What's the first thing to know about my dog? Understand that your dog is a dog. Although he's been with people longer than any animal, he is an animal, not a human child.
Handy, Dandy, Doggy Things To Know…
There are quite a few people out there that will swear their dog must be human. Facial expressions, motions the dog goes thru, sounds it makes can definitely give us the impression that the dog is almost human. But what a lot of people don't realize is a dog is a dog period.
Example: If it barks like a dog, walks and wags like a dog, and looks like a dog it’s probably a dog.
I have seen people put their children at enormous risk by leaving the family dog alone with the children. You may have had the dog for years, it may have been raised with children and you may believe that the dog is "safe with kids", that he's one of the children in the household and wouldn't dare harm anyone in the family but the simple fact is; a dog is a dog, period.
There's a pecking order. Human or canine, the head of the human family pack is the mother or father and then the pack members, dog and children, in that order.
This is because, for the most part, a dog will have a higher rank in the pack than the children until they get older. Therefore, the dog feels it's his duty to the pack to serve, punish (if needed) and protect.
Did you know that the way a mother dog makes her puppies behave and be quiet is by placing her mouth over their little heads an applying pressure?
She doesn't have to growl, the mother dog just applies continuing pressure until the puppy quiets down. It must imprint on the puppy because that is also one of the ways adult dogs assert dominance.
So if your puppy is barking, instead of shouting "shut up", you need to get up and while saying whatever command you plan to use to make him be quiet, put your hand over his muzzle and apply a little pressure so he gets the message. You do NOT have to keep the dominant hold more than a couple of seconds. You are speaking his language, the one his mother taught him. He will "get it" instantly because you're speaking his language!
It may surprise him if you haven't done it before. If it is a new adult dog, he will be amazed at what you know. Do not overdo it. If it's an adult guarding breed you just acquired, be firm but quick, then release before he might think about challenging you. He will be confused but impressed!
How do our children react to pain or discomfort? They cry, yell, scream (usually shrilly) which can cause the dog to have an instant "normal" reaction of placing its mouth over the head or closest part of the child's body and apply pressure to stop the noise.
How does the child react? Same as above but at much higher volume! So the dog clamps down harder. The next thing you know the child has been bitten, sometimes severely. The dog has no way of knowing that humans are supposed to make noise when in pain and the child doesn't know to become completely still (submissive) and quiet like a puppy when pressure is applied.
If more people realized and understood some of the things that make a dog tick, there would be less injury to humans and less termination/euthanization of a good dog just doing what dogs do.
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