How well do you know your dog?
Your adorable little dog has started barking at the back door. Does he need to go out to do his business, or does he want to go bark at a raccoon? How well do you really know your dog? Dogs cannot talk, so this can be difficult. If you take the time to listen and watch, you will find that your dog can communicate, and can communicate clearly. It simply takes a little practice to get to know your dog, and a little dog obedience training never hurt either.
The first step towards getting to know your dog is paying attention. You will quickly learn your pup's quirks if you take your eyes off of the TV or computer screen long enough to interact with your pet. Unfortunately, many pet owners are quick to buy a dog, even though they do not have the time or attention to spend with their new pet.
Think Like a Pack
You think of your dog as a member of your family. Your dog, on the other hand, thinks of your family as a pack. In a pack, one dog is the dominant dog. You need to be the dominant member of your pack. Here are some ways to do this:
- Never move for your dog, but always have the dog move for you
- Eat before your dog eats
- Maintain eye contact with your dog
- Walk through doors before your dog
- Have the dog sleep in his own bed
By following these suggestions, you can establish yourself as the dominant pack member and avoid expensive dog training in the future. If you are going to control your dog and have his devotion throughout your relationship, this is essential.
Use Eye Contact
While dogs do use vocalization to communicate via whines and barks, the majority of the communication that goes on between canines is nonverbal, and eye contact is a huge part of this. A dog that will not break eye contact is trying to be the dominant pack member. Always maintain eye contact until your dog breaks it. Also, if your dog refuses to look at you when called, you do not have dominance over your pet.
One of the most important ways you can get to know your dog is recognizing when your dog is afraid. After all, you need to be able to calm your dog's fears before he does something drastic. Remember, a dog that is afraid can lash out at those around him. Here are some signs of fear in dogs:
- Ears lay flat or back against the head
- Head held down
- Tail between the legs
- Tense, trembling body
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Panting, yawning, or drooling
If you notice your dog acting afraid, try to remove him from the situation and assess what may be causing his fear.
Your goal as a pet owner is to make your pet as comfortable and happy as possible. How can you know that you accomplished this? Sure, your dog may be quiet and obedient, but is she truly happy? Here are some signs that a dog is happy, content, and well adjusted:
- Friendly with most people
- Easily handled
- Will give up a toy
- Wags tail when approached or spoken to
- Ears and eyes alert
- Wants to play
Of course, some of these signs will diminish as your dog ages, but by that time you will know your dog well enough to know whether or not she is happy. By establishing dominance and then meeting your dog's needs, you can keep your dog happy and content. Soon the two of you will be best friends, provided you take the time to really get to know your dog.