DOGS are telepathic and able to sense your emotions and frame of mind instantly. This is one reason that a dog who has misbehaved while you have been away knows that you are reacting angrily and, therefore, comes to you saying ‘sorry’ or cowers away.
It does not remember past misdemeanour but it does know your present reaction.
Canine instincts vary in strength between breeds and individuals of the same breed. It is either there or not. It can be strengthened, weakened or diverted, but it cannot be put there and it cannot be taken away. It might lie dormant and, once developed, it can never be weakened.
A dog with an obsession for chasing balls can be controlled by training and by providing other outlets for its energy. If a young dog is corrected the first time it chases a car it may give up the idea. But if it is allowed to chase cars the hunting instinct becomes stronger and in no time it will be very difficult, even impossible, to stop. The dog has the instinct of the hunt, which means a chase and a kill. Sadly, often the dog is killed by a car.
The first instinct is maternal and others cover such areas as survival, hunting, guarding, the pack and self-preservation.
Self-preservation makes wild dogs furtive and afraid of the unfamiliar, which is of no use to man. This type of nervousness in the domestic dog is one of the common causes of problems in present-day dogs.
Nearly all cases where children have been attacked by dogs and owners have been bitten by their own dog arise from nervousness. The dog is afraid it is going to be hurt and attacks first; fear, fright and bite.
The instinct of self-preservation has been weakened by breeding from bold dogs rather than nervous ones, but has never been entirely removed.