Dog Psychology is a fascinating field and we all want to know more about dog psychology. Why? Because we want a good, well-mannered, kind and intelligent dog. As dog lovers we know they are very intelligent and loving animals.
And, dog psychology training can help your intelligent dog to become street smart.
Welcome to Wholistic Dog Training. Our goal is to bring you the best dog psychology facts and information available on the web. Many dedicated people have spent a significant time of their life to work on this field to explore what works best and what doesn’t. The whole idea is to improve the quality of life for your dog. Knowing about dog psychology helps in gaining a better understanding of our furry friend. What they like and what they don’t like? What triggers certain behaviors? How can a dog become more friendly and calm? How to be proactive so your dog does not adopt aggressive behavior? How do you understand a dog’s body language? And dog breed also affects the temperament and their overall behavior.
Do not expect a dog bred for sheep herding to be your best companion in an apartment setting. Please don’t do that. Get the right dog. It will be good for the dog and you.
Editor Wholistic Dog Training
A dog doesn’t misbehave or become aggressive just like that. There is a reason. In most cases, it is the humans who are on the wrong side. Do not get me wrong. Get a sheep dog for sure, but do meet their needs in every way, and you will have the best dog ever.
I visited the local ASPCA yesterday, and it brought me to tears. Some one fancied a ‘Beautiful Black Labrador’ so they got a puppy. After three years they realized, it was not for them. The beautiful dog was tied up all day long and it had to be rescued by ASPCA. How good is that?
I think as dog owners we really need to explore more and educate ourselves. So we become better dog owners. Because it is not just about your dog. It is about you, your family, your dog and everyone around you. Dog is a member of your family, so there has to be a nice fit.
Psychologists and dog experts are continuously studying the behavior of dogs to know more about them. When we know them better and understand them more, we will be better equipped to do things which works well. Surely we know all about Cesar Milan. Cesar stands out the most because of his celebrity status. And his famous National Geographic Channel dog show called Dog Whisperer. I know you might be going, hang on “There are lot of other people as well who have contributed significantly to this field”.
You’re right, in this website we will explore the works of all the experts who have immensely contributed to the field of Dog Psychology. I hope you will find the information useful and share with us your own experience because you’re the greatest expert for your dog. No one knows better than you do, so welcome again.
Table of Contents
I want to share with you few Dog Psychology Facts and research based information that will amaze and fill you with awe. We all know dogs are very sensitive animals. They have feelings. They love and they care for you and me. As dog lovers we can feel their heart. We don’t care what Science says (maybe we do, but you know what I mean) because we love our dogs to bits. Isn’t it so? I do. And I am sure you do as well because they are our life. We communicate at another level with our dogs. Do you agree with me? Dogs have an uncanny sense or power. What we sometimes call a sixth sense.
Science has already started to recognize some of those things, I just mentioned. But off course in a more systematic, structured and scientific way, so let’s take a closer look what science has to say.
Many dedicated people have spent almost their entire life studying dog behavior and facts about dog psychology. Why? Because they wanted to understand why dog’s do what they do. Or, why they behave in a certain way. And, that’s the whole purpose of dog psychology. So, let’s take a quick peek at few interesting dog psychology facts below.
#1 My Dog Dreams a Lot – Really?
If anyone says to you: my dog dreams a lot. Will you trust them? Believe it or not, they do. You might have noticed when your dog sleeps they twitch or move their paws. They huff, cry or make sudden whining noises. And, you wonder what that is? Yes, they are having a dream. Maybe they are dreaming about you giving them a tasty treat. There is nothing wrong with that. Is there?
So, they do things just like us. When we dream we experience sudden muscle movements, little bit of shaking etc. Through observations and various research experimentation it has been proved that our furry friends do dream.
Dogs do have different stages of sleep like we do. So, they go to a dreaming state where they can see and experience things such as running, playing or actively doing things. I am sure you have done the same in your sleep many, many times in your life. I do the same, and often times I am called by someone in the family, asking if I am OK? Well, I had few occasions where I saw a thief breaking in to my house and even though I tried my best I could not do anything. Did you have such interesting things happen to you? In the same way, dogs do experience such situations in their dream (don’t know about thieves though). But, who knows? I am just using my imaginations here. Isn’t that interesting?
Well, scientists at top universities such as MIT say that animals have complex dreams. So, what I have mentioned above is not just my ‘fairy tale’.
#2 What does it mean when your dog barks at you?
There is a whole science behind the barking of dogs. So, if you’re questioning yourself: What does it mean when your dog barks at you? Then, you’re on the right path on connecting with your furry friend at a finer level. Why? Because that’s how dogs communicate, it is their language. Understanding why dogs bark is the key to decoding what they are telling you and others around you.
Does your dog talk to you?
If I say dog’s talk, you may nod your head and say ‘no way’ or you will say yes I know this already. Actually, a lot of work is being done by the scientists, so that you can talk to your dog soon. No it is not science fiction. It will be a reality soon with these advanced pet translators. So what do dogs hear when we talk to them? Obviously, their responses will be based on what they hear. Let’s say if you don’t know Chinese, and someone says something in Chinese and expects you to respond correctly. Think what you are gonna do? The same principle applies to your dog as well. You will get the same reaction from your dog if you don’t know their language. Why do dogs respond well to seasoned dog handlers or experts? Yes you are right they know how to communicate with them. Cesar Millan or Ian Dunbar are great examples.
This is another area of dog psychology where a lot of time has been spent studying the behavior of dogs. Why do dogs bark? And, what does different types of barking mean? Dog psychology facts about barking prove that dogs bark for a reason. Barking is similar to taking. Believe it or not, I always talked to my dogs even as a child and I still do. And, I love it. Trust me, they understand us more than we may realize.
A dog’s bark may sound like nothing but noise, but it encodes important information.
Now what does scientists, researchers and dog experts say about barking? This is an interesting article in Science Mag. Compulsive barking should never be taken lightly. Because it maybe a sign of bad behavior or some underlying issue.
#3 How long is your dog’s memory span?
Dogs have great memory. This is another interesting dog psychology fact that will blow your mind away. Yes you will be surprised what your dog can remember. And, I don’t have to prove this to you, do I? I will tell you my very own story. We had a beautiful German shepherd dog called Steffi. So when I left home for doing my Master’s degree, I returned back after a long spell of one year. The day when I came back home, my parents went to the airport to pick me up. Before they left for the airport, they told Steffi that I was coming home that day.
What happened next is unbelievable?
Upon reaching home, I found Steffi sitting patiently at the gates for my arrival. Yes she was super excited and greeted me with her special charms. I had my grandmother with us that time. She told me later that Steffi never entered home and sat there waiting for me all the while. My grandmother tried various tricks and treats but it was of no use. So, what would you call that? Magic, memory, sixth-sense or dogs have a special sense of understanding, which we really do not understand well.
Now, if you are going: will my dog remember me after 5 years? Then, please do not under estimate your canine buddy. This is a true story of a dog named ‘Hachiko’ – he continued to wait for his owner over nine years following his death. Yes, the famous Hollywood movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere.
But, there is on-going debate in the scientific community as to how much dogs can actually remember. There is a term called ‘episodic memory’ which means the ability to remember personal and specific moments. So, does your dog remember specific events? And, how much can they remember?
Here is another example. It is unfortunate that we often hear about dog abuse, right. And a lot goes unheard for sure. But, when we come across an abused dog for example, we see the trauma and the stress in them. This shows that they can remember various experiences either good or bad. Dogs are intelligent animals and they can relate to situations and things.
#4 Do Dogs Grieve the Loss of another Dog?
Yes they do. Dogs have feelings like we do. Dogs do grieve the loss of another dog. You have seen in the above example of Hachiko how he went to the railway station every day and waited for his owner to come back. Hachiko missed his owner. In the same way, if a dog loses its own pack member they will look for the other dog or miss them. As you know already, dogs live in packs and they have a pack structure. When a member goes away for whatever reason they can see and the destabilized pack structure. This causes stress and anxiety. Experts suggest few strategies to help dogs grieve.
#5 Dogs intelligence compared to humans
That is true. Dogs intelligence has been compared to humans. And, it seems dogs are as smart as a two year old baby. So, how does it really compare? Yes, they have a great sense of smell. It is fascinating to know that your dog has the capability to count. According to American Psychological Association, dogs can understand more than 150 words. Wow!
What else? Interesting find: In the United States and Canada, data were collected from 208 dog obedience judges. The results were fascinating, it showed the differences in working and obedience intelligence of various dog breeds.
“Border collies are number one; poodles are second, followed by German shepherds. Fourth on the list is golden retrievers; fifth, dobermans; sixth, Shetland sheepdogs; and finally, Labrador retrievers.”
Stanley Coren, PhD, University of British Columbia
Source: Stanley Coren
Stanley says, your dog will be able to count up to four or five. Do you want to try that? I bet, it will be lot of fun for sure. No just that. Your dog also has a basic understanding of arithmetic and he or she will notice errors in simple computations, such as 1+1=1 or 1+1=3. Is it not awesome?
Dogs have interests. They have interest sniffing each other, chasing squirrels. And if we don’t make that a reward in training, that will be a distraction. It’s always sort of struck me as really a scary thought that if you see a dog in a park, and the owner is calling it, and the owner says, you know, “Puppy, come here, come here,” and the dog thinks, “Hmm, interesting. I’m sniffing this other dog’s rear end, the owner’s calling.” It’s a difficult choice, right? Rear end, owner. Rear end wins. I mean, you lose. You cannot compete with the environment, if you have an adolescent dog’s brain. So, when we train, we’re always trying to take into account the dog’s point of view.