Dog Psychology: Understanding Man’s Best Friend

dog psychology - bulldog standing looking at another laying on aMan can really love his dog.  In fact, you love your dog so much that you treat him or her like a person more than an animal. So is what you do for them really what they want, or are they just happy regardless? To know if what you are doing really makes them happy, you need to delve into the world of dog psychology. Learning what your dog loves is key to the training process. You can learn how to teach your dog to listen to you and the psychology behind your dog’s actions from this dog training course. It is important to build a strong relationship with your pups in which they respect you not because they have to, but because they trust you and want to listen. Many people tend to treat dogs poorly because the dogs constantly show their unbridled love on the outside. Purely dominated by their love of play and duty to protect, dogs are often misunderstood.

Dog psychology tries to understand bad behavior from the perspective of the dog, not the owner. Many people tend to humanize their companion resulting in poor communication and behavioral issues. Owners must not interpret a dog’s happiness as being as a result of something that generally makes humans happy. Smelling garbage, for example, is an overwhelmingly powerful experience that dogs enjoy, while people generally punish pups for this behavior. It is exploration of scents, which their nose picks up, being hundreds of times more sensitive than our own. Psychological responses like separation anxiety can trigger bad behavior like pooping on carpets or digging into the furniture. A dog does not perceive time as humans do, nor do they understand that humans go away at times only to come back later. Most dogs, unless exposed to these scheduled behaviors, assume that when you leave the home, you will never come back. Their sadness at you departure seems a little more understandable now doesn’t it?

Dog Training vs Dog Psychology

While people argue that these two things are very different, they are actually co-dependent. Dog training depends on the dog’s psychological health and dog psychology is affected directly by their training. This all depends on behavioral conditioning. Behavioral conditioning actually uses both reward and punishment training, known as averse. In its simplest form, behavioral conditioning says that to modify a dog’s behavior, we can either add or take away a reward stimulus (positive reinforcement, negative punishment); or we can add or take away an averse stimulus (positive punishment, negative reinforcement). Popular dog trainer, Cesar Milan, uses techniques to train owners how to train their dogs. Most of the time the problem dogs have stems from the problems in how they are nurtured and raised not on the dog or his psychology. One of Cesar’s most important tactic is teaching owner how to walk their dogs on a leash without them having to worry about the dog running wild or being distracted. Online courses are also available for teaching your dog polite leash walking for dogs and their owners. This course will help you and your loved one go on more walks together without having to worry or dress your pup in a muzzle.

There is a theory that dogs, being pack creatures become a part of your family pack when they join your household. In the wild the alpha male and female get all of the best sleeping spaces, walk in front, and eat first as per pack rules. Translating this into the home will cause your dog to show deference to you and your house rules. Not allowing them onto beds or couches, eating before you feed them, and walking out in front will reinforce your position as pack leader. This wolf pack theory also encourages physical domination to keep your dog in line, but recent studies have proven this to be false. Leadership roles are more dynamic and complex in wolf packs usually dominated with resource control over physical control. Since you feed your dog and provide the places for your dog to sleep, the dog shows you deference.

Your mentality and poise also determines your dog’s psychological feelings towards you. Dogs know they are dogs and that we are humans. Humans seem to confuse this more than dogs. They do not expect to be treated like humans just as much as they do not expect you to behave like a dog. In the wild amongst dogs, your dog would care for you to keep you alive, but that is not where you live. You are in a complex human world where you must teach them the rules of this world and keep them healthy and safe. In return, you will get absolute trust and loyalty.

On to more of the fun parts of dog psychology; learning tricks. Tricks can be learned in various ways from courses Hinkler Books Dog Tricks or Treatpouch tricks for your pooch and also from private instructors giving classes in pet shops or at your home. However you go about teaching your companion tricks, you can rest easy knowing that while you teach these tricks, regardless of their success, the quality time spent with man or woman’s best friend is much appreciated and is often expressed through licks or furiously wagging tails. Next time your pup is making a sad or longing face, do not assume they are depressed or lonely, sometimes they are just bored and tired. Playing with your dog often and talking clearly to them will help them to understand your emotions better. People can barely understand each other so do not anger if your training is not immediately successful. A fun trick you can do to confuse your hairy friend is to cover your eyes with a paper or your hand when they are trying to get your attention. Dogs look into the eyes of humans as a way of reading their emotions and when they cannot see the eyes they quickly become discouraged and find something else to do. To conclude I will leave you with a few activities you can do with your buddy that will foster positive psychological growth.

  • Play catch – physical exercise and coordination are both very helpful for healthy dogs.
  • Go for walks – Dogs love to explore and love it even more with the companionship of their best friend.
  • Go on a car ride with the windows cracked – Do not roll the windows dangerously low. Though most dogs are prudent enough not to jump out of the window of a moving car, there are times such as stoplights and signs that may prove to tempting. The wind and freedom is enjoyable for them.
  • Brush his or her hair – Especially pleasant for long-haired dogs, grooming does wonders for their coats and softens their fur.
  • Go to the beach – The beach is a great place for the pup to jump into the ocean and swim around as well as a great spot for Frisbee or a good run.
  • Go to a dog park – Social interactions are just as important for a healthy psyche for dogs as it is for humans. Dogs that play well with others show strong secure attachment and are the best friends a humble human can ask for.

Keep yourself happy and your dog will stay happy. Keep your dog healthy and their companionship will help you live longer. More exercise and less loneliness is a great concoction for a longer, happier life!