Do You Influence Your Dog’s Behavior?


I’m sure you’ve heard it be said that dogs and their owners often resemble one another. Well it also may be that we often, directly or indirectly, influence our dogs’ behavior. While inherited genetics play a great role in how your dog behaves, outside influences can also have a bearing on his behavior. These outside influences – especially you – can mold a dog’s attitude. This may explain why pups from the same litter, despite their shared genes, often display different behaviors when they are separated; the result of their being exposed to different things in their own particular environments. Just like humans, dogs learn from experience, and that has a bearing on their behavior.

Every Dog is Unique

Dog behavior can vary from being fearless, to being afraid of one’s own shadow; from being quick and adept at learning training commands, to needing extra special attention and repetitiveness to learn even the simplest command. The differences from dog to dog might be slight for some, but all dogs learn and recall things in unique ways, depending on their characters.

Dogs Have Their Own Logic

Our canine companions are unable to work things out the way humans do, but they do develop their own unique logic which can be due to inherited genes, but it can also be due to both bad and good lessons they have learned through past experiences with their pet parents and others.

Pet Parents Do Play a Role in How Their Dogs Behave

Several studies have investigated the role a pet parent plays in a dog’s developing behavior. One study found the pet parents of highly aggressive cocker spaniels tend to be emotionally less stable, shy, undisciplined and more likely to be tense than owners of low aggressive spaniels. Another proved dogs and their pet parents show a degree of similarity in their personality profiles. And yet another collected data from an online questionnaire answered by pet parents that, when compared to their dog’s mentality assessments, was able to successfully match pet parents with their dog based on the results. It is a fact that people’s characteristics influence dogs, their behavior and their personality traits.

The nature of the relationship between dogs and their pet parents has an important impact on the quality of life for the dog. Just as pet parents can teach their dogs acceptable behaviors, such as how to respond when a visitor arrives, or how to react when given a specific command, they can also teach them unacceptable behaviors, often times without realization. So while it may be true that dogs and owners tend to look alike, the same can be said about how they behave. When your dog spends time with you, your human behaviors, tastes and even your schedule can rub off on him. He can even pick up on your moods, preferences, anxieties and fears, making him more susceptible to pick up the same characteristics as his own.

Are you thinking “Oh my goodness! The last thing I want is for my dog to act like me!”? Well, the good news is, the rubbing off goes both ways! Dogs enter our lives with their own temperaments and breed tendencies, their own likes and dislikes, and their own fears and anxieties. And their characteristics influence how we act. In addition, the more socialized your dog is, the more people (including your pet sitter!)  and other animals he is around, the more positive influences are incorporated into what he learns.

So, it’s a two-way street. A dog enhances our lives just as we do his, with each of us providing loyal companionship, affection, protection and fun. And the fact that we can work together to help boost positive personality traits and do away with traits that don’t serve us well is just one more of the many reasons to love dogs!


  1. Thanks for the article! What do you find to be the most challenging dog issue to deal with when you’re pet sitting?

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