Have We Lost Our Way?
When it comes to having a pet, there are gazillions of different types of family and pet relationships. Of course in an ideal world we would have our dogs with us all the time and let them naturally experience life with humans every minute of the day. We could still control their environment while they are with us to make sure no harm can come to them but they get to be with their family and freely choose their interactions.
I stood watching a young boy in a local township with his dog - there was no lead, the dog just happily followed the little boy everywhere he went, the little boy interacting with him all along their walk. They walked past so many distractions that I thought to myself if this was my dog, it would have been a nightmare. The little boy's dog ignored the chickens, the people, the cars and just focused on the boy. Now I'm guessing but I reckon this little dog doesn’t have designer clothes, luxury beds and food that costs more than an average person's salary. He was on the thin side and looked like he needed a good scrub, but in my opinion the dog looked happy.
“...he was merrily walking along with his dog, who in reality had the choice to go with him or not and I personally think this is where in our modern world we are losing our connection with our dogs...” - Tracy McQuarrie, Dogtown SA.
Now, I'm not saying spoiling and giving your dog the best you can afford is wrong. I do it everyday, but what I do think is we put a lot of focus on things instead of time with our animals. I see it with the dogs here at Dogtown. For the most part they are the most happy when they are interacting with people and dogs. This little boy didn’t have much but he did have time to give to his dog. I often think what will happen to the bond these two have when he goes off to school and how will the little dog spend his days.
It was a big eye opener for me, especially coming from a trainer perspective. It got me thinking, can you overtrain your dog? Can you over analyze and over manage everything your dog does, their body language, their reactions to strange things?
This little boy was just being a little boy. He wasn’t checking his dog's body language - he was merrily walking along with his dog, who in reality had the choice to go with him or not and I personally think this is where in our modern world we are losing our connection with our dogs.