These are all needs that we must meet in a timely way, if we are not to leave the dog to meet the needs itself as best it can.
The dog-needs we need to meet always in a timely way include:
Dogs we breed or adopt as companion or family dogs cannot survive long nor well on their own.
We raise human children with the goal of guiding them so that they eventually grow up and go out into the world to survive on their own - and we hope, do better than just to survive.
We treat family or companion dogs differently. We expect puppies to grow up into adult dogs, but not to leave home and go out into the world to make their fortunes. (Of course, there are those who expect dogs to make humans fortunes.)
As I see it, then, we humans are completely responsible for taking care of these dogs.
I know of at least two titles "Dogs Behaving Badly."
My goodness, what amazing titles. The descriptions of "bad behavior" are of dogs behaving as dogs do; they do what dogs do because they are what dogs are.
Humans say dogs "behave badly" when the humans are inconvenienced, or don't know what to do to make the dog do what they want the dogs to do, or don't know how to stop the dog from doing what the dogs are doing.
A well-behaved dog is one who is well-cared-for.
It's not necessary to train a dog formally; it is definitely necessary to teach a family or companion dog how to survive in a world of humans.
Dogs give hints; we can listen. They take hints, too; we can give hints.
My concern for dogs, and for all living creatures they live with, is, safety, health and comfort, in that order.
I don't know why I was surprised to discover, or learn, that a dog whose needs I met behaved well. I thought about that quite a lot, and sure enough, if one of my dogs started "misbehaving," would you believe it; that dog had a need I hadn't met. It was a real need.
We can learn canine calming signals easily these days, because we have new resources for learning.
To learn about calming signals, you can begin by visiting the Calming Signals Community, the web site where Turid Rugaas, Norwegian dog-trainer, presents articles, photographs of calming signals, and answers questions.
Magda Urban of Poland presents a considerable collection of pictures of Calming Signals on her web site.
Learning the signals helps us sort out dog-body-language, and makes it easy to take hints from our dogs. It takes time and practice for us to develop skills in reading and using the signals, but the payoffs for doing so are very large. Also, the learning is fun, so I strongly recommmend trying it.
You can, and should, test this information for yourself. You can have a lot of fun doing it, too! Your dogs will appreciate you for doing so. You will find that as long as you meet their real needs, your dogs will become the great dogs you always thought they were.
When we care for dogs, we do our very best to take good care of them. And we, with the dogs, reap the rewards of doing that. Our dogs can become the dogs they are, in depth and in detail, and we happy humans get to watch them being the astounding creatures they are, day in, day out.
When their needs are met, dogs learn easily to live with us humans.
Carol Whitney is a retired ethnomusicologist who has been specializing in communication between living creatures all her life.
Last modified on
Tuesday, 19-Jul-2005 14:15:34 MDT
It is now
Sunday, 19-May-2013 15:44:14 MDT