Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sometimes You Need to Think Like a Dog

Dogs have certain ways of doing things and many times it is quite different than the ways of their human companions. Guided by inbred instincts from long ago ancestors, a dog's behavior and reactions are often based on a hierarchy system.  Because of this your dog will either lead or be lead, based on clues, often unspoken, from their humans.

To communicate best with your pup, sometimes you need to think like a dog.  This means you need to consistently take the leadership role to keep your position as "top dog".  As a human, the "dogie class system" may appear cruel or unnecessary, but you need to stop and look at things from your dog's point of view.

Top and foremost, based on instinct, your dog's number one priority is survival. Ingrained into them from long ago when they lived in the wild - to be strong was to survive. The strongest dogs lead the pack and ate the best food. Although things have changed a dog's thinking has not. Do you feed your dog the same time you eat? If so, to keep yourself in the leadership role it is important that you sit down to your meal first, then allow your dog to join you.

When you walk out the door with your dog who goes first? Although it may be easiest if your dog steps out first, what message is this sending.  In the canine world, the leader goes first. With one small gesture you are communicating that you are second in command and the result will probably be that your dog will pull on the leash to to tell you which way to walk.  After all, they walked outside first and therefore they are the leader, right? That's the way it is if you think like a dog.

If there is an incident or accident, and you think your dog may be injured, be sure to thoroughly examine your pup.  Outwardly, if your dog is not complaining, limping, or otherwise noticeably hurt you way want to assume all is well.  However, remember that in the canine world the strongest survives. A dog will do their best to cover up any injury to prevent themselves from appearing weak. Again, this goes back to their ancestors and the inbred instinct to be strong or be left behind.

Viewing things from a dogs perspective will help you to better understand your furry friend. Until we can teach dogs to think like humans, for best communication, we often have to think like a dog.

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