Growling is one way of canine communication. Depending on the context of the situation and the dog’s body language, it can mean different things. This can be a warning sign, but it can also be a sign of normal excitement while having fun. In today’s post, I will try to describe the causes of different types of dog growls and how to deal with a situation when a dog growls.
Growling can be a warning or a threatening signal. The dog says “stay away because I’m ready to attack you” or “stop what you’re doing because I might bite you.” So it is a clear message that something is happening that the dog dislikes very much and is causing him nervousness or fear. A dog never sends out warning signals for nothing. There can be many reasons for a growl, and it can be accompanied by a variety of emotions.
Many dogs growl when they feel anxious or fearful. These emotions can arise when we do something unpleasant for the dog, when we act by force or by surprise. That is why proper socialization and getting dogs used to different situations is so important. Without it, the dog may perceive an attempt to pick it up, put on a harness, bathe or cut its claws like an attack. Many dogs also growl in defense of their territory, their family members, or exceptionally valuable resources. Such resources can be tasty teethers, a bowl of food, but also a favorite toy or, for example, a bed. Some dogs also treat their guardian as such a valuable resource and are able to actively defend them.
Dogs can also growl in frustration when their basic needs are not being met. For example, a dog that is very social, but has no contact with other dogs because it is kept on a leash or behind a fence, may respond to the sight of another dog with a snarl. It is not anger but frustration. However, such a growl can turn into aggressive behavior both towards the stranger and the handler. Some dogs relieve tension in such situations by biting the nearest thing or person within reach of their teeth. You have to be aware of this and be very careful in such situations.
Medical problems can also be another cause of the warning growl. When the dog hurts something, and we touch this sore spot, the dog may react by growling. Dogs are reluctant to show that something hurts them, so if you notice unusual behavior of your pooch, it is worth taking him to the vet and thoroughly examining him.
When your dog growls in warning, it’s best to stop doing what’s provoking him and walk away calmly to a safe distance. If a dog growls at people or dogs while walking, avoid them at a wide berth or even change the walking route to avoid unnecessary confrontation. Of course, just avoiding the dog growls will not solve the problem. Therefore, you also need to consider what caused the dog’s growling and work on it best under the supervision of an experienced behaviorist and veterinarian.
You must not punish the dog for growling. By applying penalties in such a situation, we enter into an open conflict with the dog and we can provoke him to attack. The penalty will not solve the root cause of the problem either. It can, however, teach the dog that this form of communication is unacceptable and that the next time the dog attacks without any warning.
Unfortunately, many people still believe that the dog is trying to dominate us by growling. It’s hard to say, however, that a dog that hurts something or is afraid of touching, lifting, putting on a harness, grooming or neighbors’ dog thinks about domination. There is also no the domination theory to explain each dog’s behavior, which I wrote more about in this article.
Growling is not always a warning sign, however. Dogs may also growl when playing with people or other dogs in excitement. Play is mock hunting or fighting. It exhibits the same behaviors as in real hunting or combat. The difference is that the dog is in control of its behavior and does not want to harm anyone.
Dogs growl especially when wrestling with other dogs or when dragging a shark. Growling while playing is not aggressive. The dog does not want to dominate its guardian in this way. Such a growl shows that the dog is having a great time and is very aroused.
On the one hand, we should be glad that the dog is deeply into the game and will snarl. When a dog likes to play with us, we can use it to learn the basics of obedience. Play is a great way to reward your dog during training. On the other hand, you should always be careful not to over stimulate the dog. The line between having fun and over-excitement leading to aggression can be thin. Therefore, we should control the dog’s excitement level, so that this limit is never exceeded.
It is worth introducing clear rules when playing with the dog and observing them consistently. It is helpful here to enter commands such as “have”, “let go” and “end” while playing with a jerk. By teaching your dog to catch and release a shark when prompted by word, and by communicating clearly when the game is over, it is much easier to keep his emotions at a safe level. I wrote more about how to teach a dog these commands here. I also recommend introducing the rule that each catching the human body with your teeth means the immediate end of the game. Many dog handlers allow the dog to pinch them or even chew them while they play. Some people find it funny. Others say their dog grabbed the hand by accident. Unfortunately, tolerating such behavior and rewarding it with more fun can lead to unnecessary aggression.
As you can see, the signals sent by dogs can be ambiguous. Growling can be a warning sign, but it can also be a sign that your dog is having a great time. If you are not sure what the intent of your dog’s growling is, it is always safer to assume that it is a warning snarl. I also recommend consulting a behaviorist who can help you identify the exact causes of your pooch’s growls.
Nobody would like to see a mess or a large pool of urine in the middle of the living room when they return home. Unfortunately, dog handlers sometimes have to face this reality. Many people get angry in similar situations. They tell the dog that he did wrong, they put bitten objects under his nose, etc. The dog reacts in such a situation with fear and shows a number of so-called calming signals, also known as stress signals. The dog crouches, avoids eye contact with the handler, puts his ears back, licks his nose, yawns. Some dogs raise the front paw or wag their tail nervously. If the stress level is very high and the dog feels that his life may be in danger, he can trigger one of five survival strategies. Most often, the pooch will just try to escape from a difficult situation, but he can also noticeably slow down his movements or even freeze motionless.
I have recorded a video for you with my commentary on tiktoków in which dogs show such behavior. However, do they prove that the dog feels guilty and knows that he did wrong? Will he exhibit undesirable behavior in the future when we punish him?
Dogs possess most mental abilities, including emotions, about the level of a two-to-a-half-year-old child. So they feel excitement, anxiety, contentment, disgust, fear, anger, joy, shyness, or attachment. On the other hand, emotions such as guilt, shame, pride or contempt are completely alien to dogs. What we often read as a dog’s guilt is actually fear. The dog, seeing our reaction, knows that something is wrong. However, he does not necessarily associate our anger with his previous behavior.
It is worth remembering that for the punishment to be effective, it must occur when the undesirable activity is performed by the dog or a few seconds later. Punishing a dog a few minutes or hours after the fact does not make any sense. The dog simply will not associate its behavior with its consequence, i.e. punishment. However, he will learn that when the guardian comes home and is very angry, it is better not to get in his way.
Professor Alexandra Horowitz conducted an interesting experiment. The dogs’ keepers would put the treat on the ground and forbade their pupils to eat it, after which they left the room. Only the observer, who filmed his behavior, remained in the room with the dog. The dog could obey the guardian’s prohibition and leave a treat, or disobey and eat it. In addition, the observer sometimes took the treat from the ground himself without the knowledge of the dog’s handler. Before returning to the room, the handler was informed whether his dog had broken the command or not. This information was not always correct. Upon hearing of the obedience, the guardian was to greet the dog in a friendly manner, while the disobedience was to be punished with a verbal reprimand.
It turned out that the dogs’ behavior did not depend on whether they were obedient or not. It depended, however, on the behavior of their guardian. When the handler greeted the dog in a friendly manner, the dog was happy even when he ate the treat lying on the ground. On the other hand, when the handler punished the dog with verbal reprimands, the dog displayed behaviors interpreted by many people as guilty even when the dog obeyed and did not eat the treat.
Based on a similar study by a team of researchers in Hungary and Scotland, it has been established that the behavior of dogs when greeting a handler cannot be a reliable indicator of whether the dog has committed a “crime” or not. What about punishing dogs for destroying, pampering themselves at home or stealing food in our absence?
When a dog has not been taught to be independent and stays home alone for many hours, it will look for ways to cope with increasing stress and anxiety. When biting or tearing objects apart, serotonin is released in your dog’s body. It is a hormone responsible for improving the dog’s mood, among other things. Destroying objects is therefore one of the stress coping strategies for dogs. If, after returning home, we scold the dog for the damage, we will not teach him this behavior. We can, however, increase his stress level and intensify unwanted behavior in the future.
The dog can also destroy objects in the house out of sheer boredom. If we do not provide him with the right amount of movement and mental stimulation, he will be looking for ways to meet these basic needs. In this case, punishing the dog will also not stop it from destroying the apartment. Disease can also be a cause of chewing things. Many dogs find solace by chewing on various objects when they have digestive problems. Biting is also more severe in puppies who replace their teeth permanently. Neither punishing a sick dog nor a teething puppy will solve the problem of destroying items in your home.
Another problem that dog handlers face is killing a dog while the handler is absent. There can also be many reasons for this behavior. Perhaps the dog has never been properly trained to clean and simply doesn’t know that he shouldn’t pamper himself at home. It is also possible that the dog had to wait too long for the next walk. Often, changing the diet, times of meals and walks causes the pooch to relieve himself at other times than usual. Many dogs kill themselves at home in the absence of their owners due to stress. You cannot forget about the diseases that make the pooch have to go outside more often.
Punishing a dog that is relieved of stress, because he is ill, because he has not been taught cleanliness or because he is taken too rarely for a walk will certainly not solve the problem. It can, however, aggravate your dog’s stress and make him pee at home even more often. A dog that is punished for taking care of himself in the house may also learn to eat his droppings. When there is no excrement, the person is not angry and there is no punishment. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to teach your dog this behavior later on.
Some dogs just wait for the handler to disappear from sight to steal food from the table, kitchen countertops, or the garbage can. It’s important to know that this is a natural behavior for many dogs. In the canine world, as long as the dog eats or stands over food, the food belongs to him. However, when the pooch leaves him and ceases to be interested in him, everyone can come and take them. In the human world, the rules are slightly different. When we leave the sandwich on the table and go to another room for a while, we expect food to be waiting for us when we return. Due to these differences in human and dog habits, we often have unnecessary conflicts.
Of course, you can teach your dog not to move any food that is left for a while. However, it should be remembered that this behavior is not natural for the dog. We also cannot expect the dog to guess what rules prevail in the human world and to follow them perfectly. We cannot demand behaviors from the dog that we have not taught him before.
If we have a dog that has experienced hunger in his life, his need to constantly get food can be very great. Punishing a dog for this behavior will not make it stop stealing food. Some dogs are constantly looking for food because they are just hungry. If we feed our dog with highly processed, poorly digestible food, even giving him large portions will not satisfy his nutritional needs. Punishing a dog that is hungry, lacking in its diet, or is sick will not suddenly make it stop stealing food.
If your pooch destroys various items, takes care of things at home or steals food, the key to solving the problem is always finding its causes. Only when you know the causes of your dog’s undesirable behavior, you can try to change them. If the pooch destroys the apartment because he suffers from separation anxiety, it is worth taking him to the vet and to a behaviorist who will develop an individual plan for further therapy. On the other hand, if the dog destroys various objects at home out of boredom, increasing the number and intensity of walks and introducing additional mental stimulation in the form of olfactory games or learning the basics of obedience should solve the problem.
Likewise for dogs that mess around in the house or steal food. We first identify the causes of the problem, and only then consider how we can change the dog’s undesirable behavior. We will work differently with a dog that has not been trained to clean, and differently with a dog that has a sick bladder. One thing is for sure, yelling at your dog will not solve the root cause of the problem and will not change its behavior. However, it can negatively affect your relationship and your dog’s sense of security.
Coren S. (2013). Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience? Psychology Today
Hecht J, Miklósi Á, Gácsi M (2012) Behavioral assessment and owner perceptions of behaviours associated with guilt in dogs. Appl Anim Behav Sci 139: 134-142.
Horowitz A (2009) Disambiguating the guilty look: salient prompts to a familiar dog behavior. Behav Process 81: 447–452.
Does my dog know I love him? You shower your dog with treats, toys and lots of belly rubs in the hopes that the dog understand the intentions behind the actions. You adore your dog, but how do you know that the feeling has been translated into doggy-friendly language?
Luckily there are doggy experts that have been able to bridge the “language gap” between humans and their four-footed friends.
There are a few foolproof methods to make sure your dog feels loved and not just confused by the strange language you are speaking to it. In this case, actions really do speak louder than words!
It’s not your imagination, your dog really zones out a bit after a few seconds of ear rubbing. The reason for this, is all the nerve endings found in your dog’s ears. By gently rubbing your dog’s ear, you are triggering the release of “happy hormones”, called endorphins. This potent hormone cocktail not only makes your dog feel giddy with love, it is also a natural painkiller. It’s a very easy and effective way to show your love for your dog in a tangible way that the dog will understand.
Experts recommend this technique to help puppies get rid of their food aggression. This also shows your dog that you are a food provider that it can trust. It’s a great way to build a strong and intimate bond with your dog. As your dog gets older, you can switch to using the hand feeding method to offer it treats during training.
By using the modern training method of positive reinforcement, you can build a solid bond with your dog. Use a dog’s natural inclination to want to please its master and you can both reap the benefits from the training interaction. Take a moment to discover your dog’s favorite motivation reward such as a treat, words of praise or play time. It won’t be too difficult to spot, just look out for the highest level of excitement during training. Your dog will soon recognize you as the source of happiness.
Dogs are more similar to humans than we realize. For instance, some dogs love getting hugs and others detest it. Also, most dogs don’t like it when you approach them directly. Your dog’s body language will give away a lot of clues as to what’s going on in its head. By being able to read your dog’s body language and responding appropriately, the level of trust between you and your dog will skyrocket. Read this article to understand your dog’s body language.
Studies have recently proved that dogs understand some human language. Dogs were monitored in an MRI scanner to study them at their happiest. The results proved that it was not only the praising tone that got them excited, but the actual words of praise triggered a happy reaction. The tone of your voice definitely helps, but your dog might be understanding much more than you think.
Now that you know how to tell your dog that you love him, how do you know whether the feeling is reciprocated? Again some clever researchers have managed to decipher the cryptic code of dog language.
It’s the easiest way to spot a dog in love with its human, that overly enthusiastic greeting after you’ve only been gone for a couple of hours. Your dog’s crazy tail wagging, jumping and possibly barking is its way of telling you how awesome you are. But then you get the over-eager dogs that reacts like this, regardless of who walks through the door, so you might have to take the seemingly loving response with a pinch of salt.
Mostly people focus on a dog’s tail to figure out what the dog is feeling. But a dog actually has very distinct facial expressions that you can learn to read. One study found that when a dog sees its owner, the dog lifted its eyebrows (especially the left one) When spotting a stranger, the facial movement was much less and focused on the right side. Read this article to decode your dog’s facial expressions.
Dogs are very selective with their eye contact. They won’t look you straight in the eye if they don’t trust you. Studies have shown that when an owner and dog maintain eye contact, oxytocin is released in both human and animal brain. This is the hormone that establishes a bond between a new mother and her baby. Try building up prolonged eye contact with your dog. But do it slowly, otherwise the dog will start feeling intimidated.
You’ve heard the saying that yawning is contagious. But do you know why this is true? Psychologists have linked yawning to empathy. This is why you will most likely yawn after a friend of yours yawned in a conversation. Turns out, dogs are affected in the same way as humans by yawns. But dogs are little bit less generous with their empathy, they usually only mimic the yawn of their owners, not random strangers.
Doesn’t matter whether it’s just a short nap in the daytime on the couch, or at night when your dog insists on jumping on the bed with you. When a dog trusts you enough to sleep with you, it is a very good sign. It means that your dog senses that you are part of the same pack and accepts you as one of the in-crowd.
Dogs are usually unconditional in their love. You have to be a really terrible human being before your dog will decide not to love you. As long as you treat your dog with respect and use a loving approach in your training methods, your dog will lavish you with love.
Behavioral issues start popping up when a dog is mistreated. If a dog starts responding with an aggressive reaction, it means that the dog feels threatened and wants to protect itself. If a dog starts trashing the house or barking incessantly, it is usually an indication that the dog is frustrated and not receiving enough attention.
Treat your dog right and you will have a loyal companion for life. How do you know your dog loves you?
Ten interesting facts on dog psychology you probably did not know!
What really goes on in the mind of a dog has been a great topic of discussion for many years. What do they think? Why do they think this way? How did they develop this manner of thought and behavior? While we may never be able to have a conversation with our furry companions, we have made several amazing advances in the study of dog psychology that help us understand them a little better. Here are ten of the most interesting facts about dog psychology.
Many dog owners have probably noticed their dogs twitching, moving their paws, gently barking or crying and huffing in their sleep. It was usually a minor musing that the dog may be dreaming, and the thought of whether or not an animal can actually have dreams was commonly discussed among dog owners. However, several studies in dog psychology now say with certainty that our canine friends do actually experience dreams. Dogs share similar sleep patterns as humans, and their brain activity while sleeping also resembles that of a human brain when asleep. Due to such similarities, it’s strongly believed that dogs actually can dream. In fact, they likely do it as much as any normal person does. Researchers also believe that the most common dreams are happy and involve activities such as playing, chasing an animal or simply running around. Studies also show that smaller breeds tend to dream more frequently than bigger breeds, and that recent events such as playing, seeing an old friend or going someplace new can prompt dreams when the dog goes to sleep.
Many forms of dog psychology can be linked to the world of human psychology. For example, in much the same realm as a baby understanding that its cry draws the attention of its parents, a dog also understands that a bark elicits a reaction from its owners. In addition, like an older child who gets rewarded after tantrums to get them to stop making noise, dogs also tend to become stuck in their ways and behaviors if this is consistently reinforced. Owners who tend to give into their dog’s barking, such as in instances where an owner will take a dog barking near the food bowl as an indication that they want to be fed, commonly experience difficulty in controlling their dog’s barking.
Even those without a minute of experience in studying dog psychology know that dogs are smarter than people tend to give them credit for. They may not be solving complex math equations, but they’re usually not easily fooled, and they learn very quickly. Exactly how smart do they commonly get in comparison to humans? Research indicates that many dogs have intelligence and understanding on par with a human toddler of about two years old. They have the capacity to learn how to count, understand around 150 words and they can solve problems as well as devise tricks to play on people and other animals.
While their vocabulary may never reach the complexity of even a young child, our understanding of dog psychology indicates that they can easily understand a wide range of vocal tones. For example, your dog may understand their name and react when called, but the tone of voice used when calling the dog can change their behavior when they come to you. Happy tones make a dog excited and playful while angry tones make dogs feel sad or frightened. If there is fear in your voice, the dog may believe that you’re being threatened and rush to protect you. Sharp tones of pain may prompt comforting behavior from the dog.
One of the most basic and accepted pieces of dog psychology is introduced through the signal of the trademark tail wag. It’s widely accepted by nearly everyone from people who have never owned dogs to authorities in dog psychology that a wagging tail means that a dog is happy, but it’s a more complicated matter than you may think. It is true that when a dog is happy, they wag their tail. However, this is only true when the tail is being wagged to the right. If it’s wagging to the left, it’s indicative of fear. Low tail wags mean nervousness, and rapid tail wags mixed with tense muscles can be a sign of aggression.
Researchers put dogs side by side and gave them commands. Both dogs would perform the same given command and only one would get a treat. The one who was not given a treat showed signs of agitation, avoided contact with the rewarded dog and scratched more often. This was further attributed to jealously as these signs of agitation appeared more frequently in the experiment with pairs of dogs than in times when a dog was alone and was refused a reward.
An interesting aspect of their feeling of jealousy is in the lack of importance of what’s being offered as a reward. If one dog is being given something great as a treat such as a piece of steak while another is given something like a small dog biscuit, the signs of jealousy are not present. They only care that they get rewarded, not what the reward is.
Interestingly, dogs react the same way no matter if they performed the act or not. While it’s unlikely that one dog could actively frame another dog for a misdeed, there are the circumstances of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Merely seeing or hearing the negativity from their owners or anticipating punishment is enough to bring on that sad puppy dog face.
Many people turn to dog psychology books and guides to help them in training their dogs. However, the presence of a trained older dog may be the easiest way to teach them how to behave and react to commands. Puppies commonly model their behavior from older dogs in their household. If the older dog is trained well and behaves, the puppy can adopt the behavior of the dog quite quickly.
When the older dog is given a command, performs it and gets a treat, the puppy may be able to more easily understand what this command means and what to do when it is given through a form of mimicry.
There are several times in a dog owner’s life where they could swear that their dogs are behaving badly as a way to get revenge for something. For instance, a dog making a mess on the carpet while its owners are gone all day or chewing up a pillow because its owners didn’t want to play outside can easily be viewed as vengeful acts. However, these behaviors can easily be explained through other more likely reasons.
For example, the first dog could have gone to the bathroom on the carpet because it was stressed out from being home alone all day or having a drastic change in routine. The second dog could have been frustrated due to pent up energy from not being played with and released the energy through tearing something up.
The major issue with the idea of vengeance in a dog is the fact that it requires some form of premeditation that dogs don’t seem to be capable of. Dogs can act in immediate retaliation such as when they’re attacked, but they don’t appear to have the mental capacity to purposely plan out and perform acts of vengeance against anyone. The bad acts should be addressed through proper methods such as stress management and alternative play time not punishment.
While giving your dog plenty of love and attention is an important aspect of raising a happy dog, studies in dog psychology state that this alone is not good enough to raise an emotionally and mentally healthy dog. Dogs need a healthy balance of affection, attention and discipline in order to feel secure, safe, happy and like a true part of the family.
If they don’t receive some form of discipline through effective and consistent training and their owners taking a dominant stance, they can easily become unhappy, confused in what is and is not acceptable behavior, emotionally unstable and insecure.
According to studies conducted by Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University in California, a dog’s brain releases Oxytocin, which is the love hormone, when it interacts with humans and other dogs. Humans releases Oxytocin when we hug or kiss.
You can read a bit more about Paul Zak’s study right here.
What personality does my dog have? A person can be classified as an introvert or extrovert, but what about your dog? Are there any markers that can be measured to calculate a dog’s personality? Luckily there are brilliant researchers out there that have been able to solve this mystery.
By knowing your dog’s personality type, you are able to better understand your dog and its behavioral quirks. In a similar way that you can’t treat a human introvert the same way as an extrovert, you can’t try to put your dog in a personality box it was not meant to be in.
It’s the age-old debate, nature vs. nurture. Is a personality, human or doggy, ingrained? Or can upbringing shape it? For a dog, the type of breed will firstly influence its behavior. For instance, some dog breeds are more inclined towards aggressive behavior than others, due to years of inbreeding to bring out this underlying trait.
But that does not mean that you just have to make peace with the fact that your dog will always be aggressive, how you raise and train your dog can greatly influence its behavior. Your household environment will also affect how your dog’s personality evolves.
Lastly your dog’s self-esteem will determine how your dog experiences the world. Similar to people, some dogs are bolder than others. You can try to challenge your dog to help it become more confident, but this will only work up to a certain point.
There are five different doggy personality types that have been classified. Your dog might not fall into just one specific category, but these descriptions offer you guidelines to better understand your dog’s behavior and to adjust your interaction with it accordingly.
This dog is a natural born leader, taking charge of the pack. Still, this type of dog is also a team player, but just a bit more ready to take charge. In general the confident dog is quite dominant. With this in mind, steer clear of harsh discipline and training techniques.
Underlying aggressive tendencies can be trigged, or your dog will simply become more stubborn to stand its ground. This type of dog feels very secure wherever it finds itself, whether at home or in the park. The self-assurance can be observed in the dog’ body language.
Similar to the confident type, but much more standoffish. If your dog falls into this category, you will have to prove to it that you are the leader of the pack if you want to build a strong bond with it. By nature some breeds tend to be more independent. But they still have the capability to form a close bond with the most dominant family member, the one that takes control of situations in a patient and fair manner, proving to the dog that the person is a strong leader.
This type of dog is fine to be on its own mission, away from the crowds. If this describes your dog, you will need to give it lots of space and don’t try to force the dog into a situation it doesn’t like. It’s sure to backfire, you will lose your dog’s respect and trust if you use forceful training techniques.
This type of dog is the embodiment of happy-go-lucky. It is happy to meet any person or animal that crosses its path, even if the other part is not interested in making a new friend. The happy dog is very adaptable, content to share a space with other dogs or even cats.
The flipside of all this happiness, is that it can be difficult to contain the dog’s enthusiasm. It’s crucial to teach your dog to obey basic commands such as sit, down and stay. Otherwise the dog will make a nuisance of itself with visitors to your house or when going for a walk. This type of dog is great with kids, but its level of excitement can scare them.
This type of dog needs a bit of extra TLC. The dog needs an owner that can offer it consistent, patient and calm understanding. If this describes your dog, you need a sensitive approach to its feelings and needs. The timid dog needs to be kept away from unknown and uncomfortable situations, as well as loud and unexpected noises. Harsh training techniques, including yelling, will cause your shy dog to retreat into itself and not trust you. In worst case scenarios, the dog will become so fearful, it will react with an aggressive outburst.
The best way to let this type of dog blossom, is to create situations that will boost its self-confidence, making the dog feel more secure in its surroundings. Daily exercise is a great way to do this, stimulating your dog’s mind. Reassurance that you love the dog regardless of its behavior will help it to feel more secure and safe. Read this article for some tips on how to deal with a fearful dog.
Definitely the easiest of all the personality types. This type of dog loves pleasing its owner, making it very easy to train. It’s not quite as outgoing as the happy type, but it still gets on well with other people, dogs and cats. It’s easy to control this dog, it loves following a leader.
This type of dog is affectionate, gentle and cooperative – making it the perfect family pet. Because the adaptable dog is so easy-going, it’s a great therapy dog, bringing happiness wherever it goes.
You might have noticed there’s no such thing as a dominant personality. Dominance is not an individual personality trait. It is a term that describes the relationship between animals that have equal access to food, shelter and mates.
In a wolf pack the alpha male will not necessarily be the most aggressive. It will be the one that can lead the pack with a calm confidence and fairness. The main aim is to create a mutual working relationship between all the members of the pack, with benefits for the entire pack. Dogs are distant relatives of wolves and trying to enforce a pack hierarchy on your dog, will most likely cause it to distrust you. It’s a misconception that your dog will try to dominate you. Using outdated forceful training methods will only backfire, triggering the dog’s aggression. Positive reinforcement training will yield much better results. You are your dog’s master, but also its friend.
By committing to try and understand your dog, you can avoid unwanted confrontations during training and socializing. Some dogs just don’t like being surrounded by other dogs, and that’s also fine. Discovering the “why” behind your dog’s behavior will help you to build a stronger bond with your beloved four-footed companion.
What personality does my dog have? If you are really curious by now to classify your dog, there’s a handy quiz for you to find out!
What type of dog is best for me? Getting a dog is a big commitment. In fact, it’s a lifelong commitment! Small breed dogs live between 10 to 13 years, while large breeds can live between 5 to 10 years. It’s crucial that you take your time to select the best match for you and your family. Below I look at 5 factors you should keep in mind when you decide on which dog is the best for you!
Before bringing a dog home, examine your lifestyle and decide how much you are willing to adjust to accommodate a dog in your space. Your family’s needs are the next thing to think about. Do you have small children? Is someone in the house allergic to dogs? (Luckily there are a few hypoallergenic dog breeds to counter this challenge)
The major factors to consider: breed, size, activity level, physical maintenance and age.
Sometimes you just fall in love with a specific breed. It might be your beloved pet from childhood, or the cutest dog you ever set eyes on at a friend’s house. If you have your heart set on a specific breed, you have to make peace with its challenges.
Purebreds are oftentimes a more popular choice. With a purebred you can read up more specifically about their general character traits and health issues. This way you can be aware of temperament challenges and health risks, as well as grooming needs. Visit dogtime.com for an extensive list of dog breeds with their characteristics.
With a mixed breed you can strike gold with the perfect balance between different personality and physical traits. Some experts believe that a mixed breed dog has less health problems than a purebred. But on the other hand, it is more risky because the two breeds might not be a good match and then you have to deal with a set of unexpected challenges. Read this article to be aware of the dangers of mixed dog breeds.
Tip: whether you decide to buy a purebred or mixed breed, make sure you only buy from a responsible dog breeder.
This factor is a little bit easier to decide upon. Firstly, do you want a dog that can fit on your lap, or do you prefer a big dog? Next, do you live in an apartment building, or do you have a massive yard where your dog can roam freely? It is very cruel to buy a big dog and confine it to a small space.
There’s always a medium dog breed to consider as an in-between compromise. Your family dynamics will also influence the size choice. If you have small children you need to remember that they can be quite rough with pets, so a delicate and vulnerable small dog might not be ideal. Also not a big robust dog that will run a child over and frighten them in general.
Small dogs are also more sensitive to extreme temperatures, especially cold weather. Large dogs have a different set of challenges, for instance needing more dog food and a lot of space. Whether your dog is small or big, you need to be willing to commit to training. The bigger the dog, the more important it is to invest time in proper training to manage your dog properly.
Same as humans, dogs don’t have the same activity levels. No two dogs are alike, even from the same breed. But you will be able to get a general idea of a breed’s energy level with a bit of research. It’s important to match yourself up with the right energy level. If you like vegging on the couch over the weekends, it won’t be ideal to get a dog that needs a lot of physical stimulation.
All dogs require exercise on a regular basis, no matter what size they are. But some dog breeds will become very destructive if they don’t receive enough exercise. And if you like the idea of having a dog as a running buddy, you will only become frustrated with a low energy breed. A lot of behavioural issues can be avoided by giving your dog the right amount of attention and exercise. Read this article for a ranking of dog breeds by their energy level.
Unlike cats who clean themselves, you need to take care of your dog’s grooming needs. For some breeds this simply means a bath every week or so. Other breeds with longer hair require much more intensive care. With a long hair dog, you can’t simply decide that you don’t have time to groom your dog. You need to be willing to commit time or invest money to keep your dog looking healthy. Read this article for a ranking of dog breeds by their grooming needs.
Most people prefer buying or adopting a puppy, to mould its temperament to fit into their family dynamics. But puppies require a big attention and training investment, specifically for the first six months. Also, you need a lot of patience to deal with house training.
If you want to skip the painful teething years, so to speak, adopting an adult dog can be a good option for you. But you might get an untrained dog, which will be another type of challenge to deal with. Some people like adopting senior dogs, a great way of saving a dog from premature euthanasia. When you adopt an older dog, you can enjoy the company of a dog, but with a shorter time commitment.
The following quiz has been created to help you narrow down your search to a specific dog breed that would be most suitable for you unique life circumstances and preferences. You can also use this as a guideline to explore different dog breeds you might not have considered before.
By taking the time to read up a bit more about various dog breeds and their quirks, you will be able to find the most ideal four-footed companion for you and your family. Similar to making a good personality match with a person, it’s best to take your time before picking a specific dog breed.
Another option you can consider, is visiting a dog shelter and interacting with the dog breed you have in mind. This way you can get an idea of what it would be like to own one.
Take the quiz now, what type of dog is best for me?