6 Unusual Facts About Dog Psychology
For dog owners, everything about their best friend is worth
knowing, and this includes dog psychology. Although studies
regarding animal psychology are not as numerous as those for
humans, there is work that has been done on canine behavior and
dog memory, just to name a couple of areas of interest. You may
be surprised to know how similar humans and dogs can be when it
comes to their cognition. That is not to say dogs can learn
particle physics, but they are both social creatures who are
greatly influenced by their early experiences and overall
So, in the spirit of psychology, this is a list of some
interesting and perhaps unusual facts about dogs and what goes
on in their minds.
Dog Memory and Canine Cognition and Behavior Facts
- Fear: An emotion that is easily detectable in
some dogs, humans are far too quick to dismiss it as a
reaction to something intimidating (though it very well
could be). The interesting thing is that fear in dogs can be
both acquired and genetic. Early in a dog’s life, fear can
become ingrained due to certain traumatic experiences. Later
in life other fearful or traumatic events can trigger it.
Some dogs are genetically inclined to be fearful as well.
- Antisocial Behavior: Certain dogs seem to have an
inclination towards aggression and violence. These are known
as “red zone” dogs, and given the opportunity they will
attack, bite or even kill. Although generalized notions of
certain breeds exist, these dogs are most likely a product
of poor upbringing without regard to the sensitivities they
experience in their early period of life. To treat and
rehabilitate this type of dog is difficult, but rather than
the ‘medical model’ which treats behavior problems like an
illness, the ‘behavioral approach’ identifies the connection
between the antisocial behavior and the dog’s environment to
- Socialization: Up to the age of 12 weeks is a
critical time for a puppy’s development of social skills. If
a puppy is not properly socialized with other dogs and
people in that time, it could have lifelong consequences.
Some people recommend that a puppy be exposed to as many as
100 different people by that age.
- Depression: Believe it or
not, dogs do suffer from depression. Whether it’s the loss
of a loved one, a dog friend moving away, an attack from
another animal, inclement weather, even a child leaving
home, dogs do experience the sadness and listlessness that
humans identify as depression.
- Overprotection: Known as the
body guard instinct, an overprotective dog has a tendency to
resort to extremely overblown responses to harmless actions
such as the approach of a stranger. Dogs with this pathology
jealously guard an owner, sometimes even from other members
of the family. The behavior gets worse if people have a
scared reaction or if they treat the dog like it’s doing
- Bonding: Through trust building, mental
stimulation, socialization, exercise, positive experiences
and communication an owner builds trust with his or her dog.
Just like children and friends, dogs need to bond with their
owners in order to feel safe, loved and part of the family.
Researchers are learning more and more about dog psychology
which leads owners to create the type of surroundings that
encourage a healthy, well-behaved dog without resorting to
punishment and shame. Dogs are more like humans than most people
think, so it is important to understand what is capable of going
on in their minds so they get the respect they deserve.
Causes of Dog Aggression
A Dog Health Checklist for Prospective Buyers
What Is a Dog Whisperer?
6 Tips for Fixing a Dog Behavior Problem
7 Signs of Dog Separation Anxiety
Understanding Dog Behavior
Causes of Fearful Dog Behavior
Using Xanax for Dogs with Anxiety Disorders
Treating Separation Anxiety with Clomipramine for Dogs