The Instinct Of A Dog – And How To Train It

Dogs are, in many ways, essentially simple animals. The typical pet dog will be free with its friendship if it is encouraged to do so. If it is left to its own devices and treated like a machine for entertainment, it will not be so keen to play favorites.

Dogs respond to their pleasure stimulus more than anything, and it is by using this that you can train a happy, content dog while having a lot of fun yourself into the bargain. Go to a dog-friendly park anywhere in the country and you will see dogs responding to their pleasure instinct, and making their owners happy into the bargain.

One of the most simple commands, and a game that any dog will love to play, is “Fetch“. If you take your dog to a park where it can be let off its leash, take a ball with you and see the sheer joy that it gets when you sling the ball as far as you can and yell “fetch!“. It pins its ears back, and sets off in full flow, chasing down that ball, picking it up and bringing it back for another round. It does not question why you keep throwing the ball, but keeps bringing it back for another go – often waiting at your feet until you do.

This has a lot of applications in training a dog. It will be ready to learn from you if you are willing to give it the time and attention it wants. It will burn up a lot of excess energy which can make dogs lose concentration in training settings. It will also learn to respond to commands – although full marks go to you if you throw the ball, say “stay” and it does so. This can be considered something of a miracle.


A Dog”â„¢s Faith And Loyalty Are Not Unquestioning

It is often said of dogs that they are the real “dumb animals” of the popular cliche. This is said unquestioningly, despite the fact that dogs can provide incredible help in terms of guiding the blind, finding drugs and explosives, and guarding their family in a way which is both touching and reassuring.

However, a dog learns to do this by establishing a bond with its owner. If you are of a mind to train your dog, it is good to remember that a dog will be happy to learn from you just so long as you are ready to be a good owner to it.

The “dumb animal” jibe is often raised because dogs have a reputation for being loyal. But this bond between animal and owner is not arrived at immediately, and not immune to a dog’s emotions. If a dog is mistreated or neglected by its owner, that bond will either weaken or never form at all. A dog has a lot of loyalty to give – but it will not necessarily give that loyalty where it is not encouraged to do so.

You encourage a dog’s loyalty by rewarding it when it is good and by showing it understanding and friendship. It will not demand and insist on being given treats, but it will not be enthusiastic with its friendship to you if you punish it without measure or reason, or if you ignore it until it suits you not to. You can train your dog, but you need to love it if you want its attention.


How Your Dog Will Communicate With You

So many people speak about their dogs in terms of how they wish they were. If you had a dollar for every time you had heard or said the words “If only he/she could talk, the stories we would hear“, you’d probably be a very rich dog owner. But if dogs could talk, would they be so special to us?

The chances are that we would still adore them every bit as much as we do, but the fact remains that much of what we get from owning a dog comes from the interaction that we have because they cannot speak. It just means that we find other ways to communicate.

Dogs can tell you a lot with a look. If they are hungry, they will make it clear by very patiently following you and looking pointedly at where they know their food to be kept. They will then thank you for feeding them by wagging their tail and affectionately nuzzling you – which may or may not be welcome at the time depending on the ratio of dog slobber to the price of your outfit. But, in many ways, the truth is that your dog will train you to some extent while you are training it.

Dogs may not be able to talk, but they communicate a lot with their eyes, their tail and their body language. And of course, they will bark. We learn to read these barks. A short, sharp bark will often signify excitement. A deep, low growl will warn of danger or threat. For many owners, the inquisitive yip is the best of all – the dog wants to learn from you, and trusts you to teach it.


What People Say About Dogs

Humans have a relationship with dogs going back many years. At one time, the dog’s main function for humans was to act as a hunting partner – the human tracking down prey with the help of the dog, then killing it and the dog retrieving it. over time, the emotional link between humans and dogs became more social, and has evolved to the point where we simply keep dogs as pets – our special friends who never become enemies due to a petty squabble. Humans have a lot to say about dogs, ad have said it in some wonderful ways.

Mabel Louise Robinson, a writer, once said that from a dog’s point of view, its master was “an elongated and abnormally cunning dog” – which sums up the pack mentality, as does Holbrook Jackson’s line that man is “a dog’s idea of what God should be“.

Dogs are popular, in many cases, because they see humans as someone to look up to, and this kind of devotion is attractive to anyone. Dogs are unquestioning, as noted by the unknown author of the quote “one reason a dog is such comfort when you’re felling low is that he doesn’t attempt to find out why“.

There is a tendency among humans to refer to their dogs as being like another human being, but the author John Holmes feels that this is unfair to our four-legged friend. A dog, he said, is not almost human, “and I can find no greater insult to the canine race” than to describe it so. Dogs may well be easily pliable and respond well to training, but each has its own personality and mind. Do not try to train this out of your dog, as that is what makes them special.


The Truth About Humans And Dogs

Although there is constant debate between people about which animal makes a better pet – cat or dog – it is the dog that has taken the title of “man’s best friend“. The major reason for this is that dogs are easier to train than cats, and are considered to be more easy-going than cats for pretty much this reason.

It is far from impossible to train a cat – indeed, if you watch its behavior for some time you will see how they often train themselves. Dogs, however, are more likely to respond to a human’s command.

Part of the reason for this is that dogs are pack animals, and in every pack there is a leader to whom the other animals will look for examples on how to behave and for a command of some sort. When a dog is a domestic pet, the pack mentality does not disappear.

Without a larger dog to respond to, the dog subconsciously elects you as the pack leader, and will look to you for guidance. This makes it easier to train a dog. It searches for some sort of validation through your response to it.

While some people prefer cats exactly because they are more independent and autonomous, the fact that humans are social animals means that dogs will feel more comfortable with them than will cats. As a consequence, there has for some time now been a strong link between humans and dogs which, in the main, we do not have with cats.


Teaching Any Dog New Tricks

There are two distinct types of dog training. These are behavioral training, where you teach a dog to behave in the “right” way, and recreational training, where you teach a dog to perform certain actions which will impress or amuse other people and yourself.

There are some who feel that this latter is not a reasonable way to do things – making a dog into a circus-style performer for your own pleasure – but as long as it is done in an affectionate way it can be good for you and for the dog.

Dogs are, generally, playful pets who will provide any owner with hours of fun simply by their presence and their general actions. The vitality of a well-fed, well-treated dog is a reflection on its owner. You can tell a happy dog from the way it carries itself around people, and most particularly its owner.

A happy dog will be more likely to perform tricks. The most common of these tricks are ones like “playing dead“, “begging” and “shaking hands“.

To show a dog a new trick will often take time. It may be that you need to physically manipulate the dog by placing it in the position that the trick demands, and repeating a command.

Sooner or later the dog will learn the link between command and action and, when it does, you should reward it with a treat. Before too long it will recognize the command and the action, and make the link to its reward. Then you will have taught your dog a new trick.


How To Eliminate Bad Behavior In Your Dog

Dogs are like any other animal – including the human being – in that they will sometimes step over the line of bad behavior in the pursuit of enjoyment or comfort. If you are honest with yourself you must admit that there have been times when you did something wrong because the results of such action had benefits for you.

Whether those benefits were active – you took something that was not yours and enjoyed using it – or passive, in that you did not do something because the alternative was preferable to you, you still transgressed.

Dogs are just the same. If a dog has gone to the toilet in the house, for example, it will have done so because it was easier than going outside. There may be many reasons why this was the case, but all the dog knows is that its action was what seemed like the right thing for it.

This is not a mode of behavior you would wish to encourage, so you need to consider how to eliminate it in future. The best way of doing this may be to scold the dog sternly, or deprive it of its favorite toy – the important thing is to establish a link between action and outcome.

If a dog goes to the toilet in the house, there is little point in going to find the dog and handing out punishment there and then. The dog will not connect the punishment with the action. You need to establish this firm link by taking the dog to the scene of the action, and making clear your displeasure. Only then will the dog link cause and effect,


Steer Clear of Over-Punishing Your Dog

There are some people who feel that fear is the best motivator – period. If you want someone to act in a certain way and eschew other behaviors, you will often use the “stick” approach. This works in a fairly simple way – you make clear what you want to happen, and threaten negative results if the outcome is not to your taste.

If the outcome then falls short of what you had hoped, you follow through with your threat. The person then becomes aware that your threat was genuine, and resolves to take you seriously.

The same process is often applied to training a dog. If the dog transgresses in some way, it will be punished. Often this will take the form of a physical punishment such as striking the dog. If this method is applied frequently enough, it will filter through that the behavior and the punishment are linked.

Eventually, or sooner, the dog will make the link in its brain and cease the negative behavior. However, it may also come to see you as its punisher rather than its friend.

The key is to not over-punish your dog. It is simply not accurate to say that fear is the greatest motivator. Anyone who has seen the effects of excessive physical punishment on a dog cannot fail to see how the results can be hugely negative.

It may resist the instinct to transgress, but equally it will not want to do anything at all. And a dog which behaves well, but loses its vitality, says more about its trainer than anything else.


Rewarding Your Dog Is Important

Part of dog training, an important part, is knowing when and how to reward your dog. The concept of positive reinforcement is an important element of training any animal, and dogs have a mentality which responds well to this type of action.

While a human may look for ulterior motives in any reward system – and openly rebel against such actions – a dog will simply see that there is a connection between “good” behavior and good results. This is why positive reinforcement is a necessary part of training any dog.

It works as follows: You want your dog to learn how to respond to a certain command. By repeating that command until the dog carries out the action, you create a link in your dog’s brain between the command and the action. When the dog responds to the command by performing the action, you then reward it by giving it a treat.

The link is then strengthened in the dog’s brain. Command + Action = Treat. The dog will become willing to respond to your command, knowing that the results will be in its favor.

It can take time to make this message stick. Some dogs are less amenable to training than others – just as all humans are different, so are all dogs. But just as all humans have instinctive ways of responding to stimuli, so do all dogs.

It is essential that you give your dog time to work out the right way to react to your training. The benefits will quickly become evident.


Man’s Best Friend?

Training your dog can be either a heck of a lot of fun, or a consistent nightmare for any pet lover depending on a number of factors. Getting it right can, and usually will, take a lot of persistence and a great deal of patience too, even if your pet pooch is generally well-behaved.

The trouble with training even the most well-behaved dog is that you are trying to get it to work against its instincts – and this doesn’t happen overnight.

All the same, it is worth sticking with it. A dog can be taught to follow certain commands, even if it has shown all the signs of being resistant to training. It is a matter of not giving up, and telling yourself that you will not be beaten.

Getting through to your dog may take time, but when you do achieve it you will see that it was worth it. It is important to remember to reward your dog for examples of good behavior, no doubt, because this will make things go a lot smoother.

Dogs really can be man’s best friend. They are fiercely loyal and endlessly entertaining, and are one of the most popular pets in the world for a reason.

If your dog is beginning to get you down by stepping out of line frequently, it is time to put in place a training regime that will teach it the right way to behave. It may be daunting to begin with, but in time you will recognize the benefits and may even begin to enjoy it.