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Understanding Dog Behavior

Understanding Dog Behavior

In order to understand dog behavior, you must first consider the effects of the human contact that occurs from the day the domestic puppy is born until the end of his life. These interactions are strong catalysts that add to the inherent differences between the wolf and dog. Whereas the dog easily weaves into the family and social structure of humans, the wolf has failed to do so.

The integration of the dog into the human environment is so comfortable and complete that many people even refer to their dogs as their children. The analogy comes to mind for many people because the canine is often adopted as a family member and fits the child's role easily and naturally. To create the most rewarding human-canine relationship, the unique qualities of the domestic dog must be considered by themselves rather than from the standpoint of the wolf.

Similar to the human child, the dog seeks affection and approval, and has the ability to learn. Like children, dogs are playful, affectionate, curious, adaptable, innocent, and basically happy-go-lucky creatures. Depending upon the home environment and many other factors, the dog, like the child, can be an angel or a delinquent.

Few dogs go through life without acquiring some behaviors an owner finds annoying or even intolerable. Intolerable behavior can be the result of either genetics, caused by inexperienced breeders indiscriminately breeding poor-tempered dogs, or the environment in which the dog has been raised without proper training and guidance. Just like children, if dogs are not disciplined and taught manners, they can become out of control and a problem to themselves and everyone in the community. These problem dogs all too often wind up at animal shelters waiting on death row for an unnecessary demise.

If the owner is willing to endure the undesirable behaviors, the problem dog may receive a lifetime sentence to the backyard with very little human contact. The jail sentence to the yard only exacerbates the problem behavior, and often turns the dog into an incessant barker, chewer, digger, or aggressor. Fortunately, behavior modification through obedience training is very effective in repairing problem behavior.

A comprehensive obedience and behavioral course can teach owners how to prevent and resolve behavior problems. The ideal purpose of obedience training is to channel appropriate behavior and discourage problem behavior. The majority of dogs, regardless of their age, can be rehabilitated. Problem behavior can be redirected into appropriate behavior with clear, consistent, and persistent communication from the dog owner through obedience training.

Obedience training communicates concrete rules which provide the dog with predictable outcomes via reinforcement and consequences. Obedience training with competent instruction teaches the owner the essential skills for raising a well-mannered, well-adjusted canine by using principles of consistency, persistency, and reinforcement for good and inappropriate behavior.

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