Psychology of the Dog
We as humans tend to humanize our pets. We love them as if they were family, because in fact, they are. However, dogs are not human, and they do not think in human terms. As such, we can not interact with them as if they were human. Dogs do not posses the ability to comprehend the intricate subtleties of human interaction. If you do not clearly establish yourself as the leader, they will revert back to their animalistic ways.
It is our responsibility to teach them how to conduct themselves in the world we have chosen to share with them. We must not forget that we have domesticated this animal to suit our own personal needs. The definition of domesticate is to; “tame a wild animal over generations of breeding to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses its ability to survive in the wild.”
Having successfully accomplished this objective, and further, having made a conscious decision to bring a dog into our homes and make it a part of the family, it becomes our responsibility to adequately provide for the care and well-being of our pets. Moreover, we have a responsibility to our neighbors, the community and to society in general in regards to how we allow our dogs to behave.
Dogs, like humans, have unique personalities and behaviors specific to each individual dog. Regardless of breed, no two dogs are exactly alike. However, one thing is certain…if left to their own devices, without competent leadership from us humans, any dog will revert back to its inherent wild nature. For this reason, it is incumbent upon us to maintain control over our dogs at all times. Whether in the home, in the yard, or at the park. The responsibility is ours and ours alone.
Too often we fail to consider how the handling(or mishandling) of our dog can impact the lives of those around us. For instance, if your fenced dog goes crazy every time someone walks past the yard, is that harmless? The truth of the matter is that it’s not. To begin, we need to consider the nuisance factor. Why should anyone be subjected to a verbal thrashing for simply walking down the street? Perhaps it’s the neighbor kid walking the new puppy. Now we’re presented with a dual situation…. a young child wary of your Rambo dog, and a spooked puppy that becomes skittish, cowardly, and reluctant to socialize with other dogs. Not good. These common scenarios are a direct result of the mishandling of our dogs. We have either put the dog in a leadership position, or improperly socialized and as a result, the dog is now making decisions that should be left to you.
While in training, a leash should be kept on the dog at all times whenever free from the kennel. A dog isn’t fully trained until it is both on and off leash trained.Many dog owners make the mistake of attempting to work off leash command when the dog doesn’t yet have the foundation of the basic commands while on leash. Our leash is the most important tool we have to communicate with our dogs. Without a leash in our hand we have absolutely no influence over our dogs behavior. How can we reasonably expect for our pups to know what to do off leash when we haven’t laid the foundation for our expectations on leash? In fact, often times, this is where we find ourselves trouble. The dog is bolting out the door, chasing someone down the street, fighting with another dog, or worse, has bitten somebody. Any of these situations can be avoided with the proper handling of our dogs.