If you’re like most dog owners, misunderstanding your dog happens a lot. Ever wonder why the dog picks your stuff out of the laundry or your shoe from the closet? And leaves everyone else’s stuff alone?
I bet you thought he was trying to get even for some imagined offense. Imagined by you, that is, – not by your dog.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
Maybe you felt guilty about paying too little attention to your dog when you were busy. And then you figured that because of it your dog must have been so mad at you that he decided to plot a little bit of revenge. So he sniffs out one of your favorite belongings and trashes it.
Except for the part about sniffing, that entire scene is just a fantasy. Yet so many owners drive themselves crazy by imagining scenarios like that one to explain their dog’s actions in human terms. But dogs are not human. And that, friends, is the reason that misunderstanding your dog leads to the craziness.
So, what’s really going on with the dog? Let’s keep it simple.
Here are five truths we know for sure about dogs:
Dogs of any age, but especially puppies and young adults, need to chew. So we provide them with appropriate chew bones and toys.
But dogs are very curious and so they constantly investigate their entire surroundings, no matter how many doggie toys they have. When they sniff out something interesting they use their mouths to carry, chew, and play with what they’ve found.
Because they’re extremely social, dogs have a strong attachment to their human caretakers. This is why we sometimes get carried away and treat dogs as if they were also human. We aren’t doing dogs any favors with that mindset.
In order to thrive, dogs need to feel safe and comfortable. The scent of the human whom they have a strong attachment to is like a security blanket for their sense of well being. Your dog is more attracted to the things that smell the strongest of YOU. Specifically, your favorite things.
And especially now, with the upheaval in our familiar routines, our dogs are feeling the stress and getting bored. Having the whole family quarantined and staying home all day was a happy novelty at the beginning for most dogs. But now, because they are so fine-tuned to the emotional energy around them, dogs are seeking attention and looking for comfort.
It’s not the dog that’s driving you crazy – it’s misunderstanding the dog. That’s not to say that you should just step back and do nothing. Chewing up your stuff – or any inappropriate behavior for that matter – is not acceptable. Period. It’s not evil, wrong, malicious, or spiteful. It’s just unacceptable because we say it is – a purely subjective judgment on our part. No one can expect a dog to figure that out on his own.
So how can you keep your sanity and still provide the comfort and security your dog deserves?
It won’t surprise you to learn that I have a plan for that. One that I know works because it’s exactly what I’m doing every single day with my six-month-old puppy and my adult dogs. It’s not rocket science and it’s easy enough for any kid to do.
I’m excited to share it with you but it will have to wait ’till next time. I’m calling it my sanity solution – something many of us could use right about now!
So, until then, please consider those five truths we know for sure about dogs.
Which one of the five can you relate to the most? When you think about it, have you been misunderstanding your dog? Is there one that hits home and describes your situation with your dog?
I want to hear from you – your opinions are my guideposts. So, right now, Comment and let me know which truth is most true about your dog.
I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!