Dog Behavior

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Introduction to Dog Behavior

 

An important part of dog training requires that you understand dog behavior. Dogs do not understand the human world and rely on us to teach them about it. Although you can teach a dog about the human environment, you cannot teach a dog to think like a human and you cannot attribute human emotions to a dog. Dogs will always think like a dog.

Dogs have been Man’s faithful companions for thousands of years. Historians have determined that wolves were domesticated as far back as the time of the cavemen. However, even though dogs have been with man for so long, it is important to realize that dogs are not humans and cannot be treated as such. In order to properly co-exist and to make training easier, you need to be able to think like your dog. This section of the website will help you do just that.

 


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Your Dog is a Mutant Wolf

Domestic dogs are descended from the Grey Wolf. While Man’s best friend is a tamer, gentler, domesticated version of their wild cousins, dogs still maintain many behavior characteristics of the wolves they are descended from. In fact, dogs and wolves are separated by a mere 1% difference in their DNA. Hard to believe, but that little Chihuahua or adorable Cocker Spaniel is 99% wolf and that 1% difference makes such a huge difference between the two. Nevertheless, the way dogs behave is innate and understanding where Fido comes from and how he thinks will better equip you to train and manage your dog.

Note, that while dogs are our faithful companions, they are not human or children or babies. Do not treat them as such. Dogs have very specific needs that if left unfulfilled, will result in a badly behaved dog that is hard to manage and hard to live with. A well trained, properly socialized dog with its needs fulfilled is an amazing companion. A poorly trained, unfulfilled dog is a nightmare.

 

Dogs are Pack Animals

Wolves in the wild live in packs – a group of other wolves. The pack does everything together. In a dog’s mind, he lives in a pack too. Dogs are social creatures and in the wild live with other dogs. In a domestic situation, you and your family along with any other pets, are the dog’s pack. A dog’s normal expectation is that he is always with his pack. In the human world, it is not practical for your dog to be with you constantly and he needs to adjust to a different way of thinking – that sometimes he will be left on his own. But you need to remember that his natural tendency is to want to be with his pack.

 

There is a Hierarchy in the Pack

All packs have an alpha dog – the pack leader. The pack leader directs the behavior of the rest of the pack. You will need to be the alpha dog in your dog’s mind. You will need to provide strong leadership and guidance for your dog, particularly if he has alpha tendencies.

 

Dogs are Social Creatures

Dogs are social animals, which is why they have been able to be domesticated by humans. Their social nature is what allowed man to successfully make them into companions. Dogs are naturally loyal and they want to be around humans and other dogs. A dog that is constantly cooped up in a house by himself and that does not get to interact with other humans and dogs, is a very, very unhappy dog. The same is true for a dog who is banished to the outdoors by himself all day long. Your dog wants to be with you as much as possible.

 

Dogs are Scavengers and Wanderers

Dogs are natural walkers, exploring their territory. In the wild, dogs cover vast amounts of territory in search of food. This is why walks are so important. Proper pack walks not only provide exercise for your dog, but also to clear the mind.
 

Read on >> Inside the Mind of a Dog