Things You May Not Know About Dog Psychology
Mar 30, 2016
We all know our pets are special, but advancements in science and technology have allowed researchers to offer some additional insight into dog psychology. Currently we know much more about dog psychology and behaviors, dog training techniques and the way that a dog’s mind functions than we did years in the past.
Since so many developments have been made in this area, we thought it might be helpful to have a list of ten things you may not know about dog psychology.
- Dogs respond to nonverbal and verbal cues at a similar level to human two-year-olds. Some dogs are even able to understand basic sign language, which suggests that incorporating a visual element with training cues is a helpful reminder.
- Barking is a self-rewarding activity, meaning it can be difficult to stop because of the conditioned response that barking often incurs some other motion, sound, or activity.
- Dogs are four times more likely to bite or become aggressive when a male is involved, either in walking the dog or passing by with another dog. This most likely stems from a dog’s ability to pick up on a walker’s emotions and aggression.
- MRIs of the canine brain indicate that dogs experience positive emotions similar to that of a human child. Among other things, the sight of familiar humans seems to trigger positive feelings in a dog’s brain. In other words, yes, your dog really is that excited to see you when you get home from work.
- Curiosity may motivate the traditional canine bottom-sniff greeting. Scent matching can allow a dog to place another dog at the site of a marking. Your dog may be trying to match smells along their route with dogs they meet.
- Male dogs prefer to play with female dogs, whereas female dogs do not discriminate between playmates. This may arise from an evolutionary need for mothers to care for pups of both sexes.
- Dogs also learn from human emotions! A dog can translate their owner’s emotions and behaviors to the object a person is looking at. Thus, your dog may be more likely to interact with a toy that you have already interacted with positively.
- Dogs can learn basic manners by modeling the behaviors of other dogs. As a result of this, it’s often easier to train a puppy with an already well-trained older dog in the house.
- Exercise and socialization are a huge factor in helping ease anxiety, improving overall health, and behavior.
- MRI testing has shown that a canine brain reacts similarly to sounds of joy and pain in much the same way as a human, meaning that dogs are able to understand the differences in human vocal intonations and the meanings behind them.