Innate and learned behavior of the dog

Dogs are one of the most beloved pets around the world. From their wagging tails to their playful behavior, dogs are the perfect companions for humans. However, it’s essential to understand that their behavior is not just random. Dogs exhibit innate and learned behavior, which impacts how they act around us and other dogs. In this article, we will delve into the difference between innate and learned behavior in dogs and how it influences their behavior.

Innate behavior of the dog

The natural behavior of a dog is its innate conduct, encompassing all the actions that a dog performs instinctively, without requiring any learning.

Certain dog breeds exhibit highly distinctive instincts, such as hunting dogs, herding dogs, and guard dogs. In some breeds, these instincts have been further encouraged by breeders through selective breeding. However, here we are discussing the natural behaviors that can be observed in dogs on a daily basis, regardless of their breed.

Where does this innate behavior come from?

Where does this innate behavior come from?

Our domesticated dogs have inherited their natural behavior from their wild ancestors, which still exists in dogs today on a daily basis. In addition to being enjoyable to observe, understanding a dog’s natural instincts is a crucial key to having a good relationship with your companion.

By recognizing and understanding a dog’s natural behavior, you can communicate with them better and improve your relationship with them. This will be one of the fundamental keys to enhancing your bond with your dog.

What innate behaviors can you notice in your dog?

Teaching Territory Dogs lifting their paws to mark their territory is likely one of the most easily recognizable natural behaviors. The dog is informing their peers of their presence. Note that territorial behavior is more common in intact dogs.

Rolling in feces and mud Does your dog roll in feces, mud? It may be a nightmare for the owner, but it is a natural behavior in dogs that can be traced back to wolf or wild dog behavior where they hide their scent to be able to hunt while being less detected and pass without being noticed by anyone.

Licking From an early age, dogs lick. When born, their mother cleans them by licking, it is a natural behavior learned from infancy.

Dogs may lick for various reasons, to clean themselves, to show affection or to try to calm themselves. In the wild, puppies lick their mother’s muzzle to encourage her to vomit.

Tail wagging Tail wagging is a natural way for a dog to communicate with you and their peers.

Barking Protecting their owner, their land, and their business

Smelling behind another dog: The innate and learned behavior of a dog

Despite what is often said, “dogs sniffing each other’s rear ends to say hello”, the dog’s highly developed sense of smell allows it to gather a lot of information about the other dog through sniffing, such as its gender, diet, and emotional state.

Dogs bury their toys and bones

One might wonder why dogs bury their toys and bones… Again, it is a natural behavior that dates back to before domestication. Apart from being a toy, this behavior helped the species survive. It served as a precaution for food, so when a dog buries its toy, it is a way of saying “it’s mine, I protect it, and I bury it.”

Learned behavior in dogs We are still in the context of tracking the natural and learned behaviors of dogs, and we have now come to the learned behavior of dogs. It has become necessary for dog breeders to learn to respond to specific commands such as “sit,” “stop,” “roll over,” “give paw,” and so on. Larger dogs, in particular, are very fond of picking up abandoned sticks. In addition, thanks to their good sense of smell and intelligence, dogs can be trained to find buried people.

The most prominent learned behaviors of the dog

Dog training is more than just teaching some tricks that make us laugh. Training stimulates the dog’s mind, makes coexistence easier, and improves its behavior in public places.

It is important to be patient and start working on this project as soon as possible because it enhances your presence and improves the quality of life for both of you. However, the issue of “where to start” may arise because dog training covers a vast world for those who have just decided to adopt a dog, especially.

Sit The first thing to teach the dog is to sit. It is the easiest command to learn and comes naturally to it, so it will not be difficult for it to learn this action. If you can make it sit and understand that this is the right place to ask for food, go out, or when it wants you to do something, it will be much better than learning to jump.

Stay Although it is likely to be the most boring exercise for the dog, it is essential to learn to stay in one place because when visitors come, go for a walk in the street, or simply want to be away from something or someone, it will be the best way to get it.

Down In addition to sitting, holding it down is one of the easiest basic commands that dogs can achieve. In addition, it is a logical process, where we can say “quiet” then “sit” and then “down.” The dog will tie it quickly, and in the future, it will do it almost automatically.

Come We don’t want our dog to escape, ignore us, or not come when we call. That’s why the call is the fourth basic thing when it comes to dog training, because if we don’t make it come to us, it will be difficult for us to sit, lie down, or stop it.

Walking alongside or together Pulling the leash is the most common problem when we go for a walk on foot. We can make it come, sit, and lie down, but as soon as we start walking, all it will do is smell or mark its territory. Therefore, it is important to teach it to walk alongside or with us, to avoid pulling the leash and to behave properly in public places.

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