Why you need to understand your puppy?The key to understanding your puppy is by understanding his origins. That is his evolutionary development from wolf to dog.
The dog has 78 chromosomes: the same as the wolf, Canis Lupus. This and other behavioural evidence suggests that the wolf is the closest ancestor of the modern dog. The forerunner of the wolf, a cat like predator called Miacis, was active around 40 million years ago.
After several evolutionary splits the animal known as Tomarctus emerged and the jackal, fox, coyote, fennec, and wolf evolved from Tomarctus. It was around 10,000 to 14,000 years ago that the gradual domestication of the wolf took place, and from that emerged the modern day dog.
This coincided with the beginnings of the development of man the nomadic hunter-gatherer in to man the farmer. How the relationship got started is a matter of conjecture. But it is likely that early settled humans came across abandoned wolf cubs, and reared them.
Through a long process of trial and error, that probably took 4 to 5,000 years, the docile, sociable, domesticated dog finally emerged. One only has to look at the diverse breeds, and the outstanding global popularity of the modern dog to realise what a successful relationship has evolved from those early days.
In evolutionary terms 14,000 years is a blink of the eye. So it's not too difficult to accept that given behaviourists have identified that 85% of a dog's behaviour is identical to that of a wolf's: Then, understanding the world of the wolf is a major element in learning how to understand your puppy.
Wolf society has survived to this day because of the powerful structure of the individual pack. It's hierarchal, and the top dog is the alpha male. All of the members of the pack know their place, and pay due deference to the alpha male. Your puppy is a pack animal, her instincts and thinking is that of a wolf. You can only understand her as a wolf, not as a human being.
The wolf pack is a social grouping where the weak enjoy the same benefits as the strong. Some of the members may be physically stronger, some better hunters, and others possess a stronger sense of smell; all of these individual powers are united to give the pack combined strength.
Each individual member of the pack instinctively places the interests of the pack above individual interests. Self-preservation is suppressed by the stronger motive of union, and working for the good of all. The values that many people claim to be human arise from living socially. The loyalty, devotion, bravery and sacrifice exhibited by wolf pack members towards their companions arises because of their social structure. It is why they have survived to this day.
Your puppy needs a social setting, and will instinctively look for a leader, in most cases you and your family will fill that space. But, dogs are opportunists, and if in her eyes the crown doesn't fit you, don't be surprised if she crowns herself.
To effectively train your puppy, you'll have to turn yourself in to the alpha male, and then your puppy will become the obedient follower-and social harmony will reign.
Dogs, like us, are unique, and how you approach the training of your puppy is going to be unique to your personality, and the personality of your dog. The vast majority of dogs learn through trial and error, although there are a few who seem to be capable of insight in to how a puzzle can be solved, and some form of reward acquired.
There are no bad dogs, but there are bored, frustrated and anxious ones. This unholy trinity is nearly always the cause of bad behaviour. Modern day dogs are hardly ever used for the reason that we originally formed an alliance with them: to work alongside us. Today they are simply pets. And like us they can become bored and frustrated with their lives.
The strength of the wolf pack is its companionship, the mental and physical pursuits, and its intense sociability. Your goal should be to try to reproduce that, by making your dog's training and life, a fun, companionable, interesting and rewarding experience.