3 Things Every Dog Wants you to Know
Whether you own one dog, 10 dogs, or you’re simply an aspiring pet parent, these three tips will help you understand your canine friends and keep them wagging for more.
X’s and O’s
The history of hugging is entirely human. Like humans, dogs crave touch and affection. Unlike humans, dogs do not equate a warm embrace and a tight squeeze with love. For most dogs, a hug can feel like a confusing trap. Unbeknownst to us, our dogs may be thinking: Why is this human squeezing me? Ouch! That hurts! Or, how do I get away from this?
To avoid putting any dog in an uncomfortable or confusing situation, skip the hug and instead offer a scratch under the chin, a soft pet behind the ears or a belly rub.
Not all dogs think, feel or act the same way. If you have a dog that loves a good hug, go for it! Remember, just because your dog likes hugs from you doesn’t mean they would like a hug from a stranger. Discouraging children or guests from hugging your dog is the best way to keep everyone (including Fido) safe and happy.
Physical exercise is a key ingredient in a long and healthy life for both you and your dog. Sometimes, mother nature stands in our way of an outdoor adventure. Lucky for us, exercising your dog’s mind can be equally as exhausting as exercising their body.
Playing games like find it and treat roulette or simply teaching your dog a new trick are great ways to stimulate their mind and body. Playing brain games with your dog reduces stress and is fun for all!
Just because your dog is barking at a person or another dog does not mean they are showing aggression or intent to harm.
In dog world, not all barks are created equal. Similar to the way humans manipulate tone and volume, dogs are also capable of modifying their bark to mean different things. “Dogs might be able to subtly alter their voices to produce a wide variety of different sounds that could have different meanings. Dogs might even be altering their voices in ways that are clear to other dogs but not to humans” (scientificamerican.com)
Since it’s not possible (yet!) for us to understand what our dogs are saying, studying your dog’s body language is a great way to gain clues about how they are feeling and what they are trying to communicate.
Will Work For Food
If following obedience commands (e.g., sit, down, stay, come) is considered your dog’s job, make treats your dog’s paycheck. Humans need a bit of incentive to work hard -- so do dogs.