A recent article in The Conversation helped readers better understand their animal companions. The story was headlined “How to Tell if Your Dog Is Happy” and offered ten misconceptions about dog behavior.
“It is difficult to refer to what dogs, as a collective, like and dislike and how they behave,” authors Paul McGreevy and Melissa Starling write. “Just as humans do, dogs all have their own personalities and learned preferences and so can differ dramatically in how they approach life and what they take from it.”
Among the common misconceptions presented by McGreevy and Starling are that “Dogs have a human appreciation of sharing” (“Among dogs, possession is ten-tenths of the law”); “Barking and growling dogs are always threatening or dangerous” (“The dogs using these signals are chiefly trying to buy space so they can feel safer”); and “Dogs like relaxing as much as humans do” (“Dogs spend most of their time at home and so value exercise off the property far more than time spent on the sofa”).
Other misconceptions include that “A big yard can replace walks,” “Dogs will welcome unfamiliar dogs to their home” and “Dogs approach when they want to engage playfully.” “There are many ways in which we can misjudge dogs by assuming that they are little furry animals,” according to McGreevy and Starling. McGreevy is a professor of animal behavior and animal welfare science at the University of Sydney, and Starling is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sydney. Their new book, “Making Dogs Happy,” was published last month by Murdoch Books.