17 Feb We Expect To Much From Our Dogs
When I meet with a new client, I always ask what their expectations of their dog is. I want to know how they feel their dog should act and be as part of the family’s dynamics. Here are some of the items that clients have told me.
They expect their dog to be nice to every dog or person they meet.
Do you like every person that you meet? What if a person came up to you put their face right in yours and said hello? You would immediately back away. What if they came up and just bumped you, or came up behind you when you were not expecting it? Would you say something to them? Of course you would! But yet we don’t want our dogs to do that. Growling, barking, or even making gestures such, as a snarl is letting the other dog or person no that they are uncomfortable. Yet we don’t want them to do that. It is okay for us, not them.
We expect them not to guard objects, people or food.
If a stranger came up to you and your spouse and you were not sure if they were going to hurt you or your spouse, how would you react? Once again you would say something, go into protective mode, retreat from the situation, or blatantly attack the other person if you felt you were in imminent danger. It’s okay for us, not them.
We expect our dog to know to go to the where we want him to go to the bathroom.
We all know that a person must be taught this at a young age. That is why children wear diapers for about two years. Yet with our dogs, if they don’t get it right away, we get upset. We understand when it is our children that they are just learning. They are learning about the “urge” when they have to go, what it is they are supposed to do. If your child had an accident, would you rub its nose in it? It’s okay for us, not them.
We expect our dog not to chew things.
Have you ever been stressed out? I am sure the answer is yes. What do you do when you are stressed? Eat? Drink? Cry? Dogs chew. It is up to us to supply them with what they is acceptable for them to chew. How about if I yelled at you every time you were worried and stressed? Wouldn’t that stress you more? Absolutely it would. Isn’t it a better approach to help you deal with what is upsetting you then for me to yell at you?
We expect our dog not to bark.
What if I told you never to speak, or communicate with others? Barking is natural, just as talking is natural for us.
We expect our dog not to dig or destroy things.
What do you do when you’re bored? Do you doodle? Do you bite your nails? Do you fiddle with things?
We expect our dog to always want to be with us and do things for us.
We love our children or our spouse, but do we always want to be with them or do everything for them? We know that situation is totally unhealthy and does not promote development as a person or child. Why do we expect this from the dog? Are our needs so superior to theirs?
We expect because we taught our dogs their basic commands, sit, down, stay, etc. That they should perform them all the time when we ask?
When you learned to drive, you didn’t know how to react in all situations. It took years of practice of driving in different environments, with different people, at different distances. So why do you expect your dog to get it when you have only worked on it for a few weeks?
We expect our dogs to be perfect all the time. It’s not fair. They are the only creatures that we do this with. We don’t expect it from our children, our spouse, our friends, and even ourselves!
But the dog we do. I think we need to change our ways.