Dog Psychology Inside Your Dogs Mind

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Dog Psychology Inside Your Dogs Mind

by Andrew Strachan

If you are the owner of a dog, it is more than likely at some point that you will want to train a bad habit or annoying behavioral trait out of your dog. Nobody likes having their shoes chewed to bits, or the dog urinating over the floor when it feels so inclined.

Before you can start to train your dog, it is imperative that you have some insight into dog psychology and how a dog thinks. Without some insight into dog psychology, your training efforts will be wasted.

Dog psychology is mainly centered on one main area - The Pack. By this we mean that as wild animals, dogs will live together in groups known as 'Packs'. Within this pack there will be young pups, teenaged dogs and adults. Sometimes you may even find quite old dogs in a pack where the hunting is easy.

Now this is the key point. Within every dog pack, there will be a 'top dog' known as the 'alpha male'. There will also be an alpha female who will be the top female dog in the pack. This is where you can take advantage of the psychology of dogs when related to training your dog. If you can position yourself as the alpha male, your training and teachings will sink in far quicker than if your dog had little to no respect for you.

The trick is to ensure that within your family unit, all members of your family are classed as higher members in the pack with you as the Alpha Male (even if you are not male of course). This ensures that if you have children, the dog will listen to them as well. The dog will see them as a higher authority. Sometimes if the dog is older and the children quite young, they will form more of an 'Equal' relationship than 'Pack leader' relationship. This is O.K. as long as the dog respects them. This will prevent the dog from biting at the children or behaving in a threatening manner.

Dog psychologists differ in opinion about how to maintain the Alpha role but there are a few proven methods.

Never feed your dog at or near your dining area. Your dog should always eat in its own separate area. Also do not allow your dog onto the bed as this elevates the dog to your height and in some dogs can give the impression that you are behaving submissively.

Also if your dog is misbehaving, a strong firm vocal 'NO!' will show the dog who is boss. If the behavior persists, a physical (but not over forceful) chastisement may be required. This is what happens in the wild. The alpha male will snarl or growl at subordinates. If this fails to work, the alpha male will often bite or 'rough up' the subordinate dog, reminding it who is boss.

It is important to realize that dogs can very easily fall into bad habits. The reason for this is that they react far more readily to a 'stimulus - response' situation and will retain that association for a long time, whereas humans can overcome these associations by rationalizing them.

For example, if you shout 'Walkies' every time you take your dog out for a walk it, will not be very long before your dog has associated the term 'Walkies' with the 'treat' of going for a walk. Now, if you shout 'Walkies' and then DO NOT take your dog for a walk, this won't prevent the dog getting just as excited the next time you shout it.

Another important aspect of dog psychology is the inability of a dog to associate two events separated by a long time interval. You need to know this when you are training your dog. If your dog urinates on the floor and you don't reprimand your dog until two hours later, your dog is not going to know what it is being reprimanded for! Your dog will NEVER associate the urinating earlier in the day with the punishment later on.

It is vital that you understand HOW your dog thinks before you can begin training. If your dog is taught incorrectly, it will take a long time to undo those mistakes.

Article by Andrew Strachan. Find out more about dog behavior training and types of dogs at

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