Dogs are experts at reading human emotions by just watching our faces. We have evidence that dogs have lived alongside humans and families for thousands of years so no wonder they are so good at it! Have you ever had your dog sidle up to you when you’re sad or jump around with your when you’re happy?
Dogs adapt to all kind of circumstances based on your social set up, some live happily in flats with a single owner or a huge family of all different ages. However this is where it can cause problems if a dog is brought into another social situation they are not used to, that friendly little social dog in the city loving adult attention could turn into a disturbed growling dog when a small toddler approaches in your friends home. This is why we encourage young pups to try all kinds of circumstances whilst they are young so they don’t get too terrified when they are put into the odd situations as grown up pups.
We need them to view us as fun and attentive teachers. We are their world so don’t forget this. They look to us for shelter, food, water, affection, fun and exercise. We need to socialise and adapt them to our world, we need to help them understand boundaries and how to ask us before they do things. Positive reinforcement training and classes are generally the kindest, most effective training method which can help us do this.
So why do they behave so differently when they see their own species? Dogs communicate in many different ways so it Is our responsibility to learn to read these (See steps of frustration blog for more detail on this) Most of the time dogs circle one another, sniff each others muzzle and then sniff each others bums. It generally seems odd to us but this is how they gather information about each other.