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A dog's behavior comes from its ancestor, the wolf. Understand this and you'll understand the motivation for a lot of your pet's behavior in training him as well as on a day to day basis.
The modern day dog still carries many of their original behavioral drives for hunting, territory, and pack status from wolves. But time has modified the dog as he has been domesticated. Nowadays, domesticated dogs rely largely on humans for food, shelter, and leadership. The need to hunt may be replaced by playtime - chasing down the tennis ball or the backyard squirrel.
When training, establish yourself your dog's pack leader and he'll look to you for guidance and accepted behaviors.