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Dog Psychology

I love watching the "Dog Whisper", with Cesar Milan and picked up the importance of Dog Psychology from him. This is another section I intend to expand on overtime as I find dog psychology fascinating and I think its important more people understand the basics so they can build better bonds with there dogs.

Understanding just a little your dog’s pschology and how there mind work will help in your day to day communication with your dog, as well as prevent possible problems and maybe fix others. Below I've outlined some basic points.

Dogs are not human.
Dogs are not human and therefore do not think or act like humans. Where relevant on other sections of the site, in particular the training section I point out aspects where behaviour should be different from the human in the way they are treating there dog, so that the dog gets the correct message.

Dogs live in the Now
Dogs don’t live in the past or think about the future. This is quite often a problem with rescue dogs. Owners bring them home, have maybe heard stories about the dogs past and feel sorry for it and shower it with sympathy.

Another common situation is when a dog has had an accident, operation or illness, again being showered in sympathy long after the dog has recovered. These types of situations can lead to all sorts of bad behaviour related problems.

Dogs are pack animals.
Dogs like there wolf decendants are pack animals. Living in our world with us humans they still have the pack mentality with us as part of the pack heirchary. If they do not have a leader of the pack then they will become the leader. If the dog is the leader of you or your household this too can be the root cause of a number of varying problems.

Pack leaders do not approach pack followers, they wait for other members of the pack to come to them.

Dogs Need Leadership not Sympathy
All kinds of problems can be created by the way many humans treat dogs in certain situations. One of the key things to remember is that dogs need leadership and not sympathy.

A prime example of of this would be a dog startled by the sound of a loud bang or firework. In the wild other dogs and certainly the pack leader would ignore the sound if it doesn't flee). However as humans we see the dog scared and rush over to shower with sympathy, “don’t worry, come here, cuddle etc etc ”. This is a huge mistake and all it is doing is re-enforcing to the dog that the noise was something worthy of being scared of.

Another example would be rewarding bad or unwanted behaviour in a similar way, not necessarily by doing anything wrong, but by the dog having a slight accident or mishap, e.g slipping on a floor, and the human showering the dog with worry and possibly creating the dog a kind of phobia of the event so the dog will react in a similar way on impulse in the future. Whereas if the human had remained calm and simply checked the dog was okay and then moved on the dog would do the same.

The senses
Cesar Milan highlights the importance of this in his methods.
Dogs experience there lives through there senses in a totally different way to us humans. They are in this order:

A dog pretty much lives its life through its amazing sense of smell. From the moment they are born and the smell of there mothers saliva leading them to her teats. The live there life through smell like we live our lives through sight.

Dogs communicate or meet each other by smell first and then eye contact.

The order of the senses is important because it highlights that how most people communicate with dogs is the wrong way round. Most people communicate verbally (sound) and then sight and virtually not using scent at all.



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