Life Unleashed: We've got to let our dogs be dogs
The dog: a cold-nosed, perky-eared, perpetual embodiment of frolic. He does not dwell on the past or concern himself with what's to come. He exists only in the present.
As humans, we find this is a quality we admire and envy. Perhaps this is where dogs get their abundant charm. Dogs have a different perspective and it is important to remember this throughout our daily interactions.
We have so much in common with our canines that it is easy to assume they share our outlook on life. In fact, when they don't, we often recognize this as disobedience or misbehavior.
In reality, your dog isn't refusing to come when called because he is dominant or defiant; he simply prefers to sniff for chipmunks than lie inside the house.
Perhaps if humans had the same capacity for deciphering scent-receptor information we, too, would be on all fours indulging ourselves in olfactory amusements.
Just as if the canine could appreciate the thrill of “Shark Week,” he would love nothing more than to kick back in front of the television with you.
So alas, we must enjoy activities we have in common, like a walk or a game of fetch.
There are a lucky few who have dogs that are so adaptable and so intuitive that they require very little effort to gracefully embrace their roles as family pets. However, most pet parents with well-behaved dogs will tell you it takes a lot of work, patience and strong communication skills to develop and maintain a harmonious relationship.
The secret is in finding your dog's true motivation and then using his favorite activities to reward him for good behavior.
Remember to love him like a child but train him like a loyal, lighthearted, socially intelligent dog. Canines are not human children.
He has his own skill set and capabilities which must be unlocked using accurate science and psychology. We must cater to the dog's specific needs and understanding to be truly kind.
Andrea J. Lamping trains dogs in the greater airport area, including Sewickley, Moon, Robinson and Hopewell. She can be reached at 724-984-7829 or visit her website at www.moon-walkers.com.