Behavior

Although dogs have been the subject of a great deal of behaviorist psychology (e.g. Pavlov's dog), they do not enter the world with a psychological "blank slate".[109] Rather, dog behavior is affected by genetic factors as well as environmental factors.[109] Domestic dogs exhibit a number of behaviors and predispositions that were inherited from wolves.[109] The Gray Wolf is a social animal that has evolved a sophisticated means of communication and social structure. The domestic dog has inherited some of these predispositions, but many of the salient characteristics in dog behavior have been largely shaped by selective breeding by humans. Thus some of these characteristics, such as the dog's highly developed social cognition, are found only in primitive forms in grey wolves.[170] Properly socialized dogs can interact with unfamiliar dogs of any size and shape and understand how to communicate. The existence and nature of personality traits in dogs have been studied (15329 dogs of 164 different breeds) and five consistent and stable "narrow traits" identified, described as playfulness, curiosity/fearlessness, chase-proneness, sociability and aggressiveness. A further higher order axis for shyness–boldness was also identified.[176][177] The average sleep time of a dog is said to be 10.1 hours per day.[178] Like humans, dogs have two main types of sleep: Slow-wave sleep, then Rapid eye movement sleep sleep, the state in which dreams occur. Dog behavior refers to the collection of behaviors by the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris, and is believed to be influenced by genetic, social, situational and environmental causes. The domestic dog is a subspecies of the grey wolf, and shares many of its behavioral characteristics.The social unit of dogs is the pack. From research on wolf packs that are formed in captivity, the pack has traditionally been thought of as a tightly knit group composed of individuals that have earned a ranking in a linear hierarchy, and within which there is intense loyalty. It is believed that dogs were able to be domesticated by and succeed in contact with human society because of their social nature. According to this traditional belief, dogs generalize their social in tincts to include humans, in essence "joining the pack" of their owner/handler. However, much of this traditional view is based on findings from grey wolf packs that are formed of unrelated animals in captivity, and thus may not apply to natural wolf packs, natural dog packs, or dogs incorporated into a human household. Research in packs formed in the wild indicates that wolves form a family group, including a breeding pair and their offspring. In these familial packs, the terms "dominance," and "submission" are less useful than "parent," and "offspring," and bring with them a number of misconceptions. While the majority of research to date indicates that domestic dogs conform to a hierarchy around an Alpha-Beta-Omega structure, domestic dogs, like their wild wolf counterparts, also interact in complex hierarchical ways. The existence and nature of personality traits in dogs have been studied (15,329 dogs of 164 different breeds) and five consistent and stable "narrow traits" identified, described as playfulness, curiosity/fearlessness, chase-proneness, sociability and aggressiveness. A further higher-order axis for shyness–boldness was also identified. Behavior when isolated Dogs value the companionship of the others in their "pack" and are sometimes distressed if they are separated from it. Typical reactions when a dog is separated from the pack are barking, howling, digging, and chewing. These activities may distress humans when they need to leave dogs alone for a period of time. However, this behavior, called separation anxiety, can be overcome with training, or at least decreased to the point where it becomes manageable. If young puppies are habituated to periods alone from an early age, this can normally be prevented entirely. Dogs are also crepuscular, meaning their natural period of peak activity is dawn and dusk,[3] and may be content to rest during the day and night (because of this trait, domestic dogs are more likely to show barking and chewing activity at times when people are leaving to or returning from work.[4]). Some owners struggling to deal with this problem resort to devocalization, a controversial practice considered cruel by animal advocates and outlawed in many countries.