ABTRTALKS2What Your Dog's Behavior Is Really Saying About You

We like to attribute all sorts of emotions to our dogs. But, truth be told, they are much simpler than humans. They are motivated by the basics - food, activity and companionship. That being said, a dog's behavior around his owners does have meaning. From the desire to protect you to an intuition about your health and happiness, read on to discover what your dog would tell you if he could speak.





 I Want To Protect You!

You may think your dog belongs to you, but you belong to your dog, as well. That means he is going to claim you and protect you. When he's sitting on your foot, it's an ownership thing. If his [bottom] is on you, he is marking your foot. It is not just that he wants to be close to you, he is saying, 'This is mine; now it smells like me, and don't go near it.' He does this for three main reasons: to feel secure about his place in your life, to warn other dogs that you are spoken for and because he wants to protect you. To ensure your protection, dogs will also bark at guests, growl at other dogs when outside and pull on the leash while out for a walk. There's a line of thinking that the dog is your scout. He sees himself as a member of the pack, and he wants to make sure everything is cool before you get there.




 I Can Sense When You Are In A Bad Mood.
Whether it was a stressful day at work or a fight with your significant other, your dog will pick up on how you feel—and feel it too. It goes without saying, when you are stressed, they are more stressed; when you are happier, they are happy. They match up moods with you better than a spouse or a partner, they sit there and study you. This relationship works the other way also: If you want to make your pooch relax, you know just where to scratch; if you want to be more playful, you know how to pet him. You can, like a gas pedal, change that dynamic with your dog,





 I Am Scared That You Will Not Come Back!
While most dogs are going to bark for a few minutes when you leave the house—just to let you know you are forgetting someone—some dogs have a much more serious reaction. If you watch a video of a dog with separation anxiety, it will tear your heart out. It is like the kid lost at the mall without his parents, they freak out. They think you are not coming back. They often attack the area where you leave; they will tear up the doorframe, they are destructive. If you come home and they have had diarrhea or [are excessively] panting, their cortisol levels are high, and you have to take action. You might need to speak with a dog behaviorist to receive a training program and possibly a canine antidepressant. To help assuage the trauma associated with your departure, you can try these training intervals: Put your coat on, grab your keys and go stand outside for 30 seconds. Come back in, and then go out for one minute, then five, and build from there. It's also helpful to give your dog a treat before you leave, or feed him using an interactive food puzzle to keep him distracted.




 I Can Tell When You Are Not Feeling Well.

It is a hard phenomenon to explain, but many dogs seem to be able to detect illness in their owners. New evidence has found that some dogs can actually detect a wide array of serious conditions, including cancer, as well as seizures related to epilepsy. We know that there is a chemical marker that a few dogs are detecting, just like they can detect bed bugs, mold, peanuts, drugs and explosives. They can smell the ketones on a diabetic's breath when their sugar is low. For epileptics [about to have a seizure], they can alert their owner so they can get out of harm's way. Some canines are even more naturally empathetic to humans. Often, these dogs become therapy dogs, providing affection to those in need, while also sensing—and being able to react to—health problems. Some people just need a dog to lay still with them; others need a reason to get out of the bed. It's the weirdest thing how therapy dogs know when to [move] close or far away,



   Please Pay Attention When I Am Not Myself.

It is important to pay attention to your dog's behavior, because if something seems out of place, he is probably not feeling well. You want to catch things in the earliest period to prevent unnecessary pain.  You just need to pay attention to your intuition. That means noticing behavior that is out of the norm; he is not as playful as usual, he is acting aggressively and he has trouble getting up or isn't eating properly. You want to pay particular attention to eating habits. Food is their currency. If he isn't eating enough or is eating too much, if he's drinking more water or needs to eliminate more, or if you have a dog that's losing weight, then something's wrong.




  I Need A Routine, But With A Little Variety.

They say that a dog's mental capacity is that of a toddler; and just like a toddler, dogs thrive on routine. Knowing what to expect is really, really important, otherwise they don't know how to react.  A general routine is best, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything at the same time each day. In fact, varying the time will actually help in the long run. Otherwise, your dog will start running the show. You don't want them to force how the clock works. If they do, it's likely that your dog will insist on his 5 a.m. feeding on a Sunday, when you want to sleep until 8 a.m. Vary it up. If you control their food, you control them—in a good way.




Please Be Clear When I Am Doing Something Wrong.

Correcting your dog is important and how you do it is key. Avoid explaining your dog's behavior to him, or using a calm voice. Take a firm (not mean) tone and be direct. Dogs respond to tone. If you say, 'No!' while a bad action is happening, you are going to get a much better response than if you say it in a gentle voice or wait to say it afterwards. To ensure results, it has to be said in the moment of action and in the same way every time. If you want to train your dog to be calm when he sees another dog, you cannot wait until that dog has passed to give him a treat for being good. You cannot wait until you get home.





There is no doubt your dog is part of the family, but that does not mean she should be treated like a person. Whether your dog eliminates in the house or chews up the remote, the cause has nothing to do with revenge. It is not an emotional or rational response. It is either a lack of training, illness or a stress reaction that can be triggered by a change in the house. So, if your dog is acting out start by trying to find the root cause. Is she sick, improperly trained or has there been a recent change in routine? Once you locate the cause, understanding and correcting her behavior will be much easier.





 Scruffy Louise