Dog social behavior

Many scientists argue that dogs' social behavior is largely predetermined by the breed and genetics, whereby certain elements are trainable and behaviorally modifiable. Unfortunately, opinions vary widely and dog owners are left to work out their dog's social behavior on their own, or with help of seasoned trainers and behaviorists.


Dogs are widely accepted as social animals, they regard their human family as their pack, which is one of the strongest instincts of the dog's psyche. Dogs' social units are called packs. They correlate to the human social unit of a family. When a dog is adopted into a human family, he regards the human family as its pack, also adopting the dominance / submission structure with the hierarchy of Alpha, Beta and Omega, whereby the human owner is supposed to be the Alpha leader.


With humans, dogs are, again breed specific, able to establish two kinds of pack relationships: A working relationship or an affectionate companionship. While dogs who develop a companionship with their owners are more dependent on their human owners, dogs that are working dogs are more independent and do not rely on their masters for everything.


Separation anxiety is being developed when a dog is being separated from their companions, but has not been trained to overcome this fear. With proper training, this fear can be reduced to quantities which are manageable, but with growing age, this anxiety may increase in volume and intensity. It is best to combat this anxiety in young puppies, where they are left alone for certain periods of time, thereby getting acquainted to the solitude at an early stage, even before they have met their final master. With such an approach, separation anxiety can be prevented completely, removing a huge obstacle of behavioral compliance.


Contrary to popular belief, dogs do try to communicate with people, thereby using vocalization signals and body and body parts movements and postures. Just like with children, who have not yet begun to vocalize properly, dogs use everything they have to establish a communication line to their pack and pack leader. Depending on circumstances, signals emitted by the dog may be the same but have a different meaning altogether. There is a whole science which was developed out of this fact, called Ethology, and which is devoted to studying animal behavior.


Dogs are social animals. They love their human family and want to socialize as much as possible with them, be it through play, work, collective tasks of any kind or simple walks, all these traits just reinforce the common notion of the dog being the human's best friend.