With a shout out to the late, great Aretha Franklin, we thought we’d take a moment to talk about respect.
Respect is fundamental to the human-dog relationship. As humans, we strive to teach our dogs respect in the form of good manners—no jumping, no biting, stop barking, off leash walking, and come when called. But we don’t always think about what our dogs need from us.
Dogs need down time. How much depends on the individual dog, breed, level of exercise and living arrangement. Respect your dog by providing an appropriate amount of undisturbed down time. That means keeping kids away from a sleeping pup, and providing a safe space for a dog to hang out. Dogs that are biting, barking, and hiding, especially young dogs, might be reacting to too much stimulation.
Dogs need exercise. For the last 9,800 years, dogs have had jobs. Whether they were herding, hunting, retrieving, stalking, pulling, guarding, delivering messages, saving lives, or gracing thrones, dogs were active. It’s only in the last 200 years that dogs have become pets with little or no responsibility. Respect your dog by providing an appropriate amount of exercise and mental stimulation for their breed, size, physical condition, and age. For most dogs that means yes to activities like walking, hiking, swimming, agility, tricks, therapy work, scent work, and playing games like “hide and seek” and “fetch.” (See our Ready To Go posts!) Games like “chase me,” are likely to lead to over-excitement and biting. (See our My Puppy Bites! post.)
Goes without saying, right? But what food? How much food? Make the right decision for your dog. Overindulging your pup is not respectful. Underfeeding is obviously wrong.
Keeping your dog is safe is fundamental. Unless you purchased your dog for security, safe does not mean that your dog protects you. Safe means you protect your dog. One area where humans fall short is on meets and greets. In the wild, nervous or overly excited canines do not survive. Respect your dog by taking the lead during introductions, whether they involve people, dogs, or both; whether they happen at your door, on the sidewalk, in your yard, or at the dog park. (See our On The Leash post.) If your dog greets others in a nervous or excited state, proactively seek instruction from reputable trainers (like the team at All About My Dog!) — learn how to stay calm, be a leader, and keep your dog safe.
Yes, it is a cliché, but RESPECT actually is a two-way street.