Why is it essential to understand your dog?
Understand your dog for the best experience
The first and most crucial step to building a strong and healthy relationship with your dog is understanding how it thinks, feels, and learns. Lacking speech capability, dogs communicate with us through their barks and body language. Understanding your dog and gaining insights into how its mind works can genuinely make you a better pet parent and companion to it.
"Most incidents relating to dog behaviors occur because of the lack of understanding between the person and the dog, which could have been prevented if the person had sufficient knowledge to understand the dog's mind. It is always the fault of the person, not the dog," says Mario Silva, a highly qualified master dog trainer with 35 years of experience training tens of thousands of dogs.
It keeps everyone safe.
We should understand dog body language to keep ourselves, our dogs, and other people and dogs safe. Every dog has the equivalent of a dangerous weapon - teeth. Their wielding that weapon is affected by environment, genetics, and training. Regardless, we must be able to read a dog to prevent and avoid any potential conflict.
When the owner misunderstands their dog’s body language and misses the pre-cursors of aggressive behavior, it can be developed into a severe behavior problem in the future. If your dog shows that it is uncomfortable or behaving defensively, you should address the root of the problem with the help of a trainer before the behavior escalates.
It can reduce stress.
There are many ways dogs display stress: a yawn, sweaty paws, food refusal, and lip licking. When owners recognize these signs, they can determine the cause of the stress and possibly deal with it through training that helps them relax.
Through training, you can help your dog change its underlying emotional reaction toward something or someone.
It helps with communication.
Relationships are built on and sustained by two-way communication. We should strive to listen to our dogs just as we want our dogs to listen to us. When your dog shakes off or does not want a hug, you should be aware that you might be doing something that made it uncomfortable; hence, do not force a hug on your dog.
If you are moving and talking simultaneously, your dog might not be able to catch up. Hence, they will only follow your body movement instead of words because to dogs, movement is their primary method of communication, overshadowing what you say.
Why does it matter?
Many behavior problems arise from normal dog behaviors such as chewing and barking. Often, we think we are being clear by acting and vocalizing to our pets. It is essential to understand how your dog communicates so that you can be more effective when training/teaching your dog.
Don't expect puppies or adult dogs to understand and read your mind immediately, as different dogs work at a different paces. Dogs also learn by association, irritation, and mistakes. Participating in training classes and working with certified dog trainers from an early age can be very helpful.
Understanding your dog's experience and gaining insight into how its mind works can genuinely make you a better teacher, leader, and companion to it. Seeing the world from your dog's perspective will help promote communication and enhance the relationship between you and your dog.
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