Understanding dog behaviour before you get a dog!

Understanding dog behaviour. This cute puppy is a Samoyed and has a breed tendency to herd.

Understanding Dog Behaviour before getting a dog!

By now I hope you have read part one of this 5-part series that explains the 5 things you need to know before getting a dog. This post is all about understanding dog behaviour before becoming a dog parent.

This topic is very important to help you choose the right dog to bring home! It will help you decide if you can manage living with a dog and meeting his needs.

Every dog has an individual personality!

Dog behaviour, just like that of humans, is very complicated. So I recommend that you research the different breeds to learn about their physical and behavioural characteristics. Because then you can choose the breed that best matches your lifestyle! But keep in mind that when it comes to dog behaviour, there are general assumptions about each breed. However, research has shown that there is more variation of behaviour within a breed than between breeds. Here’s one article in Psychology Today by Marc Bekoff Ph.D that discusses this phenomenon. So it’s important that you understand that your future dog will have his own unique temperament and personality regardless of his breed. Plus, if you get a mixed breed or rescue dog, the behavioural characteristics are even more unpredictable! This is because you won’t know for sure what percentages of each breed are in the dog’s genetics, and how those will interact with each other.

Research breeds for general characteristics to understand dog behaviour.

This all being said, I highly recommend that you research various dog breeds to understand what each one is bred for and to discern their generally expected behavioural patterns. But even purebred dogs typically known to have certain personalities may not exhibit those traits. For example, you may get a Golden Retriever because they can be good with other dogs and children. However, to encourage that outcome, he will also need to be well socialized with people and pets inside your home and out in the wider world. Because dog behaviour varies within a breed, you need to be prepared for a dog of any breed to act with an individual tendency. This means you should expect the unexpected and understand how to help the dog relate well to all from the very beginning of ownership. As you can see, genetics alone do not dictate a dog’s disposition. His behaviour also depends on your ability to train and nurture your dog appropriately.

Be aware of your local dog owner regulations and by-laws.

And lastly, be aware of dog ownership liability. In many countries and regions local bylaws spell out dog ownership responsibilities to ensure that a dog does not physically injure any person or other people’s pets or property. So ultimately, you need to understand your dog’s breed traits and all facets of his individual personality to proactively address dangerous dog behaviours or situations, thus protecting public safety, and complying with the animal bylaws in your jurisdiction.

Coming soon! Budgeting for living with a dog.

In part III of this series, I will help you decide whether you can afford the yearly costs to care for a dog. Can you afford to maintain his quality of life for as long as he lives? In this segment, you will learn about the important costs involved with caring for a dog over his lifetime. Stay tuned!

Yours in better dog care, Judy

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