On being a Great Dog-Parent
Of all the photos I've seen and taken of dogs, of all the things I've read and watched, this image of lions tells my story the best. It is a picture of stability, of a highly regulated society with very specific roles for each member to play.
The Lion and Lioness have built a happy home for their cubs. That home is a shelter, a place of safety, love and sustenance - all provided by the parents and enjoyed by the cub - within a land of unseen dangers.
It is my belief that this is how dogs live in our world, too, and that it is my responsibility to provide that security and affection for your dog, while they stay with me in my home.
Can you imagine what a Lion pack would be like if there was no order? Cubs running free, making their own choices? It would be utter chaos and I suspect there would not be a pack for long.
My diagram, to the right, illustrates the 2 roles I use to create a balanced home with my canine guests. Rules are set and affection given - to those abiding.
When in Rome...
Just as people tend to see dogs as other people, dogs tend to see people as other dogs.
I like to communicate my thoughts and feelings using the dog's vocabulary (rather than my own): body language, touch and sound.
Walking is probably the single most important thing you can do with and for your dog.
Not only do they get exercise, it gives them a sense of purpose and community.
Guests are typically walked 40-60 minutes a day.
I think of it as a ritualized hunt.
We never catch anything, but they don't seem to mind.
People like it, too.
All work and no play...
As with any living creatures,
dogs need down time, too.