The Dog Blog
October 1st, 2017
November 25th, 2017
October 1, 2017
For any of us who love our pets, it's so difficult to walk out the door and leave them, even for a few hours. It's that pain we get in our stomach when we take them to get groomed, or boarded while we go on vacation. In our minds it's a simple feeling of not wanting them to think we abandoned them, or that if they are not in our care they could get hurt, reasonable human emotion. They are our babies and therefore we treat them as they have the same feelings as we do. Now, before anyone gets the idea that I'm saying they do not have emotion, let me explain.
Animals do indeed have emotions as we do. However, they are not defined in their minds as we know them to be in our own human minds. All species of animals feel love, fear, happiness, depression, excitement, and loneliness. God created them to be companions for us, so would it not make sense for them to have similar emotions as us?
Now here is the question: when we are grabbing our keys and look down at those precious faces of our sweet furbabies and tell them, "Bye baby, I'll be back as soon as possible!" what do we feel? We feel the emotion sadness right? Your whole energy emits a sad vibe. Your posture, a huge endicator in the animal world, drops. Our shoulders slump, our voices get softer and slower. We feel guilty. They feel that. They feel our sadness and guilt and see our bodies change and hear the tone in our voices change. They in turn become... sad. Why would they not? Their pack leader is sad, so that means something is going on.
We have no idea what kind of impact our energy has on animals. The animal world is nothing but energy and posture and expression. Animals do not use words, so that is how they communicate. That is why it is so important to keep that in check around our pets. I always tell my training students that your energy is transferred through the leash. Walking tall and facing any obstacle swiftly and with no deterance shows them they have a pack leader who is in control, and who or what could they possible have to fear with a pack leader of such magnificence!
You may think this is funny and a little over the top, but trust me it is so much the case. They do not see themselves as humans like we think. They are very much aware of what they are. They see us as the same as them, so they read us the same as they would another animal. Separation anxiety is nothing more than a human emotion that we nurture in our pets.
When they are still puppies we take over the role of mother or pack leader. Naturally a puppy does not feel safe unless they are with their mother. This is why a 6-9 week old, the age they are typically brought to new families, they do not leave our sides. They cry when we step out of the room or cry when we put them in a crate. They have the primal, untrained instinct of not wanting to leave their mother. We, as human, need to make a crying baby happy and feel nurtured. This is where the damage we impose comes in.
In our world we can't hold our babies 24/7. Most of you know a mother that has done that and then they can't put their 30lb 2 year old child down because it screams. Not a happy situation. You all think, "Wow, they hold that baby too much. They need to just let it cry and it will be ok." Unfortunately, for some puppies people don't think the same way. They coddle and fawn and apologize profusely to the little puppy because they are having to leave it. This encourages the crying and the anxiety in the puppy everytime they leave.
We also, as humans, take our kids to daycare or school. A child whose been in daycare regularly has no issue being left because it's a part of life. It's what that child is used to. Same way when you leave a dog at the groomer or vet's office. If it's been a normal part of that pet's life it couldn't care less about it happening. When the groomer or vet has to put the pet in a crate or kennel and the pet is used to that at home, the anxiety it could have had doesn't even surface, because it has never been nurtured into that pet's life.
Training begins on day one of an animal's life. Everyday is a new lesson and a new situation it learns from. Mother, siblings, and eventually its new pack mold it into what it's going to be. Separation anxiety is nurtured only by how we approach and deal with it. A calm and peaceful mind is what we should want for our pets as much as we want it for ourselves.
November 25, 2017
We all know the scene. A child opens a giant box and out pops a tiny yellow head with a big red bow around its neck. The child squeals with delight as the puppy climbs out and wags his tail, giving his new mistress wet kisses and happy little nibbles on her nose and ears. The parents are smiling ear to ear as they watch their 6-year-old as she cuddles and laughs with her new Christmas gift. What a merry morning. Cut scene.
We now see 2 months down the road. The scene opens with Dad coming home after a long day, his eyes heavy from another sleepless night of heavy clatter in the hallway and a pitiful puppy whine that seemed to be never ending. He steps into a puddle of pee. He’s had it. He yells to no one in particular, “Where is that dog?!” His wife calls from the kitchen, “I threw it outside, I couldn’t take the biting on my legs and feet anymore! And the smell! I told our daughter to bathe her, but she keeps forgetting!” The husband calls his little girl into the room, “Honey, you agreed after we got you that dog that you would feed and bathe her and take care of her!! Why have you not done any of this!?” “Dad, she scratches me and bites me when I try to give her a bath, and she always knocks the food and water out of my hands and makes a mess!” The husband looks at his wife, “I told you she was too young to take care of a dog!” His wife comes back, “But you were the one who wanted her to learn responsibility!” “Well, I can’t take it anymore, we have to find her a new home!”
Cut scene to the now 4- month-old puppy. Sad, scared, being dropped off at the shelter with what’s left of his food and his few torn-to-shreds toys. He didn’t know what he did wrong. He just played with his pack like he was taught, he didn’t know there were rules. Now he has to face the adoption process, where folks look at him and may take him home, but when they do they see his learned bad behaviors and can’t handle it, so they take him back. He’s gone through 3 homes now. He doesn’t trust many people. Will he ever find his pack? Will he ever find someone to love him and show him how to live happy?
New Scene. Back to Christmas morning. A child rushes downstairs, “Mom, Dad!! How long until we leave to go get Huck?!” “As soon as we eat breakfast, son,” says his dad. “Now remember what we talked about months ago when we were deciding to get him.” “Yes!” says the 6-year-old boy, “We have to be calm and not over excite him, because he needs to learn from the beginning how to be calm, and that we will have him the rest of his life so don’t rush it!” His mom smiles and looks at his dad, “We’re all set with the training classes starting soon, and you got the right collar and leash right?” “Yep, all set. Let’s eat so we can get him.”
Cut scene to 2 months down the road. The boy is outside with the leash on the now 4-month-old Retriever. He has treats in hand and has Huck walking calmly beside him. “Wow, he’s doing so great with that!” says the mom, looking out the window. “I’m so glad we started early! Those few rough patches we had could have been so much worse. There’s no telling what would have happened.” The dad nods, “Yeah and I’m glad we made the family decision to do this and we all pitch in. We all have to teach and take care of each other.” In comes the son, after making Huck wait at the door, “He’s doing awesome! I love our pack!” Huck lives another 16 wonderful years.
Whether a dog, cat, hamster, lizard, or fish, pets are a responsibility. They don’t all need the same care, granted, but they each have special needs. People wanting to add a new species to the pack/clowder/herd/school/gaggle/glaring/flock, whatever the case may be, need to understand how that animal lives. How it eats. How it functions as a society. Animals were given to us by God to take care of. It’s a small task to do research on a breed, or the cost, or the impact in the environment that may come with the pet you saw in that movie or that your Facebook “Friend” that you have never actually met and lives 14 states away has.
We don’t realize the damage that can happen when we don’t properly take into account what we are doing. When we don’t have a plan, anything can happen. The opposite of control is chaos. I don’t like chaos, do you? I like knowing when and what is going to happen. With all that goes on in the world, I’m going to make sure that the things I can control will be so. To narrow it down from the many application that statement can be used for, let’s stick with buying a pet for Christmas and just follow some simple rules. DO NOT expect your child, who can barely take care of his/herself, to take care of a whole new living being. It cannot be done. YOU will have to take responsibility to hand-in-hand show your child what to do and to remind them. Discuss, as a family, what kind of pet is the best match for you. Then discuss what breed is best. A goldfish tank is more suitable for a 6-year-old to assist with, than a tank full of piranhas, right? Take time to research and consider all the parameters of owning a pet. To save the animal from possible destruction and yourself from never ending migraines, don’t buy a Christmas pet without doing research first.
Moral: Research = No Migraine = Happy Parents = Happy Kids = Merry Christmas