Mysteries of Dog Behavior Revealed: Handling Common Situations Correctly

Dogs don’t think like humans, they think like dogs. This should seem obvious, but nearly every single pet owner has made this mistake at least once before, and most still do. Dogs don’t think like humans because they are not humans.

Do Dogs Hold a Grudge?

Who hasn’t heard the ever popular phrase ‘I have to kennel my dog at night because he leaves a mess to get back at me’? Or maybe the ever popular ‘He scratched up my door because he is mad I left!’

Dogs don’t ‘hold a grudge’ in that sense, and they don’t act out of spite. Your dog goes to the bathroom because he either wasn’t let out or needs a potty training update. In the case of the crate, most dogs won’t eliminate in confined spaces like where they sleep unless they absolutely have to.

For those that came home to find their front door scratched up or blankets torn to shreds: Your pup was most likely anxious, bored or fearful because you left him alone; not angry with you. Can you really be angry with him because he was scared and worried?

  • If your correcting this behavior with almost any form of punishment, like the majority of pet owners might do, only enhances the problem.
  • Your pup isn’t going to remember eliminating three hours ago, and have no clue why he is being punished for it.
  • Punishing your pup for a mess caused out of anxiety will only serve to increase that anxiety. Again, your dog isn’t going to remember actions taken hours ago; he’s going to think something outside made you upset, and worry all the more next time you leave.

Yes, Your Furry Friend Talks to You!

Ok, maybe not in the literal sense. On the other hand, dogs are communicating every single waking second of every day! Dogs can actually convey full sentences in the blink of an eye, where it might take some people hours.

Aside from the vocal barks, whines, and sometimes howls, both dogs and Canines in general use a diverse set of instinctual visual cues to communicate at any given time!

  • Tail position
  • Ears (flat or raised)
  • Eye contact
  • Body Posture (upright, forward, slouched, etc.)
  • Muzzle (Lips curled back?)
  • Fur (‘hackles’)

Calm Down, Fido!

You’ve probably seen your pup greet visitors with boisterous abandon, barking wildly like the earth would end if they dared violate your home! How did you handle it?

Most people have seen owners shout at their dogs, even if they don’t themselves. That probably isn’t going to have the intended result, actually increasing their pet’s anxiety. The dog might just think the ‘invader’ is upsetting his owner, rather than his own barking. Often being the case, said dog will just go on reacting the exact same way for many years to come.

The Right Way to Handle Visitors

Ignore your dog’s barking (ignore him completely). Greet this newcomer calmly, like you are in complete control and nothing is out of the ordinary at all. Show your pooch that you have the situation well in hand, rather than shout wildly like an invader is about to kill you all (how your dog views the situation, being a dog)! Teach your dog what is expected of them whenever we are observing any undesired behavior.

 

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