That’s Why Your Dog Behaves Like That, or Is It?
Your dog does what?
Over the years, many false assumptions have been made by dog owners about why dogs behave the way they do…and because your dog doesn’t “talk human”, you can only guess what he/she means when he behaves a certain way. So, you believe what you’ve heard from other dog owners, and chances are, it is either a misconception or a myth.
So let’s try to separate myth from truth, and begin understanding your dog a little better.
Interpreting Your Dog’s Behavior:
Unfortunately, Fido’s behavior can have more than one meaning, so nothing is black and white (that can be confusing), and just like humans, dogs are individuals and can be unique in the way they express themselves.
- Myth: When a dog rolls over on his back, it means he wants his belly rubbed.
- Although that can be true, this is one of those times that it could mean a couple of things, like he’s anxious or nervous and wants to be left alone. Pay attention to other signals to know which signal he’s sending…a wagging tail is a definite “Rub my belly!”, but if his head is off to one side or the other and his legs appear stiff, something is bothering him and he wants to be left alone.
- Myth: Punishing your dog will help him modify his behavior.
- It can modify his behavior, but not in the way you were hoping for, rather than teach him correct ways to act, it will most likely teach him fear. Work with your dog using rewards for good behaviors, it will bring much better results.
- Myth: A dog that doesn’t listen and pay attention is merely trying to be the “Alpha”, and show you who’s boss.
- More likely than not, your pup appears not to be listening, because he doesn’t understand what you want and what is expected of him. Use these times as teaching moments, and be sure to follow up good behavior with rewards.
- Myth: Your dog has a guilty look on his face when he knows he’s done something wrong.
- The truth is, he is either trying to appease you or he’s fearful because of the tone and volume of your voice, and your irritated body language.
- Myth: Your dog has separation anxiety and there’s nothing you can do about it, you just need to live with it.
- There are things you can do to help your dog get over separation anxiety, such as crate training, leaving favorite toys to entertain, don’t make a big issue of the fact that you are leaving, and probably one of the best things you can do is to enroll your dog in obedience training, where he will learn skills that will help get him through the “alone” time. Another thing you can do is enroll him in a doggie daycare where he will have a great day while you are gone…no time to get lonely or bored!
- Myth: A dog with a wagging tail is happy.
- Like the belly rub, a wagging tail can mean a couple of things, and yes, that he is happy is one of them, but watch for other body language to really know what your dog is trying to say. If the tail is wagging slowly back and forth, he could be feeling nervous and uneasy, as opposed to rapid, excited back and forth wagging which does indeed mean happiness. When you come into contact with a dog you don’t know, and his tail is wagging, pay close attention to his eyes, ears and mouth for a clearer understanding of how he is feeling.
- Myth: Your dog should be taught not to growl.
- Although it’s certainly not pleasant to hear your dog growling, a growl is a great warning for you and anyone else around that he is aggravated with the situation.
Myths about dog behaviors are like old wives tales, often just good stories passed down from generation to generation. Get to know your dog, and you’ll know what his signals are telling you.
At BowWow Fun Towne, we are experts in dog day care. We are dedicated to assisting you and providing the best care for your dog while you’re away.