Why Dogs Do What They Do

Get to know your dog better by understanding his natural behavior traits.

By | Posted: Thu Sep 14 00:00:00 PDT 2000

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Dogs bite, which may have been the most important reason humans had for keeping dogs. Hunting large animals was dangerous in the Stone Age. If a dog attacked wildebeests in exchange for the promise of scraps, the humans were satisfied. Dogs that failed to attack were not kept as breeding stock, so it shouldn't be surprising that dogs bite. Today's dogs bite intruders, fast-moving objects (especially screaming children), people who want to take their possessions and veterinarians who want to poke and prod them  which is like the Stone Age, mi nus veterinarians.

Along with the chasing/biting behavior of early hunting dogs, scent detection was also important. A dog could detect prey far better than a human by using its highly sensitive nose. Today they use this trait to find delectable garbage, goose humans and locate decayed animals. If your dog drags some roadkill through the doggie door or tries to get too friendly with Aunt Polly, don't be surprised.

Much is made of the fact that wolves live in relative harmony because of pack dominance. This implies they have a hierarchy and a number of behaviors to reduce violence between pack members. As long as you say wolves, you are mostly correct. But this isn't the case with dogs, which are significantly different from their ancestors. The study that counted how often Cocker Spaniels bark also looked at how dogs live when not exposed to humans. The scientists isolated family groups of five breeds in their own small fenced areas. The dogs were observed but had no contact with humans other than for food and water. Beagles wee even more passive that wolves while Fox Terriers had regular, bloody fights.

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DaMuff   Milwaukee, WI

5/5/2011 4:28:08 PM

Nice article. It is good to be reminded about the dog;s origins. I would love to know more about the other animals that they were bred with... how do get the different looks and behaviors.

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DaMuff   Milwaukee, WI

5/5/2011 4:26:53 PM

Nice article. It is good to be reminded about the dog;s origins. I would love to know more about the other animals that they were bred with... how do get the different looks and behaviors.

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DaMuff   Milwaukee, WI

5/5/2011 4:25:22 PM

Nice article. It is good to be reminded about the dog;s origins. I would love to know more about the other animals that they were bred with... how do get the different looks and behaviors.

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Livvie   Columbia, SC

10/29/2009 5:56:32 PM

I think for the most part it is right. But there is more than that. Dogs bite when scared, mad, are just plain old playing around. They also bite because they don't really have any other way to protect them selfs. If I was a dog I would bite someone that seemed supcisous to me.

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