Dog Normal Behavior. Different ways a Puppy learns

It is important to interpret the normal manifestations of the different behaviors the dog has, in order to discover possible alterations. First of all we have to know the difference between innate and acquired behaviors, in order to study the different ways in which the dog learns. This way, it is possible to know when a link in the chain is breaks and can cause problems.

The Innate and Acquired Behaviors: The principal characteristic of an innate behavior is that it cannot be modified. Repressing an instinctive behavior can have serious consequences and lead to different important behavioral upheavals. The acquired behaviors are modeled by the relationship of the animal with its mother, other dogs and the owner.

Different ways a Puppy learns

Learning by Temptations and Failure: Some behaviors have negative consequences for the dog and are easily forgotten; others have good feedback and are conserved in the animal's memory. If a behavior has a nice consequence, the dog keeps it in its memory and concludes that if it is repeated then it will obtain the same answer.

Learning through Observation: The dog must pay close attention to everything that surrounds it: it has to observe other dogs and prove if the behavior is adequate, memorize it and imitate it in function of the situation.

The Relationship between the Dog and its Owner: Knowing the behavior of the dog we can detect possible disfunctions, but only one conduct is not enough to understand it all. The relationships with the owner must be studied globally. How are they restored correctly? What is the insignificant element that can block the whole mechanism and lead to abnormal conducts? As we have seen, it is important that through out the socialization period the dog relates itself to humans, in order to identify them.

The Perception of Humans by the Dog: A child that moves on its four legs and does not understand the dog's language is not recognized as a human being by the dog. Therefore, it can be considered as a stranger, which the dog has to run from or destroy. A child who walks and responds to the dog's language by petting it, but is not sexually mature is recognized as a puppy by the dog. This means that the child will be able to access all of the areas controlled by the dog, but most do it at his will. Since this moment the child turns into a teenager and secretes sexual hormones, now it is considered an adversary for the dog and now the place of dominator must be disputed. Therefore, the young male must affirm its authority.

The adult is someone who the dog must establish a definite hierarchical relationship. In its approximation to the human being we have to understand two phases that the dog goes through:

  • The attraction phase, which is initiated on the third week. During this time the puppy is open to all kinds of discoveries.
  • The aversion phase, which is initiated on the dog's fifth week. During this phase the puppy shows fear before any new encounter.

We have to always consider that the dog reacts to humans as an add-on that forms part of the herd. The social organization of dogs is based on a hierarchy: domain and submission are the two concepts that rule the relationships between humans and dogs. Even though some might find this shocking, the dog has to be dominated by the man. If the situation is reversed a behavioral alteration is produced, denominated as domain aggressiveness. At this point we know enough to prevent behavioral alterations, but we cannot discard a mistake. Therefore we will examine the different expressions of these alterations and the methods to correct them.

seeFIDOPuppy's DevelopmentDog Primary SocializationDog OwnersDog Normal BehaviorBehavior UpheavalsPuppy Separation SyndromeDog DepressionDog BitingDog Sexual BehaviorDog Feeding Behavior