Dogs Behavior Guide And Tips For Beginners
Dog Care Tips · Dog Behavior

Dogs Behavior Guide And Tips For Beginners

Last Updated/Info Checked on February 20, 2023 by Linda Michaels

Dogs have emotions as we do, but how they show them is quite different as they can’t talk. Don’t take my word for it. Science has already proven that these animals are capable of showing grief, happiness, anger, trust, distrust, likes and dislikes, and so on.

You won’t know how the dog feels inside, and that’s where their behavior surrounding these emotions come in.

You’ll find a detailed dog behavior guide below with expert tips on taming or controlling unwanted ones. 

Dogs And Owners – 5 Key Behavioral Aspects To Look Out For

Experts have summarized a dog’s behavior into 5 different areas that define how they will react in the supposed situations and how your reaction will impact them.

That’s important information for a new dog owner to have, as taking care of a dog is a whole new ballgame. Heck, you’d have to think thrice before owning a certain breed because not every dog is suited for first parents, owing to their temperaments.

To help you get started, here are 5 key areas you should focus on when you bring home an adorable pup.

1. Degree of Affection

Dogs, as a whole, are affectionate animals but animals they are after all. Their anger depends on their upbringing, past experiences, and more.

However, one breed’s temperament may be predisposed to more affection than others.

For example, German Shepherds are less demanding dogs, but their sheer size makes them unsuitable for apartment dwellings. You shouldn’t compromise on their freedom just because they are highly affectionate. An apartment’s small size may lead to territorial aggression, which I will explain later.

Then, there are corgis and beagles. They are small dogs, docile, and they live to make you happy. Keeping them in your apartment won’t be a problem as they’re good at living in small places.

Compared to these, Rottweilers, Huskies, and Alaskan Malamutes can get out of hand in a matter of a minute. They are affectionate, too, but without proper training, that could turn into nipping and biting. Any breed that requires in-depth training to control isn’t a good choice for novices.

Australian shepherds and Dobermans are affectionate to the point that they can’t tolerate loneliness. They are intelligent and outgoing, which again, could be a headache for a new owner. 

2. Aggression

Dogs have personal spaces and boundaries also, regardless of the breed. However, going through the right training, some of them easily accept other dogs or strangers inside their supposed territory, while some take time. Their aggression could be multi-faceted, ranging from the territory, threat, safety, or food.

At the same time, there are hyperactive breeds that take their jobs too seriously. Their behavior surrounding them becomes fodder for misunderstanding. The owners call them aggressive when they are intrinsically not. 

One such example is Border Collies. They aren’t aggressive as such, but their herding enthusiasm could lead to nipping and biting, chasing kids, and “herding” multiple things around the house.

French Bulldogs, on the other hand, are small dogs. They are okay with sharing their space with other dogs or animals.

Great Danes aren’t aggressive, but they know how to show their limits. Their regal appearance and sheer size should be enough to let everyone know about them.

The German shepherd’s aggression depends on how it’s been trained. They work with law and order institutions, which shows their malleable nature.

Rottweilers and Bulldogs have the same disposition, but no matter how calm they are, the on-lookers still may consider them a threat because of their imposing looks.

Also, a dog’s aggression has underlying aspects. Taking care of them not only roots out that behavioral tick but also paves the way for the formation of favorable ones. And that’s how you calm an aggressive dog and make them friendly toward a stranger.

3. Playing

Dogs show a variety of behaviors during play. That includes a tinge of territorial aggression and prey drive, lots of fun, subtle communication, and discussion with their playmates.

Therefore, owning a dog under the same roof as other pets requires attention, especially when they’re all fired up to play together.

Most dogs do get along with each other and the different animals you own. Still, there are exceptions to be made. Not every breed has a subtle temperament to make room for someone else other than you.

The Dobermans qualify for that slot. They are naturally aggressive toward other dogs, even during playtimes. You’ll have to put in great effort to socialize them.

Staffies are also single-minded breeds that value independence more than sharing. They are inclined to show dominance over smaller dogs, so you may see them tripping the poor souls when they play. 

On the other hand, French bulldogs are harmless creatives with little to no prey drive. They get along with other dogs easily, but they may not be fond of playing a lot as they are popular couch potatoes.

Corgis and Dachshunds, in contrast, are sporty and energetic. They don’t like the presence of other dogs so much, but with proper training, they can make best friends in a matter of days.

Great Danes are enormous, but their size doesn’t limit their childish behaviors during playdates. They aren’t territorial, so you could easily take them to dog parties.

Compared to Great Danes, huskies use their sizes to topple kids and small dogs. That could be because of sheer evil will to dominate them.

Rottweilers, here too, are stereotyped because of their appearance. It is far from their truth of being good with other dogs after proper training. I said that because the breed is vigilant, its prey drive could kick in at any point.

Chihuahuas are smaller than rottweilers, but their small size deceives many parents into taking them as a dog-friendly breed. It is family oriented but not friendly toward other dogs, typically. They may perceive them as threats, and hence, all hell may break loose during playtimes.

That being said, you may be interested in owning specific breeds. I get a lot of questions about German Shepherds and their behavior toward Pitbulls and Golden Retrievers. They do get well with other breeds but again, it all boils down to individual training.

That’s true for all breeds. Training them right from their puppyhood could make them accept babies and any other animal, from cats to horses. Puppy socialization is a whole training regime that owners and trainers worldwide follow to condition dogs to live with other animals.

4. Communication

Dogs do not communicate as we do, but you could derive a thing or two from their body language. There are signs to look for; cuddling is one of them.

Again, I’d say here that only some dogs are cuddlers. Others are aloof to this type of show of affection or communication. However, that doesn’t mean they are completely barren. The signs of communication are many, and they could choose any. Also, the absence of one sign doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the presence of a behavior.

For example, if a dog doesn’t like cuddling, it may not mean that it hates you. 

Huskies aren’t cuddlers by nature per se, and still, a few of their traits make them so. They are sensitive and moody. They also look for warmth in winter. These may make them cuddle you for a brief time but not for long as they are generally aloof, have thick double coats, and are single-minded at best.

On the other hand, Chihuahuas are big cuddlers. They are family oriented; they hate staying alone, and they cannot tolerate cold weather among other things.

The same is the case with German Shepherds, whose bountiful love for their families, children, and all sorts of play could make them love cuddling. But the degree depends on how well you have trained the pup. They are also double-coated, so any cuddle that lasts long enough to warm them up beyond their moods could make them jump out of your hold.

The beagles may not be easy to housetrain, but they require no training to shower their affection on you. Just like GSDs, they are family-oriented and open to children and strangers. Akin to Chihuahuas, they aren’t good at beating winters. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when your beagle wants to lie in your lap for endless sessions.

Boxers share more or less the same traits as Beagles and Chihuahuas when it comes to cuddling. They have a friendly nature, almost puppyish sometimes. So, they will cuddle you when they need love, warmth, and attention.

Poodles have three main variants, each having a different propensity to cuddle. The Standard Poodles, either because of their size or temperament, do not wish to be your cuddle buddies for a long time. Miniature Poodles, on the other hand, are a little more tolerant to human hold, while Toy Poodles are built for holding. However, any of these variants could snap at any time and try to wriggle out of your arms. 

That’s essentially true for all the breeds. Cuddling is, in one way, a show of love, but in many ways, it may convey the dog’s specific needs. Your dog may have been scared by something or someone. That cuddle will differ from the one showing affection. Similarly, a dog may come running to your arms, intimidated by another dog. The winter is a potential driver of cuddles, but most importantly, it’s like the species and the degree of attention you give it.

When raising your pup, make sure to give it adequate but not too much attention, as its behavior may leap from wanting cuddles to delving into separation-related anxieties.

5. Prey Drive

Prey drive is part and parcel of a dog’s behavior. It could alter its temperament for the very moment when it kicks in. Blaming the dog for running at a rodent, after a child, or another pet is futile as a result because you cannot remove it completely from its behavior. But you can control it or at least teach the dog to stop dashing away from you.

That’s where obedience training or negative reinforcement with the help of training collars comes in handy.

Still, a little risk will always be there despite training. For example, train Akitas all you want; they will still hate other dogs and strangers. They also dislike being in a household full of kids. Every now and then, you could see them chasing the poor beings around, nipping at their toes. It’s all a matter of something in their brain pulling off that switch.

Beagles, too, have a high prey drive that makes them poor lap dogs. They want to run and chase small games, so you may devise plans and training sessions to get a hold of that.

There are breeds that have earned a bad name for their herding instincts. Many people mistake it for their prey drives, but that’s not the case. Take Corgis as an example. They are herding dogs that may chase living things (including your kids) when undertrained. That may seem like a threat for people who don’t know anything about the herding instinct, but that’s on them, not the breed.

How Could These 5 Behavioral Aspects Make Your Pup A Better Dog After Training?

Early puppy training has benefits for you and the pup. Training them to show affection and aggression in a controlled manner, play without harming anyone, control their prey drive, and use effective communication mechanisms, whether physical or vocal, will surely make them a better dog that, along with other bad behaviors, does not jump on you or anyone else.

Methods to train them as such are many, and we have discussed them in detail on the website. You may want to check them out to take a good start.

But if your dog kicks you when lying down, know that no amount of training could reduce it. The behavior is a hallmark for saying “I love you” and “you are mine.” You gotta let go of some things.

Dogs Behavior Guide and Tips – Conclusion

Dogs are simple animals with simple behavior and instincts that could be categorized into 5 types explained above. They show them with their body language and vocals. You can target these 5 behavioral aspects as a dog owner to train your pet and help it grow into a better dog. Keep in mind, however, that regardless of how simple the animal is, training it may not be as there are many training regimes. Some of them may work, while others may not.

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