know HE wants to run through his 14 different “tricks” for his treats.


  13. Leora says:

    You say no bacon but what about turkey bacon?


    Minette Reply:

    Still too high in salt and fat and turkey is debated about being toxic for dogs


  14. Donna Marie says:

    I agree with Ellen – my dog does absolutely anything I ask her to – and all for attention – she is not interested in food like most dogs – will not chase the ball or play (sadly for me) she is 100% interested in me telling her good girl – a pat on the head – a good belly rub – and eye contact is key – each dog is different and this one is just a gem ♥ I am assuming her past homes , one a junk yard where she was the submissive dog and the other the shelter just left her wanting attention. She gets it with me for sure as I have her certified now as a therapy dog and we go to visit assisted living homes for elders and we have a reading program at the local library – she gets attention all day she is the star ♥


  15. Emma says:

    Is it okay if I give my dog carrots,apples, popcorn(no salt or butter), chicken, turkey, some berries, and cheese for training treats? I asked this because I don’t think that store bought treats are healthy and I think they can be kinda bad for dogs?


    Minette Reply:

    Remember carrots and apples have high sugar, popcorn plain air popped is fine, chicken is good boiled, there has been debate over turkey so I’d skip it, and I do use cheese in moderation


    Emma Reply:

    Thank you for the answers a lot. Also would some kinds of veggies work, and if they do what kind? Thanks!

    P.S am I bugging you with these questions? Sorry if I am!


    Minette Reply:

    carrots are fine, but high in sugar… so they aren’t as “diet” as most people think.

    Green beans fresh or frozen provide good fiber and filling feeling but they aren’t as tasty.

    Avoid broccoli because it changes the PH of the urine and can cause bladder stones in some dogs.

  16. Becky says:

    Decoy is allergic to everything. So we have a “scooby snack” jar in the kitchen filled with his dog food that is for treats. He will do anything for a “scooby snack” even let us clip his nails and clean ears….and he will gladly show you where it is as soon as we are done with what ever “chore” he needs to preform with a happy wagging tail and jumping front feet.


  17. irene taylor says:

    i try to give my dog treats that are good for her, here in australia we have small bits of liver treats. when she smells them she goes through all her tricks. i just stand back an laugh as it looks so funny. thank you for all those emails i really look forward to receiving them.


  18. Minette says:

    It is not an inherent drive. You can and should use it and you can use it to your benefit if you pair it with food; however most dogs will not work (real work and learn new skills) only for praise


  19. Minette says:

    Certainly and I would keep them on leash if they are not listening. The last thing you need is them to know that chasing deer is super fun.

    Read this and then have someone in the family drive you to different places to train under different distractions.

    I like outside a dog park


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