Dog vs Human Psychology
Learning about Dog Psychology is the first step in becoming the dog owner your dog dreams of. Dogs are not people! They have their own way of interacting with the world. Humans and dogs speak different languages. People are extremely verbal, while dogs are extremely non-verbal. Canine communication consists of eye-contact, body language, and reading energy. Your dog gauges your interactions and feelings to make a determination about your role in the family. Are you a sibling, playmate or parent? Humans gained language ages ago and as a result our instincts have become very dull. What instincts we have are mostly within our subconscious. We feel things quietly, intuitively and try to explain it in words.
Human beings differ from other animals in an important way. If, in a litter of puppies, one is not very strong and is not doing well, the mother will push it aside and ignore it. Weak squirrel in the nest? Out. Weak baby bird? Out. Regardless of the animal they will not foster weakness. It goes against their DNA. There is nothing wrong with this behaviour. It is just what it means to be a canine.
Humans however, will find that weak little pup and be sure to nurse it. If we find the squirrel or bird on the sidewalk, we will be nearby with the eye dropper and heating pad to rescue it. This is what makes us human, and we are the only species that behaves this way. We think about differences; dogs cannot. They can’t become people, but you can learn to be a bit of a dog.
Applying Dog Psychology
The most important law when trying to understand animals, especially canines, is that they love to follow strong and confident personalities. They do not follow marshmallows or super softies, and they do not follow anything that is interpreted as weak or unstable. Feeling anxious because your dog is misbehaving, or sorry for him, or even guilty are emotions that are interpreted differently by animals than by people. For most people, this can be a difficult concept to grasp at first. Once you begin to see and understand this it all becomes very clear.
So, you must be strong and confident in order to be an effective pack leader to a dog. Your dog needs to know that you know how to lead him. He must know that you are confident in your decisions and that you are a true leader. Someone must make the decisions and it should not be the one with four legs. Your dog needs for you to learn to be a “loving, benevolent dictator,” just like a parent to a child. Sensitive and nervous dogs absolutely require you take over for them; you will build an enormous amount of trust with your dog.
You should never be harsh, however you should be firm. Once you decide that your dog is going to partake in some activity, be sure to follow through. However, you must first understand exactly what it is that you want to teach your dog and the order in which it must be performed to be successful. You cannot teach what you do not understand properly.
Three pillars that are fundamental to success:
- Patience You must sometimes wait for the dog to learn or unlearn. Don’t become frustrated.
- Persistence You must be willingtonever accept no as an option.Be calm but firm and always follow through.
- Consistence All members of the family must maintain the same rules and rituals that you have agreed upon in order to provide security and stability to your dog.
US Dog Psychology 101
Read: “Dog Psychology”
“Becoming the Pack Leader”
“ Dog Calming signals”