Dog Guardianship - Work Smarter Not Harder
Keeping dogs as part of human emotional wellbeing is common, making us responsible for their needs and freedoms while also leaving many dog guardians confused about how dogs learn and think.
Sadly, in many cases dog guardians find natural dog behaviours chaotic and difficult. While at the other side of the bond the dog is simply trying to get their needs met. They are working hard to be dogs and in many cases facing humans with poor communication, and lack of understanding. When we are dog guardians our knowledge and understanding directly affects the dog’s ability to cope within the environment they are in.
A human for example would struggle if he were to be placed in a houseful of strangers, told when to eat, when to exercise and to stop doing natural human behaviours. Just as a dog will struggle if they are not given the opportunity to be a dog and do dog things.
When we love dogs we are lucky, appreciating and living with a dog is an amazing experience that anyone can have.
We form a social symbiotic relationship with someone of another species that often becomes the most constant and consistent part of our lives. We are two different animals, completely unique mixtures of experiences, genetics, emotions and presence and we come together as one. You are an individual, your dog is an individual and together you form a totally different unique individual maintained by your mutual bond.
Dogs have become so important in our society and have integrated so well that if all the dogs in the world were to leave right now, we would not only be emotionally troubled but we would physically struggle too.
As friends and family, dogs have to put up with a lot from us. We are a busy species always thinking of the next thing we need to do and we are mindless because we rarely sit back and just enjoy the moment.
We often don’t give them time to adapt in their own minds to what we are asking of them.
We rush them through life and decisions.
We are great at rushing dogs through the things we have to do with them, so we can tick those things off our list for the day. Walk check, food check, enrichment check, that kind of thing.
We do it because society tells us that this is what our dogs need and with all best intentions we approach the care of our dogs seriously and from a place of love, yet unless we are mindful of the way we live with our dogs, it can seem rushed and certainly it can feel like a stressor. When we are stressed our dogs feel it and the whole thing becomes counter-productive.
By becoming mindful with our dogs, spending time with them and focusing on the time and current moment we move onto a whole new level of understanding. We notice their requests, their happiness, sadness, when they want to be left alone, when they need to be acknowledged and most importantly when we are rushing them through their lives so that we can get their needs met as part of our day.
When we slow down and focus on exactly the moment and what’s occurring within it, we start to see our dogs properly. The beauty of becoming mindful with our dogs, is that we don’t have to work harder for them – we just learn how to meet their needs by working smarter.