By keeping the following 5 characteristics in mind, you will have a better understanding of why your dog does what he does.
- Dogs are amoral. They do not know right from wrong. They know safe and unsafe. For example, it is safe to get into the trash when people are absent but unsafe when they are present.
- Dogs are opportunistic and self centered. It is about what’s in it for them.
- Dogs are social. This is why they make good companions.
- Dogs are constantly learning. It is important to know that consequences drive our dog’s behaviour. If you learn to control the consequences rather than the dog, you will help your dog behave in ways that are appropriate in the human world. For example. If you keep your counters clear of food when you can’t supervisor your dog, your dog will never be rewarded for stealing food. If he is never rewarded, the counter surfing will stop.
- Dogs explore the world with their mouths. They lack thumbs. Everything is a potential chew toy.
1 Adapted from Puppy Start Right, Kenneth M. Martin and Debbie Martin. Pg 14-15