A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. ~John Holmes
I decided to combine the two today: quote and Tip of the Day. Many times, we think treating our dogs like "babies" is doing them a great justice. We see ourselves as rescuing them from the miseries of the world and in to our safe and loving homes. While that may very well be the case, many people then take it to the next step and coddle these animals until they conform to our human standards of living. It's difficult as a trainer to suggest that people not do this. They all assume I am some Cruella character trying to rob their beloved puppies of a love-filled life. I find it unfortunate that our emotional needs as humans overshadow the deep-rooted instinctive needs of our animals. When they crossed the threshold in to our homes, they did not leave behind their amazing doggy instincts. We don't need acres of land to put those to good use! Dressing dogs up in sweaters and taking them shopping with us everyday, while cute, is not using those instincts. It's taking away a dog's identity, plain and simple. Just as it is majestic to watch geese fly in formation, it is an equally amazing thing to see a dog be a dog. Roll in the mud, play a game of chase, investigate new smells, teach new tricks - these are all things you can do right in your own home. Coming up with more challenging things for my dogs ironically changed me to match their lives. One of our favorite games: GO HIDE! The girls wait with drool puddles below them (and excellent discipline, I might add) as I scatter treats throughout the house where they can't see them. Then, on my mark, they bolt through the house sniffing every nook and cranny searching for their food. Since they've mastered this, I have to up the ante. Now I'm teaching B to bark when she's found those treats in the hard to reach spots. Get creative, use their talents in a positive way and I PROMISE! you will reap the rewards.