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Dogs + Behavior

  • Dogs are indeed smart and we see examples of this through both scientific research and everyday real life situations. They can learn by watching, cooperating with another dog or person, or just by being in their environment over time.

  • Dog communication uses most of the senses, including smells, sounds and visual cues. Pheromones, glandular secretions, barks, whines, yips, growls, body postures, etc., all serve as effective means of communication between dogs. Unlike in people, canine body postures and olfactory (scent) cues are significant components of dog language and vocal communications are less significant. People are listeners; dogs are watchers.

  • The birth of a baby or the adoption of a new child is associated with a great deal of anxiety, excitement, and stress for not only the family, but also the family pet. Some dogs and cats can have a difficult time adjusting to these changes, especially if this is your first child, but preparation and planning will help.

  • Getting a new puppy is an exciting time and there is no perfect science to picking the perfect puppy. Have a brief look over them physically with their littermates as well as seeing how they interact together and with you. Be sure to take your puppy to a veterinarian as soon as possible to check for any health problems. 

  • There are many types of collars and harnesses that are used for restraining or training dogs, ranging from simple strap collars to head halters; in the case of collars and harnesses, one size (or type) does not fit all. Functionality, comfort and safety should be the prime considerations in any choice. It is important to recognize that different designs have different purposes and control the dog in different ways.

  • The goal of training is to teach the pet a response that is desirable and to associate a command word with that behavior. To be successful, you must first be able to get the pet to exhibit the desired behavior reliably before adding the command.

  • In dogs, compulsive behaviors include acral lick dermatitis, flank sucking, pacing, circling, incessant or rhythmic barking, fly snapping or chasing unseen objects, freezing and staring, polydipsia (excessive drinking), sucking, licking, or chewing on objects (or owners), tonguing or licking the air and other forms of self mutilation.

  • Dogs tend to pull ahead and lunge forward for a number of reasons. The primary reasons for most dogs are that they are exploratory, playful, and social. They are motivated to investigate new areas, new odors, new people and new dogs, Loose leash walking is a complex skill and it requires patience, planning, and persistence.  

  • Many excitable and rowdy behaviors that we see in puppies will diminish with time and proper early training. For helpful information see our handouts on Puppy getting started right and Puppy training. The unruly dog is one that continues to be difficult for the owner to manage past puppyhood or 6 - 9 months.

  • Dreaming is similar in dogs as it is in people and is a normal part of the rest period. Nightmares do not appear to be typical but you can see different breathing patterns and some movement of the legs while your dog is dreaming.