We may not all be able to call ourselves ‘dog whisperers’, but there area number of basic pet psychology signals and behaviours that we can all look out for when approaching a dog; whether that animal is unknown to us, or even if it’s a pet dog who we feel may be giving us confusing body language signals.
Some very basic doggy facts:
- Dogs are born into this world with a fantastic ability to sniff the environment around them, and their sense of smell is among the most powerful in the animal kingdom. They also use their ears and eyesto monitor the world around them, but it is their noses that are most precious to them. The words that you use when communicating with a dog are not so important, since the animal will be sensing your energy and paying most attention to smelling your scent.Scent is used by dogs to communicate with one another all the time, along with body language and energy. Dogs are clever at reading signals of both other dogs and animals, and of humans, too, and you will find it very difficult to lie to a dog, since they’ll still be able to read and smell your true intent and feelings!
- Ingrained within dogs from the minute they are born, is a pack mentality, meaning that they will always look for a leader, or become one themselves. If you, as a pet owner, don’t assert leadership over your dog, they will soon begin to try compensating for this in the form of dominant or unruly behaviour.Dogs really are just dogs, and they will never have the capacity (or desire) to think like we do, therefore they really are at their happiest when they’re behaving like a dog should. It’s often just our desire to think of them as having feelings like humans, that encourages us to view them in this way, but it’s not healthy for your pet and you’ll find that they thrive under good, sound leadership.
Disciplining your pet to achieve good behavioural traits:
- Try to assert some house rules and boundaries for your pet as soon as they move into your home, and then ensure that every human member of your household is aware of them and will follow them, too.
- Be as clear as possible with your rules and boundaries, and be as consistent as you can with them, too. Trying to enforce these is always best done when you are in a positive frame of mind, and not feeling irritable, frustrated or tired.
- Never shout at your pet when they appear to be disobeying your rules, and never hit them, or even threaten to do so, since this will only ever have a detrimental effect upon them.
- Reinforcing a fearful or aggressive state of mind in your pet, is never healthy, and you should never encourage it, either.
Some healthy, normal doggy traits to look out for:
When your pet is active, alert, playful and is responsive to commands and signals, this is when you can be sure that they are healthy and happy. Being sociable with other dogs and people and a willingness to explore is also a sure sign that your pet is in a good condition. If your pet is also a little cautious and wary of strangers, that may also be normal behaviour, provided they are not overly aggressive in nature at these times. Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to your pets’ behaviour, and of course if they are affectionate and responsive to food, then these are all positive traits, too.
Some potential doggy issues:
If your pet dog is often hyperactive and jumps on people or is disobedient of your rules and signals, then this may be cause for concern. If they also display signs of being extremely fearful of people that they don’t know or other animals, then these may be signs of a psychologically disturbed dog, and you may want to seek help from a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. Being overly aggressive, possessive of toys and food items or shrinking from human touch, are also indicators that all may not be well with your pet.
All pet dogs require a good and healthy balance of affection, attention and discipline for them to feel secure and safe, and if this is not given, then you will almost certainly end up with a dog that is not psychologically sound.