You've doubtless heard the saying that people who have dogs as pets for a long time, actually develop facial expressions that mimic their dogs, which is why they start to resemble each other! While it makes an amusing story, there is some truth in this old saying. However, it's the dog who's doing the imitation, rather than the other way around.
For example, the grouchy old man's dog may be a lay-around, a fussy and antisocial creature. Not that Rover would bite, he's just got a disgruntled personality and kind of an Eeyore complex. There's no fun and play in old Rover, much like his owner. A vivacious teen-aged girl, full of fun and life, has Rover's offspring, Jingles, as her beloved pet. Both are seen bouncing around the neighborhood, playing Frisbee at the park or going for long walks through the hills, both scampering gleefully in the sun and wind.
Unlike cats, dogs are very loyal to their owners. In a way, understanding dog behavior is much like understanding kid's behavior. Kids learn by example, and tend to pick up mannerisms and reactions similar to how they see their parents behave. Most dogs never outgrow the kid's mentality. They don't exercise good judgment, they're not very sensible and they pretty much do what they can get away with doing!
Now, children have a good deal more intelligence than dogs do. Through experience and parental guidance, they gain better judgment, which is a primary goal of parenthood. Kids learn to communicate with words and the use of reason and logic. Our dog friends don't have these advantages. Understanding dog behavior requires that you understand Rover and Jingle's limitations. Let's face it, your dog isn't going to college and will never hold a job! What your dog will do is remain loyal to you, love you and misbehave whenever an enticing occasion arises.
Understanding dog behavior and misbehavior means that you understand that your beloved pet will remain a lifelong pre-adolescent. If Rover has an opportunity to run off with a roast beef, left tantalizingly on the kitchen counter, he'll do it now, and ten years from now. He'll never outgrow the urge to chase a Frisbee until his tongue is hanging down by his feet. Your kids and grandkids will be able to stick peanut butter on Rover's nose forever, with the exact same result. Rover and Jingles love every minute of such silliness. They'll be running over hill and dale, long after your kids have grown up and left the nest.
Understanding dog behavior involves a certain amount of slacking. Dogs are pirates and, so even though they know what you disapprove of, they will go for it. You've got to discipline your dog. A well inflected “Baaad dog!”, helps curb their natural inclinations. Once you understand dog behavior and the natural limitations, you just learn to live with the down side! Use a gentle and forgiving hand when training your dog. Your dog is going to love you forever, no matter what.
Think about your relationship with your dog. Does he or she reflect your personality? Does your dog friend behave like Tigger or Eeyore? It's really all up to you. You're the leader in understanding dog behavior. Put a smile on your face when he steals a cube of butter. A “Baaad dog!” is still in order.
Ten years from now, your neighbors may notice that you and Rover, or Jingles, resemble one another, in happiness.