Talk to your animals, they listen. And if you’re attentive and listen closely, they’ll talk right back.
After many years of being surrounded by dogs, I can now confidently say that there are two types of dog owners. The first type treat their dogs as family members, possibly as soul companions. The second are dog owners in its most literal sense; they are people who own animals, as proprietors.
Each of these two groups has relatively different relationships with their dogs. The following points, though, are stuff I believe only the first type would do, know, or notice. That is because they are much closer to their canine than the proprietors type.
1- To eat out and choose a dish with bone leftovers so you can take it back to your dog. Or take the leftovers of your friends.
2- The sneaky look on their faces when they quickly swallow a treat, pretending that it disappeared or that it was never there, so you give them another one.
3- Getting excited to leave a place or a party knowing that you'll go home to be with your dog.
4- How their degree of alertness and inquisitiveness heightens when they know you are watching them and they are trying to please you.
5- How setting no rules does not work; neither for the dogs nor for the relationship between them and their masters. Dogs need rules as much as they need to know that you, the pack leader, is the one in charge. That's how it works and not the other way round.
6- Dogs sense our energies — and tension. So when you come across other dogs or people and pull the leash, even if subtly, your dog will sense the vibration and automatically be on alert, probably also get tensed. Read Dog Lovers: Reflections on Taming a Gentle Giant to know my own experience with the leash and a 150-pound Saint Bernard.
You can also check my animal photography album, Animalism.
7- When you reward your dog with a simple “good girl/boy” they really do act as a good girl/boy. In fact, researchers have found that social interactions make pet dogs release Oxytocin — the same “love hormone” that humans feel when they are in love or bonding with friends.
8- You cannot leave your dog months at a time every year and expect to have a healthy relationship with them. Whether it's at a kennel or with others, dogs feel sad, lonely and get heartbroken when abandoned for periods of time.
9- For certain breeds, training with your dog becomes a necessity. Not only because they need the exercise, but also because this is how they look up to you as a pack leader. Seeing your physical capabilities will earn their respect. Having a trainer or an obedience school is, in my opinion, half the job. Unless of course the owner is incapable of training or is advanced in age.
Besides, it's pure joy to be outdoors with our canine; regularly connecting with nature is the way to sharpen their senses.
10- Finally, if your dog keeps pulling you during your walk, or it barks at strangers and/or other dogs, or is displaying any other neurotic behaviour, know that there is always a solution. Some online research is usually more than enough to learn how to fix any problem. No need to call Cesar Milan, though you can learn a lot from watching an episode or two.
You are your best companion; your dog comes next
Article published on Conscious Life News
Dog Lovers: Reflections On Training a Gentle Giant
A Dieu Caramella