Normal Behavior of Your Dog
Dogs display a number of traits that humans find annoying, strange or even disgusting (eating feces is a prime example). Yet dogs do what they do for a reason. As far as they are concerned, they are doing nothing wrong, and they become confused when we scold them. Knowing why dogs do certain things will enable you to cope better with them as they occur.
Compared to humans, dogs have a limited ability to communicate using sound and tend to rely more on body language to get their message across. The range of sounds they produce tends to be used to back up their body language rather than in isolation. Howling and growling are the least common sounds, but barking is used frequently, often in different ways to convey different meanings. These can range from guarding barks to those designed to get attention, or barking can be used just to let off steam when excited or frustrated.
Guarding and possession
Natural instinct dictates that to let another take away food will result in hunger. This principle sometimes gets transferred to toys and other items a dog possesses; to give them up is a sign of weakness. Guarding food or a toy, by growling or snapping at anyone who approaches, is a dog’s way of saying ‘this is mine and you are not having it’. However, this line of defence is inappropriate in a human environment. In pet dogs, not letting go of something must be discouraged from an early age, otherwise aggression problems may later result. It is perfectly fine to let a non-aggressive or non-possessive dog occasionally win the toy in a game to keep his play motivation high, but this should be the exception, not the rule.
The Basics of Canine Senses
A dog’s nervous and sensory systems are essential to his health and well-being. Perceptions and reactions to his environment are dependent on his senses; movement is controlled through the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord); and the endocrine system (the hormone-producing glands) controls his patterns of behaviour.
Canine vision is inferior to human during the day, but is superior at night. Dogs do see colours, but not as distinctly as humans (in pastel as opposed to strong colours), and their peripheral vision is better than ours. In addition to the upper and lower eyelids, there is a third eyelid – the nictitating membrane (haw), which is comprised of a thin sheet of pale tissue tucked away in the corner of the eye. Its function is to help remove dust and dirt from the surface of the eye (cornea) by moving across it during any inward movement, and also to help keep the eyeball moist and lubricated.
A dog’s hearing is vastly superior to that of a human and he is, therefore, more sensitive to sounds than we are – especially those at high frequencies which we cannot hear (hence the use of ‘silent’ dog whistles). A dog’s mobile ears help to pinpoint the source of a sound, since they can be directed towards it.
A dog’s primary sense is his sense of smell, as it is essential in relation to his sex life and hunting for food and water. The area in a dog’s nose for detecting scent is nearly 37 times larger than that in humans, and is approximately 100 times more powerful than a human’s. The parts of the brain that process signals coming in from the nose are far greater in size and complexity in a dog than are the corresponding parts of the human brain.
Why dogs like to sit close to our feet
There are many reasons why a dog may like to sit on an owner’s feet. It all depends on the dog and the other behaviors they exhibit. What kind of dog is it? Is he a pushy dog? A love bug? A dog that always like to be touching someone? Is this an anxious dog who doesn’t like to let the owner out of their sight? The same behavior can be caused by lots of different things, depending on the particular dog.
If you have a dog who is very dominant, then your dog could like to sit on your feet as a way to assert himself over you. He is physically pinning you down and putting himself in a more powerful position. But this would only be the case if this particular dog does other things that make you believe he is trying to be dominant.
Does your og suffer from separation anxiety? Do they follow you from room to room? Do they go to pieces if they can’t see you? In this case the dog may be trying to reassure himself about your presence. He may be looking for comfort by touching you.