3 Awesome Ways To Be The Best Dog Guardian You Know
Dogs put up with a lot from us, and humans are a really varied species. Living with us must be tough for them and yet they are ever faithful and consistent with their devotion to our weirdness. One of the things I find most important (and ever unnerving) is how many people misunderstand their dogs and how many people tend to ignore them.
Being a dog guardian is about much more than being the “owner” of another species. Ethically it’s about making a promise to meet their needs and provide their freedoms. We commit to keeping them safe and making sure they feel safe, physically AND emotionally when we become dog guardians. So how can you be the best dog guardian you know?
Let Them Sniff
We have a direct conflict between letting our dogs take their time on walks and wanting to keep going. Sniffing is so simple yet highly rewarding to our dogs though. Whether they are on or off the lead your own pace dictates your dog’s ability to sniff. If they are older, slower or really little – even off the lead if you walk fast they might not be able to get their sniffing in. So, consider that nose and let your dog sniff.
Let Them Choose
How many choices does your dog have? When they walk or even whether they walk is decided by us – and we can only really guess what they would prefer.
Do they get to choose when they are touched, or do we decide that for them too? To get this right we need to know when they are asking for less or more distance through their body language and facial expression – so we really do need to know what they are saying and to lean some canine communication.
Here's a dog who is not having much fun. He's showing a tense face, licking his face with his ears pulled back. No dog should really be put in this position.
Ideally we will live alongside our dogs and not expect them to embrace being touched every time we feel like it. We build their confidence in us by waiting for them to ask to be touched.
Acknowledge Them – For Dog’s Sake
This drives me a bit dotty. The number of times I see a beautiful dog staring up at someone who is totally ignoring them is way more than I should see. The other day I saw two women walking a beautiful adolescent dog talking about how they could make his behaviour better. The dog was so desperately asking not to be ignored and was obviously so willing to learn. They pulled him along when he tried to sniff and totally ignored him when he tried to interact all the time talking about what a problem he was. Just a shift in understanding would work wonders in that scenario. All dogs want to be acknowledged for who they are as do you and I.
None of these life tweaks are hard and each of them are no more than our dogs deserve, in fact they should be the foundations of every dog’s life with humans. It’s the role we took on as guardians and if we properly embrace it, it will change your lives for the better.