|By Cathy Perkins
There are many reasons for teaching proper
dog behavior, and teaching such behavior has many benefits
for both the human and canine partners. Dog behavior training
is vital to such life and death issues as preventing aggression,
controlling dog on dog aggression problems and teaching
dogs to interact properly with both their handlers and
with other members of the family.
Understanding how dogs evolved, and how
dogs interact with each other, is very important to understanding
how to properly train your dog to be a devoted, loyal
The original dogs were probably orphaned
wolf pups adopted by early humans. These wild dogs probably
learned to perform behaviors that their human protectors
valued, such as guarding the cave or scaring off predators.
In exchange for these valued behaviors, the humans probably
provided their new companions with foods, protection and
That kind of relationship still exists
today, of course, and dogs still can, and do, perform
valuable jobs for their human benefactors. Those jobs
include herding and guarding livestock, guarding property,
guarding people, and finding game.
When planning a dog training program, it
is important to know that dogs are pack animals. In wild
dog societies, packs are formed, and each member of the
pack quickly learns his or her place in the pecking order.
Except in the event of death or injury to the alpha dog,
the hierarchy never changes once it has been established.
The lower dogs know not to challenge the alpha dog, and
the alpha dog understand his place as leader of the pack.
All the other dogs in the pack look to
the alpha dog for leadership, in important survival issues
like finding food and avoiding larger predators. In order
to properly train your dog and gain its respect, it is
important for you to become the alpha dog.
That is because a dog that sees its owner
as a superior leader will follow the commands the owner
gives without question. Getting the respect of the dog
is the most important step to proper dog training, and
it will form the basis of all subsequent training.
The reasons for training a dog properly
are many, especially in today's world. A well mannered,
obedient dog is a joy to be around, both for the owner
and his or her family, and for people in the community
at large. In addition, seeing a well mannered dog sets
people's mind at ease, especially with breeds of dog thought
to be dangerous, such as Dobermans, rottweilers and pit
When training dogs and dealing with unwanted
dog behaviors, it is important to understand the motivating
factors behind those behaviors. For example, many dogs
exhibit unwanted behaviors such as chewing and destroying
furniture due to separation anxiety. Dealing with the
sources of problem behaviors is an important first step
toward eliminating those problem behaviors.
Many dogs exhibit unwanted behaviors as
a result of stress in the animal's life, and its inability
to cope with that stress. The goal of a good dog training
program is to allow the dog to tolerate greater levels
of stress without becoming a problem animal.
When dealing with dog behavior, it is important
not to confuse human behavior with dog behavior. While
there is a great temptation on the part of dog owners
to see their dogs as almost human, in reality dogs and
humans have very different motivations, and very different
reactions to similar situations.
One trait that humans and dogs do share,
however, is the need to form close social groups and strong
bonds within those social groups. This bonding is important
to both humans and dogs, but it has served vastly different
ends as both species have evolved and changed over time.
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About the Author
Cathy Perkins is a dog lover who is allowed
to live with her two dogs, Tillie and Pierrot, in the
beautiful foothills of western North Carolina.