Jumping on guests, barking inside the house, chasing cyclists, digging in the garden, eating garbage – these are all examples of unacceptable behavior when it is just the very nature of a dog. It is important to understand these characteristics and train your pet to be well-mannered and well-behaved.
When dogs were domesticated 14,000 years ago, they were bred as working and sporting animals to help hunt game, herd cattle, and guard homes against intruders. In recent decades, an increasingly social role of dogs has emerged. Nowadays, dogs are treated more like a member of the family and people hold higher expectations for them. They expect their pets to be friendly to everyone, be loyal companions in their daily lives, and be able to remain home alone for several hours. These are all unrealistic expectations given the nature of dogs which is why many breeds are deemed problematic when in fact, dogs are just acting according to their natural instincts.
First thing to understand is that dogs are territorial animals who definitely do not like sharing their territory with unfamiliar people and other animals. Their heightened sense of smell allows them to catch traces of others. Yet they are rarely able to satisfy their curiosity because they are always on a leash and cannot explore freely.
One trait in particular is a primal instinct of any animal. Male dogs often display aggressive behavior when they become frustrated in the presence of female dogs in heat. Although this is natural behavior, most pet owners believe neutering male dogs can improve their behavior to make a better pet.
Another example of normal canine behavior is the dog’s predatory instincts and their protective need to defend its home from intruders. Yet we want our dogs to keep from chasing cats and be friendly towards our people who are invited into our home. We also punish dogs for eating out of the garbage when their wolf ancestors were scavengers that only approached human settlements to salvage for food.
Interactions with other dogs may also bring some problems. During walks, we want peaceful and friendly encounters with other dogs and pull them away when there is any sign of aggressive behavior. However, some dogs communicate in ways that humans consider aggressive. You can socialize your dog at a young age so he has experience with other people and other dogs.
Some dogs’ instinctual behavior is completely frowned upon or even prohibited in our society. Whether it is Dachshunds digging up gardens or Greyhounds hunting game; it is just a part of what defines them as a breed. However, dogs can be trained to avert these instincts. Although inhibited, these traits may still appear as some Border Collies and German Shepherds enjoy “herding” family members and won’t stop running around until they are all in the same room.
All of the behavior summarized are completely natural for our dogs and only inappropriate because of the modern living conditions that we have provided for our pets. It is important for humans to understand what is normal behavior and what can be potentially dangerous. There are ways to let dogs express their nature in a way that is acceptable to us. Keeping an active lifestyle is usually a good solution. Active breeds enjoy jogging, agility sports, flyball, or Frisbee. Huskies or Malamutes would love more extreme sports like cross country running, skijoring (pulling a skier), bikejoring (pulling a bicyclist) or sled racing. When choosing a particular sport, always consider the age and heath conditions of your pet.
It is very important to train your dog by teaching him alternative behavior that could substitute his instinctive reactions. There are many books and magazines that offer tips on how to teach your dog. For example, dogs should learn to sit and stay quietly instead of jumping on guests. You can learn how to teach your dog basic commands and condition the learning with treats. However, you may consider enrolling in classes for both you and your dog to work with an experienced dog trainer. If possible, training should begin as early as possible as puppies respond well to training. You can also start with an adult dog. It is never too late to help your pet feel comfortable in their new environment.
About Monika Walicka
The author recommends the website of PennySaverUSA.com as a source of classifieds with dogs for sale