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Decode Your Dog’s Behavior: 17 Dog Behaviors Explained

Reader's Digest Logo By Lisa Marie Conklin of Reader's Digest | Slide 2 of 18: Every day, the mail carrier delivers letters and packages, and every day your dog barks. Does this dog behavior mean your four-legged friend hates postal workers? "Barking at people outside is a protective behavior," says Gary Richter, DVM, veterinarian and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition. "Dogs see their house as their territory, and anyone approaching or near their territory is a potential threat, so they bark to ward off the intruder." Think about it from your dog's perspective: The mail carrier delivers mail, the dog barks to ward off the intruder, and the mail carrier goes away. It creates a pattern that is reinforced over and over. "From the dog's perspective, they are saving the house from invasion every day by driving away the invader. We never appreciate their efforts," Dr. Richter says.

Barking at the mail carrier

Every day, the mail carrier delivers letters and packages, and every day your dog barks. Does this dog behavior mean your four-legged friend hates postal workers? "Barking at people outside is a protective behavior," says Gary Richter, DVM, veterinarian and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition. "Dogs see their house as their territory, and anyone approaching or near their territory is a potential threat, so they bark to ward off the intruder."

Think about it from your dog's perspective: The mail carrier delivers mail, the dog barks to ward off the intruder, and the mail carrier goes away. It creates a pattern that is reinforced over and over. "From the dog's perspective, they are saving the house from invasion every day by driving away the invader. We never appreciate their efforts," Dr. Richter says.

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