Monday, June 15, 2009
Common Dog Behavior Explained
Communication begins with understanding. If you want to build a better relationship with your dog, you can start by working to understand the meaning and causes behind some of her most common behaviors.
Cesar Millan explains the basics well:
Panting - Because dogs sweat through the pads on their feet, most of their body heat is expelled through their mouth when they pant. It's their primary means of regulating body temperature.
Barking - In nature, dogs bark to raise an alarm at the first signs of possible danger or to herald a new arrival. Barking is an important means of canine communication.
Digging - Digging is an instinctual activity, written deep in a dog's DNA. It is especially strong in terrier breeds. Dogs in natural packs will dig to hide food or to uncover food such as small rodents. A den dug in the cool earth can also provide shelter from the heat.
Jumping up - Though it may seem like play behavior, or an enthusiastic greeting, jumping up is a sign that your dog is attempting to assert her dominance over you. By encouraging jumping up with affection, you are reinforcing the behavior.
Separation anxiety - Dogs live and travel in packs, so it's natural for them to feel anxious when they are separated from their pack-mates. Try taking your dog on a nice, long walk before leaving her alone in the house. Leaving her in resting mode can calm her anxiety.
Once you understand these behaviors, you'll be better equipped to recognize when your pack's needs are not being met! When your dog's needs go unfulfilled, unwanted behaviors begin to emerge. Consider: are you giving Exercise, Discipline, then Affection?