Entitled or Privileged

Are we all entitled to have a pet? No, we are privileged to have a pet. Ninety percent of our pets are chosen by us, not the other way round. To use Suzanne Clothier’s words, talking of one’s dog – “he is not a volunteer, he’s a draftee”

As much as we like to anthropomorphise our pets, they remain animals. They can be taught to behave the way we would like them to by reinforcing the behaviour we would like them to repeat. They will recognise certain words and actions as precursors to certain occurrences.

If we see our pets as animals first, we can better understand their needs and why they do things. These are not wild animals, but all the same animals. Unless taught differently, they will use their paws and teeth to stop what they don’t like or to get what they do want. They express themselves with their eyes, ears, tails and stances.

The way we see the world is not the way our dogs see the world. They have their own fears and limitations. Do not expect more than you know can be delivered by your dog.

Our dogs have their own interests and urges. Distractions play a large part in your dogs’ behaviour and some are much stronger than what you are offering as they are hard-wired behaviours within your dog.

Do not think your dog does what he does to spite you or to dominate you. These are human traits, not those of dogs or even wolves, which have been used to explain the behaviour of man’s best friend.

Strive to understand your dog and why he does what he does. Learn what will entice him to do what you want him to and train him with comprehension and compassion.