It can be hard sometimes to accept that our darling furry friend is not like a human, and many pet owners treat their pooches as if they are children. However, this is a big mistake and does not allow you to fully appreciate and respond to the needs of your pet. What you believe your pet might enjoy, is often inaccurate and comes from the expectation that your pet has the same responses as a human.
How treating your pet like a human can be dangerous:
You need only look at social media sites to see examples of pet dogs being exposed to potentially dangerous circumstances, such as when they are filmed tolerating the behaviour of small children who may be pulling their ears or tail and crawling over them as they sleep, or when they run around unleashed during hazardous situations.
Unlike humans, dogs do not have the foresight to predict how their behaviour may affect them in the long term, or how their actions could be dangerous to their health. Our pets are entirely reliant on us to protect them and keep them safe from harm, and when we make irresponsible decisions related to their welfare, we should not be surprised when things backfire and either your pet, or another human is harmed.
The importance of understanding and appreciating that your dog is in fact, a dog;
Canine behaviour is very different to human behaviour and should your pet chase after squirrels or try to catch and kill your neighbour’s chickens, you really shouldn’t be surprised since this is built into their genetic make-up. Dogs by nature, are carnivores and predators, and placed in situations where they can behave in the manner they were born to, they will hunt down and even kill, something that presents itself to them as prey.
Think about what you feed your pet dog:
It’s a common sight to see overweight pets owned by humans who treat their furry friend as if they were a human themselves. These pet parents tend to feed their dogs far more frequently than is healthy for them, and often give them foods that are bad for them, simply because they appear to enjoy them more than foods that are nutritious. Some owners even feed human food to their pets, misguidedly believing that it’s an act of love and that their pet will thank them for it. The reality is that dogs do not need to eat human foods and many such items can make them sick and obese.
Think about exercise for your pet dog:
A good pet parent understands that their pet dog needs enrichment in their life, rather than quick treats and pampering. What dogs really love to do is chase things, fetch things, explore and rise to challenges. Hide toys and treats for them and give them mental and physical stimulation while they hunt for them. While such activities might not be fun for you, they are incredibly rewarding for your dog and recognising this is vital if you are to have a happy, healthy and fulfilled pet dog.
Listening to the needs of your pet and taking time to enrich their lives with games and stimulation will ensure that you have a pet that is truly content. Observing their reactions to our behaviour and thinking about how a dog might view a situation, as opposed to how a child might, will go a long way to helping you have a better relationship with your beloved four-legged friend.