Dog Training

Dog Psychology: Facts & Tips to Interpret Your Dog Better

It is not easy to understand members of another species. Therefore, you may find it very difficult to make sense of your dog's behavior. This lack of understanding between you can lead to some problems. To avoid that, there are some tips you can follow to understand dog pshychology better.

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It is crucial to have a close relationship with your dog to understand his behavior better.

A dog has remarkable intelligence. Naturally, it cannot be compared with that of humans. We humans often lose sight of this fact. 

We "humanize" our darling too much. This can have fatal consequences. Your pet communicates with you as the owner just as he does with other dogs.

This misunderstood communication can have various consequences. 

For example, a bad human-dog relationship. The mood of your pet suffers heavily from this. The result: aggressive behavior and stubbornness.

That is why understanding dog psychology is a must if you want to strengthen your bond. 

Owners who want to get along better with their pets should definitely apply basic principles of a dog's psychology. There are also some intriguing facts that might pique your interest!

Apply Dog Psychology to Problems

Dogs information

Understanding dog psychology can save you a lot of problems. That way, your pet will feel that you understand him, thus, enhancing your bond.

Having a grasp of dog psychology is said to help with several behavioral issues:

  • Barking and growling to people.
  • Showing aggression on eye contact.
  • Tampering with the furnishes. 
  • Fearful behavior.
  • Bad habits (such as leaking inside, bad hygiene or pulling on the leash too hard).

8 Interesting Facts of Dog Psychology

Although these facts might seem mundane, they actually help you in realizing how a dog's mind works.

Through these details, you'll get into your pet's shoes and interpret his behavior more accurately.

1) Dogs Have Dreams

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Your dog makes strange movements and noises during sleep? No need to worry! He's having a dream 😊

It is believed that dreaming has the same function in dogs as it does in humans: they're processing what they had experienced during the day. Yours possibly consolidates learned exercises or activities in his slumber.

2) Who's a Smart Boy?

Dogs are intelligent creatures - this is known to almost everyone. There's a reason why they are used by the police. What's more, they also aid in therapy and guiding the blind. 

Their intelligence play a vital role in understanding dog psychology. 

Since these pets hold a great emotional psychology, they can understand us far better than other pets. They also feel more empathy and compassion towards humans.

According to scientists in dog psychology, dogs have the intelligence of a 2-year-old toddler. As a result, they are able to recognize between 150 and 250 words.

3) They Recognize Your Tone of Voice

Your dog can in fact recognize the different tones in your voice. He knows exactly when he has done something wrong and why you tell him off. It's not rare to see a pet making a guilty face after hearing you calling them over with a stern voice.

4) Yawning Doesn't Equal Tired

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Yawning is known as an expression of tiredness, but that's not always the case. Through yawning, your dog also manages to relax and relieve stress. 

For instance, if your pet had a stressful day or quite a fearful experience, he will yawn more than usual.

5) Dogs Are Social Animals

Nobody would ever deny that dogs need social interactions to be mentally healthy. 

Nevertheless, we make a great emphasis on this point. Regardless of how much you pamper your pet with your displays of love, his pack instinct won't go away. 

For that reason, go to the park once or twice a week. Take a walk with other dog owners, too. Your pet will thank you for it!

6) Barking Is Not Just a Warning

Dogs don't bark only when they are angry or have an aggressive attitude.

Barking serves as one of the most large means of communication your dog has it his disposal. As a result, this action may express several meanings:

  • A call for attention
  • An expression of joy and gratitude
  • A form of greeting

All in all, barking is not only a warning. Additionally, there are other cues that will tell you more why your dog is barking. The physical posture of your pet is an important sign to interpret this action.

7) Your Dog’s Posture Says a Lot

Body language includes: wagging its tail, a pointed tail, or a crouched posture. These body signals say a lot about your pet's state of mind and mood.

There are a set of body signs that have a common meaning attached to them:

Wagging Tail

A dog wagging its tail is usually a good sign. It expresses joy. Your pet is possibly in the mood for some fooling around. 

Upright Head Posture

An upright head posture generally means your dog wants to play. The person to whom he directs this posture should start playing with him!

Lowered Posture

A lowered posture reflects rather the opposite of joy. If your dog takes a lower stance that involves his whole body, then he might feel intimidated or afraid. 

Tucked Tail

A tucked tail is often an alarming sign. By tucking their tails, dogs show they're afraid of something. Nevertheless, your pet might also tuck his tail after being told off. 

Stretched Out

This posture tells your pet is relaxed and in a good mood. Your dog may adopt this posture especially after a fun and active day.

8) Whining Is an Alarm

When your dog whines, you can assume that he is currently very unhappy or even in pain. Nonetheless, it's not a good thing. 

There are numerous reasons why a pet may whine: 

  • Missing someone
  • Being sad
  • Going through pain
  • Feeling unwell

In any case, whining is a warning signal: there's something that is affecting your dog. After all, pets are known to grief loved ones, too. 

If yours was close to other pets or a person no longer here, it's very likely your dog is mourning their passing away. 

In case your dog starts whining out of the blue, it might be that he's going through pain or is feeling unwell. In such a case, you should immediately consult with a veterinarian.

5 Tips to Understand Your Dog Better

Dog friend nature

Here are some of the best tips that will aid you in understanding dog psychology.

1) Dogs Won’t Listen When Afraid

Fear is not only counterproductive for humans. It's also detrimental for dogs. You should never base your relationship based on fear; otherwise, you'll never be able to get through your pet. 

2) Manage the Pack

Since dogs are pack animals, you should always have a hierarchy in your relationship. 

You need to be the leader. The one who decides the roles in the pack. So as to create order in your pack, remain consistent with your leadership. 

3) Be Consistent With Rules

In dog psychology, and training too, it is also important to apply a certain amount of rules. Needless to say, rules are not to be applied everywhere, every time, but too few rules are also disadvantageous. 

Furthermore, you should consider in advance which principles are most important for your dog and for you. These rules should be clear and consistently applied. 

4) Reward Your Dog

You reward your dog by giving away treats, petting him or cuddling with him.. It's imperative to award your pet for its good behavior consistently and make it a habit in your everyday life. 

As a matter of course, your dog needs to deserve your praise. Only reward when necessary.  

5) Take Your Time

A dog-human relationship should in no way be accompanied by stress. It is important that patience is the highest priority. 

For example, if you are teaching your dog new methods or exercises, always keep in mind it will take some time. 

Stress, pressure or even an aggressive way of education are out of place and an absolute no-go.

My Conclusion

Understanding dog psychology is key to harness a loving relationship between you and your pet. 

If you follow our tips, nothing will stand in the way of your bond!

As a final note, we would like to stress that dog training should never violence, aggression, impatience and stress. 

Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and build an inseparable bond.

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