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Phu Quoc (and other “primitive” breeds) behavior and personality

Phu Quoc dogs communicate A LOT

To be clear, what is meant by “primitive dog” is a breed of dog whose ancestral primitive nature is still intact. These dogs weave through the traditional breed groups making a pretty tapestry of shapes, sizes, and histories. But when you break them all down, a similar independent, sensitive, wise old soul is back there, ready to tell you that they know better.

Life with primitive dogs is a little different than life with other breeds. Sure, they are all dogs. But life with primitive dogs isn’t an owner/pet relationship, it’s more like a roommate agreement.
They have their particular wants and needs and if you fail to understand them and find a way to manage them, you will most likely end up with a huge problem on your hands.

“You don’t train a primitive dog, you come to an understanding”.

These dogs often gets labeled as “untrainable”, “willful”, “stubborn”, or “dominant”. Nothing could be further from the truth, these labels only come out when a trainer or owner is butting heads with these dogs and their truly honest temperaments.
They are utterly consistent and expect the same from you. They are strong communicators who will use a wide range of signals to express themselves. Trainers and owners who ignore them, many times end up on the frustrated end of the leash, or worse.

Primitive dogs are NOT a greater bite risk or more aggressive than other breeds. However, their tolerance for rude handling, compulsive training, and rude interactions with other dogs, is significantly less than other breeds bred to be more tolerant.

Phu Quoc Dogs in particular, but many of the “primitive breeds”, does not tolerate harsh treatment.

Any harsh treatment, even once, can damage the dog’s psyche significantly, you may never be able to reverse the effect.

Phu Quoc Service DogRemember, these dogs had a purpose to either hunt and kills other animals, guard property, pull, or herd. When not in use, these dogs were left to their own devices. They have an innate knowledge of what they want to be happy and usually a good chunk of that is to be left alone.
They are also highly sensitive dogs and become intolerant of discomfort quickly. Enough repetitions of this and they will become unwilling to cooperate and eventually circle through the options at its disposal, including aggressive behaviour.

Today there is a growing population that enjoys breeds with these independent natures and it is becoming more and more important that owners and trainers become familiar with how to be successful working with these kinds of dogs.
All to often, statements like ‘previous trainers hated primitive dogs, that they all are highly aggressive, or if it didn’t respond to compulsion based training, it couldn’t be trained’. This is of course wrong, but many “beginner” owners does not know that. This, unfortunately often leads to “primitive” dogs getting dumped in shelters or left to an existence locked in a garage or outside kennel.

It is the responsibility of modern progressive dog trainers to embrace the growing interest in these dogs and better understand their behavioral workings, motivations, and needs. Once these are met, owning, managing, and training these dogs is a breeze and very enjoyable.

2 thoughts on “Phu Quoc (and other “primitive” breeds) behavior and personality

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  2. Hello.. I’m Brazilian, and I tink such dogs quite interesting, I’ve came with little info on ‘em, sadly I don’t understand Vietnamese. only Portuguese and English, as well as some Spanish. I wanna found a kennel of ‘em in my country, possibly around 2024-28.. how do two females costs?
    Looking forward.

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