Getting to Know all About You!

Getting to know all about our dogs is going to help us better communicate with them and build the bond in our relationship. There are a few key things we can learn more about that will facilitate this. 

Whether your dog is a rescue or purebred, the breed or breeds that represent your dog all have direct influence on the health and behavior of your dog. Organizations like the American Kennel Cub or AKC group different breeds of dogs into different groups. The AKC identifies seven breed groups: Herding, Hound, Non-Sporting, Terrier, Toy, Working, Foundation Stock Services, and a Miscellaneous Class. There are over 460 breeds of dogs in the world. What is important about this is that a breeds behavior relates to the group they fall into. For example my dogs Jazz and Jive, who are Portuguese water dogs, are in the Working Group. They are dogs who were bred to do a job. They went to sea with the Portuguese fisherman and herded fish into the nets. They took messages from boat to boat and boat to shore. They were assigned to guard the boat and equipment when the fisherman went to market to sell his catch for the day. A dog was also left home with the family because they are great watch dogs. They are very loyal to their people and have a huge stamina for working all day long. This is a dog who needs to have something to do on a daily basis...something with purpose and meaning. If they don't their energy and curiosity will find things to do. That may be getting into things of yours you don't want them chewing on or destroying, A dog like this who is bored is not a good situation for the dog or the pet parent. 

Let's look at another group...the herding group. Breeds in this group were bred to herd animals like sheep. I have friends with Australian Shepherds, a herding breed, who tell me their dogs are always herding the family members and even the cars in the circle parking area in front of their home.  Border Collies are another herding breed. These dogs have high energy levels and need to be given something to keep them busy. All these dogs are influenced by the fact that they were bred to do a job and that energy must be recognized and positively directed. 

If you have more than on breed influencing your dog, it would be good to know about all the breeds. You can even purchase a DNA test kit at a reasonable cost (70 to 100 dollars) and find out just what breeds comprise your dogs DNA. This is information that will help you be informed about your dog. 

Some breeds are vulnerable to specific health issues. Any dog can get any disease or illness. Some breeds are just more vulnerable to specific health issues. Large breeds can be more prone to bloat but this can happen to other size dogs. Some cancers are more prevalent in some breeds but of course any dog can get cancer. Your veterinarian is a good source to talk to about the health of your dog. Is there anything you need to be aware of that would be specific to your dog. Overall, annual wellness check ups will be a good thing to do for all dogs. A dogs health and how the dog feels will influence their behavior not that unlike it does in humans. When we don't feel well we can be irritable. This is also true for our dogs. 

The most significant thing you can do is to watch your dog all the time. Watch and learn what his body language is telling you. Watch his body posture, tail, eyes, ears. Their entire body is speaking all the time. You can learn when your dog is happy, sad, tired, bored, or trying to get your attention for a purpose and much more. Dogs are sentient beings. They feel many of the feelings we feel as humans. That is in part what makes them so endearing to us and is also how they are like us. The more time you spend with your dog the more you get to know each other. But you need to be intentional about watching them and listening and learning what they are telling you with their body language and yes their voice as well. Barks have different tones and purpose. The two of you will soon develop a common language and build your communication and bond.

Every dog is as unique and individual as every human being is unique. Actually I believe all animals are unique and have their own distinct personalities. Some dogs are out going and some are shy. Some dogs like to cuddle and other dogs prefer to be close but not touched. Some dogs have more of a sense of humor and will act it out frequently. Other dogs are more reserved. Getting to know your dog's personality is a fun experience. A dog brings so much love and diversity into our lives. Getting to know a dog's personality builds your bond and your relationship every day.  

"Getting to know you, getting to know all about you" is a lovely song. It is also my wish for you and your loving dog. Have fun getting to know each other.

Woofs & Smiles!