This pandemic and quarantine have given us all quite a bit to contemplate and reflect on. If we were ever going to get a glimpse into the life of a domesticated dog’s world, it would be right now. By day three I couldn’t stop thinking about how the quarantine resembled a domesticated dog’s everyday life. Living under such rigid restrictions felt so un-natural and disturbing; and that’s where we all need to sit up and take note.
Many dogs live each day of their beautiful life in a state of quarantine without a pandemic brewing. The hard truth is that we are destroying the one animal that offers us so much more than we deserve. We turn a blind eye to how we deny them from being a dog and we somehow think it’s alright to do this. We’ve domesticated one of the most social animals and successfully de-socialized them. We’ve also de-natured them. We want them as companions yet treat them like prisoners. We expect them to be obedient yet we don’t put the time into teaching them how to be. We want them to be healthy and live a long life yet we feed them subpar inappropriate food and over vaccinate them. We want them to be happy yet we suppress, yell and interdict most of their ways.
Dogs sit patiently at our side hoping to be granted a few moments of experiencing a “real dog life” yet often times are dismissed by our disengagement and fixation with our smart phone or computer. This is not how dogs’ lives are supposed to be. It’s just wrong, very wrong. They give us so much. It’s time we paid attention to their needs and explored all of the relevant information out there on how to do so. We need to dig deep and educate yourselves. There’s always a silver lining in everything. Good things will grow from this pandemic. Let’s ask ourselves “What did I learn from this experience and what can I do to help my dog thrive?”. Better yet, take notes from how your dog dealt with all of this. I know if we do and act upon it, our dogs will live the life they were meant to live and you will relish in that happy place with them.
Understand why your dog does what he does. All dogs innately want to be accepted and understood. When they “act up” they are not being “bad. They are being misunderstood, feeling frustrated, experiencing acute or chronic stress or simply bored out of their mind. Learn how to humanely and effectively deal with your dog’s behavior and channel his / her energy into something positive. I promise you won’t regret it.
Remember this “COVID19 feeling. It’s critical for our dog’s wellbeing, as a dog guardian and our soul. My hope is that we all see our dogs in an entirely new light. Our beloved companions are filled with vitality and vibrancy. They are just wait patiently for us to recognize that they are there eager to seize each new day. We can take what we have learned from this unprecedent time and use it to help ourselves and our dogs live a better life, a life that nature intended, a life of meaning and joy. Life is always better when shared with a dog!
On a daily basis dogs are:
- Isolated / Cut off from society – little to no socialization
- Activities are controlled – no walks, definitely no playing and no watching and observing nature
- Behaviors are suppressed – don’t bark, don’t chase, don’t dig, don’t sniff. Just don’t
How humans deal with stress:
- Talk, yell, exercise, pray/ meditate, over eat and drink
How dogs deal with stress:
- Bark, chew, soil the home, jump, growl, bite, dig and whimper
How humans react to dogs dealing with stress:
- Yell, lock up, ignore, hit … SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE
Take your dog’s lead and embark on a new-found freedom to help them THRIVE!
- Cast a net of positive energy!
- Give of your time – engaged w/ dog w/o devices
- Sniff Walks
- Sun and fresh air
- Biologically Appropriate Food
- Share food
- Pay attention to how long your dog is left alone
- Say “Yes” rather than “No”
- Get on floor and play
- Integrate Manners daily
- Eliminated Stressors
- Play dates with nice friends
- Go on an adventure – even if it’s for 10 minutes!