“Luna, do you stop chewing this table leg?”
No, man, I won’t. I have to chew and that’s all I have.
“Luna, do you stop protecting us from our friends, we invited them here?”
No man, can’t you see that I’m helping?
“Luna, this is your cat sister, please stop chasing her, she’s not just here for your entertainment!”
‘She is not?’
In a month where there is a lot of talk about breeds, let’s look at things from a slightly different perspective, from a dog’s perspective and what we can learn from them.
How many of us have a dog who spends his days doing what their supposed “race identity” tells us to do?
How many of us know what our dog’s favorite things are and still don’t allow them to enjoy these things as often as possible?
How many of us live in accordance with their own identity or do we know that there is “more”, but don’t you prioritize our health and well-being so that we can enjoy life?
Dog is the first
What does your dog’s breed or mix of breeds suggest that he is good at? As individual as our dogs are, there are breed characteristics that have been passed down from their ancestors and that play a role in some behaviors that they may show.
Dogs that have been bred in the past for a specific task such as herding, guarding, speed, or a strong sense of smell are often prone to these activities.
If your herding dog tries to look after cars, they will need a new point of sale for their skills. If your watchdog wants to protect you from invited visitors, they need a new point of sale for their skills. If your super-fast dog just runs away from you and the sound of their recall is never that fast, they’ll need a new outlet for their skills if your sniffer dog digs up the garden next door because they’re sure they need to smell a long-forgotten bone they have a new outlet for their skills.
It’s really frustrating when you have an instinctive desire to follow your true calling, but everyone around you tells you that you should do something else. Correct?
Most of the time there are as many differences within the breeds as there are with the entire dog brotherhood. It is important that “breed” does not define your dog and you look at the person you live with.
What does your dog like to do, regardless of breed or mix of breeds?
You have probably heard the word “enrichment” before, but what does it really mean and why is it so important for us and our dogs?
Enrichment activities guide our dog’s natural behavior regardless of breed in a way that can be encouraged and celebrated. For a dog’s wellbeing, it is important that it is encouraged to be DOGS! Would you prefer your dog to get his chewing fun from a huge Kong with nutritious and delicious goodness or by dismantling your sofa?
Walkies are important for your dog’s well-being, but they are not enough. A slow feeder is probably a good thing for your dog, but it is not enough. A workout is fabulous, but not enough.
Enrichment is something that needs to be considered every day. If you don’t provide things that enrich your dog’s life, they’ll find their own entertainment or coping mechanisms, and I can almost guarantee that you won’t like what they come up with.
Most of the so-called “problem” behaviors that dogs display and cause headaches in humans are actually quite normal dog behaviors that require an outlet. My dog barks at everything. My dog continues to dig in the garden. My dog chews my favorite things. Dogs have to bark, dig and chew; It is our job to provide them with an entertaining and interactive way to do what they have to do.
Should we dig a little and talk about why enrichment is important to us too?
How often do you stop and think about how you can enrich your own life and direct your energy into your own favorite activities?
In our increasingly busy life, it is easy to go through the movements every day and then ask yourself why our mental and physical health is deteriorating.
When we’re overwhelmed, it’s easy to skip lunch, miss the promised swimming lesson, cancel our friends, and stay up late to “do only one thing!”
Would we treat our dogs like this? Have you ever been too busy feeding your dog, skipping walkies for a week and forbidding them to play with their dog beast?
What would happen if you did it?
You would be grumpy at best!
We are no different. Without the things that enrich our lives; We work in an environment that matches our identity and values, fuel our bodies in a way that supports us, exercise to release our happiness hormones, and get enough sleep to do it again tomorrow. We are grumpy. at best.
Didn’t you earn more?
Taking care of yourself is not a reward if you have time at the end of the day. It is part of the process to reach the end of the day with intact mental and physical wellbeing.
Make a list of three easily accessible things that you like to do and three easily accessible things that your dog likes to do. Choose one thing for each of you to do today. Commit to it. Then add your lists and choose something from them every day.
Written by Marie Yates, director of Canine Perspective CIC. Marie was a finalist on Purina’s # BetterWithPets Award 2018, and you can learn more about her social business here: www.canine-perspective.com/purina