When we commit to truly understanding dogs for who they are, then our lives have the potential to become richer, less stressful, easier and much less of a financial burden. It’s one of those areas where, if you get the basics right, everything follows of its own accord, with no effort.
I, for one, like that!
The Three Basic Principles For Understanding Dogs
1 Dogs are naturally pack or family animals
This means in the wild, they live in a group. They are strongly family orientated. They are generally gregarious. They are friendly. They love company. They are naturally playful.
Most of us know all this. But what many don’t realise is that the opposite of all this can be hellish for a dog. Such as keeping a single dog, with no company. Such as not including the dog in family matters, by keeping them outside. Such as not spending time with them, playing and larking around.
Dogs want to be included in family matters and they want to be part of the human pack/family.
2 Dogs are hunters
There are several take home messages here.
- Hunters are geared to exercise. Even little dogs need regular exercise.
- Hunters consume raw meat and bones from their kill.
- Dogs hunt in a pack and each one has their special role in the hunt, supporting the others. It’s team work at its best.
3 Dogs have a strong hierarchy system
A group of any beings who work together skilfully (and hunting requires great skill, precision and agility) not only needs good communication, it needs leadership. The dog hierarchy system consists of an elected alpha pair (the breeding pair), then the rest of the pack usually in descending order of age, with the puppies at the bottom.
The breeding pair are elected by the group on the basis of their ability to keep the pack safe, sheltered and fed. They make all the major decisions. They lead the pack to and in a hunt.
Their inner qualities are calm, quiet in nature, great wisdom, gentle, very responsible. They will discipline anyone who steps out of line, but it will be done without malice or anger and will be over quickly. They don’t dwell on it.
When we bring a dog into our family, very few people know any of this and will simply keep the dog the way they always have.
This can lead to multiple problems including aggression, depression, digging up the garden, escaping, all manner of misbehaviour and all manor of illnesses.
Whilst it is inappropriate for most of us to get everything right for a dog to be totally happy with us, the following will go a long way:
- make sure the dog has company most of the time
- include your dog as part of the family
- exercise your dog regularly according to their size, weight, age, ability
- learn how to be a natural dog leader, in dog language, not human language
- feed your dog according to their evolution
- By following these principles, your dog is not only going to be much happier, they are also likely to be much healthier.
Understanding dogs means taking a broad view of who dog is from their standpoint, not yours. By discovering who they are and what their basic needs are. Then you shed a load from their shoulders.