What Your Dog Truly Needs

Our dogs are so like us in so many ways. We can see them feel joy and pain just like us. Things that we so admire in humans such as loyalty, trust and a boundless joy are so abundant in our dogs that we cannot help but love them. But loving our dogs means more then simply showering them with treats and kisses. We must respect that in being so like us humans that they need purpose beyond living for food and shelter.

In the course of my dog training at Perfect Manners Dog Training I encounter so many stressed, neurotic pets that are being literally killed with kindness that it troubles me greatly. How can good people, who love their dogs, so misunderstand what a dog truly needs?

Think of how many horrific headlines you’ve read of the spoiled rich child who was given everything in life without effort and spent his years spiraling from one personal tragedy to the next. Recall the consequences of life without purpose on our species and imagine what we do to our canine family.

Many of the more popular dog breeds that we love as pets were bred for work. Border Collies toiled long hours in the field herding with their master. Labs hunted and retrieved while running through bush and fields to retrieve master’s catch. Now these same proud breeds are lavished with affection, overfed with treats, and are lucky to have a fifteen minute hike through a manicured park with their master on an occasional basis. One day is like the next with no stimulation other then unending affection without apparent purpose. This is a recipe for disaster.

We live in urban areas and we cannot reasonably take our dog sheep herding in our subdivision. But we can provide challenge and purpose to their lives. We can give them work and thereby give them self worth. This is what our dogs truly need and is the part of their evolutionary heritage that has made them an integral part of the human experience. If you haven’t begun, start obedience training your dog. Before your dog eats, make her do work. Have her sit, down and come before you feed her. You may pet her because you love her but your touch will have warm meaning if she first fetches your slippers or puts her toys away in her toy box. When you walk her, work her. Throw away your retractable leash and have your dog walk on a heel where she must focus on you. In other words, think of your own life experience. Your food tastes sweeter and accomplishments are only truly rewarding when they have been achieved through your hard work and effort. Your dog has the need for meaning, purpose and self worth.

Love is more then giving affection. It is also understanding what can truly bring joy to that four legged creature that adores you more then you could ever know. Training your dog is not just about good behavior. Training your dog is about giving your dog the one thing he really, truly needs.

Sandy Finley
Perfect Manners Dog Training

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