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What is Dog Psychology?

Dog psychology tries to understand dog behaviour from the dogs’ perspective rather than from a human perspective. Dogs are pack animals and need a pack hierarchy with rules and boundaries in order to survive. The strongest drive in any dog is the please the pack leader. Being able to show your dog what pleases and displeases you, his pack leader, is what dog psychology, and dog training, is all about.

If you want to train your dog to get rid of undesirable behavioural problems, or to perform obedience commands, having an understanding of how dogs think, learn, and their intrinsic traits is a good idea.

Learning the basics of dog psychology will help you to understand things from the dogs’ point of view. All too often we humanise our dogs and expect them understand and follow our language. The term ‘Anthropomorphism’ or personification is used whereby we humans apply our human characteristics to our dogs.

Wikipedia defines Anthropomorphism as:

Anthropomorphism, or personification, is attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being.

In other words, we apply our human characteristics to our dogs as if they were humans. We must understand that dogs are animals and have different needs and ways of communicating to us. Undeniably, dogs are not human. They do not learn in the same way that we learn, do they think in exactly the same way as we think. Dogs think more visually than humans. Dogs most commonly learn about each other and about us through visual and scent cues. In particular, they watch body language and smell butts for information. Sometimes, they also use verbal communication, but much less so than we do. For example, dogs generally pick up hand signals a lot faster than they do verbal commands.

Just as dogs are not human, we are not dogs. We should not pretend to be one by growling at them to show dominance or disapproval. Sure there is a bit of surface logic to growling, that is the way their mothers and other dogs would put them in their place. Growling in a sign of aggression, if you growl at your dog to put him in his place and show disapproval you are using dominance aggression. This does not teach the dog aggression is wrong and can even make a dog more aggressive. If dominance aggression is the norm, if the dog feels he needs to show dominance or disapproval he may do so in an aggressive way.

Dogs are not stupid they can clearly see that we are not dogs. They are also very good at observing human behaviour and human gestures. They can hear the difference in words we say like “Sit” and “Stay”, so we can condition responses to those different sounds. Dogs understand tones of voice faster and more readily than words themselves. We can say the exact same words in different tones and have completely different meanings. If we say, “That’s a good dog”, in a high pitched friendly tone the dog will like it. If we yell, “That’s a good dog”, in a loud mean tone the dog will not like it. Using tones of voice and hand signals plays a big part in dog psychology and dog training.

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This post first appeared on DOG TRAINING BY PROFESSIONAL DOG TRAINER:- WESLEY, please read the originial post: here

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What is Dog Psychology?


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