Summer and bugs are here!

Summer is here and so are the ticks and mosquitos. I don't know about you but I worry about my dogs getting bit by these annoying bugs. I especially worry about Jazz because he is older but that really doesn't matter to the ticks and mosquitos. The traditional ways of treating our dogs preventatively have been in place and trusted for years now. However, over the last few years I have become increasingly concerned about the chemical composition of these traditional preventive treatments. I found myself looking for alternative treatments that would be more natural and not harmful with potential side effects for my dogs. I am not the expert on what is or what is not the best treatment for your dog. I can only share my researched journey and what works for my dogs. I do know that many other people also have found alternative treatments and use them with success as I do. Traditional treatments work. I am still using some traditional treatments for my dogs but I am also incorporating some holistic or natural alternatives. 

FLEA & TICK - Your vet will guide you to use the long prescribed drugs to treat your dog for ticks and fleas. I have found some natural treatments that are working very well. Dr. Karen Becker at MercolaHealthyPets.com
offers many holistic options. I use her essential oil as a topical on the dogs applied similar to the long standing chemical applications. I also use the essential oil spray every time my dogs go out for a walk or do any kind of activity outside. 

It is important to check your dogs at least once a day for ticks. I keep my dogs in a summer hair cut that also makes it easier to find ticks. When we go for walks I like to avoid letting the dogs off the trail into high grasses where ticks often are. They certainly enjoy their walks but I am attentive to where they are walking at all times. If you want your dog to romp in the woods and high grasses then make sure they are protected as much as possible and despite the best protection it is still important to check every day for ticks. Ticks are a reality we have to deal with.

Another resource for natural product alternatives is DogsNaturallyMagazine.com   
They have products that are effective and safe natural options as well. I also use some of their products.

Another resource I find helpful is Dr. Deva Khalsa also a holistic veterinarian. I like her practical approach and use of natural products that can be most helpful in caring for our dogs. 

There are many other resources I am sure you can find and already may be aware of. 

It is important to research options carefully. Your dogs health is the utmost priority. Traditional and natural treatments for various reasons are choices we make for our dogs overall health. Diet of course is also important and there are holistic and natural options in diet as well. Over all health for our dogs is related to their food, exercise and the medical and preventive treatments we administer to them. Being informed will help you along your journey.  

Wishes for a safe and funfilled summer for you and your dog!

WOOFS & SMILES!

Benefits and Etiquette of Bringing Your Dog to Work

It is becoming more and more acceptable to bring your dog to work. A 2008 study conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) found that 17 per cent of employers had pet friendly workplace policies. Pet related business have even higher percentages of pet friendly workplaces. We have a national bring your dog to work day that happens annually and each year it seems more work places are open to inviting our canine friends to join us for that work day. With that in mind I thought it would be helpful to look at not only the benefits of this but also the etiquette necessary to make this a successful event. 

Benefits for the employees

  • Having your pet with you at work eliminates any stress you may feel about how your dog is doing at home or elsewhere without you. Also, being with your dog creates a feeling of calm and happiness our dogs just naturally bring to our lives. This of course reduces our personal stress level. 
  • Other emlployees enjoy having a dog in the work environment and this promotes positive conversation and interaction among co-workers. Dogs are always in the present moment. They share positive energy that is in a way contagious. People who enjoy being around dogs enjoy this good feeling and love to share it with others. Thus stress can be reduced for other co-workers as well.
  • When your dog is with you, you do not have to worry about what he is doing and what he may need. You are with your dog and can meet his needs as they arise. That may save you the cost of a professional dog walker or even doggie day care for the day. 

Benefits for the dog

  • Your dog is with you, the person he most wants to be with. He is happy and feeling good. This means your dog's stress level is reduced as well. If our dog is not comfortable around noise and other people, the work place may not be the best place for him. It is important to know your dog and make sure he is as happy to be at work with you as you are having him there. 
  • Dogs love routine. Going to work with you will become part of your dog's routine as well. It is something he will look forward to doing with you.

Benefits for the employer

  • A Pet friendly image develops for the employer. Potential employees looking for a pet friendly work place will be attracted to an employer like this. Some employers offer the ability to bring your pet to work to specifically attract the Millennial generation and other potential employees.
  • Studies have determined employee turnover is less when employees like coming to work. Having dogs in the workplace often makes the workplace a pleasant place to come to work. Also, employees are generally experiencing reduced stress during the workday in this environment. Hiring and replacing employees who have left can be costly to all employers. Reduced turnover is a plus financially and overall employee stability and longevity is a positive statement about an employer. 
  • On a similar note employee performance is enhanced when employees are less stressed and enjoy working in the environment. Increased performance is a definite benefit for the employer.

Etiquette for all

Employees
1) need to be sensitive to other co-workers who may have allergies to dogs. If there are a number of employees with allergies bringing a dog to work may not work. Even one person with allergies in the area is not a good experience for anyone. Pet free zones may be the solution.

2) need to make sure their dog is comfortable in this environment and is socialized well to people and loud noises and equipment like office printers, chairs, elevators and anything else specific to your work environment. If your dog is familiar with the environment he will adjust to the specific sounds and activities.

3) need to make sure their dog is able to get outside to eliminate and get some physical exercise. Even if only brief periods it is important for your dog to move physically and have a place he can eliminate comfortably. If a dog has pent up energy he could take it out by chewing on something in the office that is meant to be off limits for his safety and the safety of others. 

4) need to limit the treats and food that co-workers may want to feed your dog. Make sure your dog gets the calories comparable to the activity level he is expending. Also, people are well intentioned, but mot all food is safe for a dog to eat. Bringing treats for co-workers or customers to give your dog may be the best scenario.

5) need to keep your dog safe from interaction with people who may invade your dog's space and touch him in a place that may bother him. Most dogs really don't like being pet over their head. Be mindful of where your dog is at all times. When everyone understands how to interact with your dog things will go well. 

Employer
1) Must be prepared for any legal issues that may arise. Have a lawyer involved in making decisions to bring dogs into the work place to prepare for the possibility of dog bites, or other incidents. 

2) Having a workplace "pet policy" is necessary. Work with a lawyer, and perhaps some employees to layout expectations and consequences for the dog and the pet parent. It will address things like when and where the dog can be in the workplace. Whether in a crate or on a leash. Where to take the dog outside on what area of the property, how to address co-workers with allergies, and other related information. This will help everyone to know what the expectations are. 

Dog - needs to be comfortable in the workplace environment. That means he is a socialized dog who enjoys being around people and possible noises throughout the day. A dog who is trained and socialized is more able to be successful in new environments. 

Bringing your dog to work can be a win win for everyone: the dog, the employee and the employer. 

WOOFS & SMILES!

Being a Pet Parent "MOM"

Mother's Day is May 14, 2017. Realizing this I thought it would be nice to share the newsletter I wrote last year for Mother's Day. It recognizes all we do for our beloved dogs as their human parent, but also what we get in return. I hope you enjoy the read and I wish a wonderful Mother's Day to all pet parent Mom's!
 
Ten Reasons Mother’s Day is for the “Mom” Pet Parent too!
 
1) Commitment -  We make a life long commitment to the very end to love and care for our beloved dogs. Our dogs bring joy to our lives from the time they are a puppy to the time they are ready to cross over the rainbow bridge. 
 
2)  Canine Children - Some “Mom” Pet Parents only have canine children. This makes the parent relationship especially meaningful. For some Pet Parent Moms this means never having had a human child, only canine children and for others it can be before human children come into the family or after the human children leave the family.
 
3) Nutrition - We provide nutrition and even make homemade treats for our dogs. We research and make sure what they eat is safe and nutritional for them. 
 
4) Exercise - We provide exercise and take our dogs for daily walks. We enjoy the fresh air and connecting with nature together. We are exercise buddies and we both gain the benefits of being physically active.
 
5) Training - We spend time training our dogs so they can live comfortably in our human world. Teaching our dogs good manners and how to behave well at home and in public is a parent responsibility we take very seriously.
 
6) Health Care - We take our dogs to the veterinarian for wellness check ups and when they are sick or injured to make sure they get the best of care. We are advocates for our dogs health because they need us to speak for them.
 
7) Grooming - We take our dogs to the groomer and make sure they are properly groomed for their needs. We keep their toenails trimmed and their teeth brushed. Canine hygiene is important in preventing physical and dental problems for our dogs. We focus on prevention.
 
8) Gifts - Whenever we are shopping we make a point to check out the dog section in the store for that special toy or chew we know our dog will like. We are always thinking of things that will make our dog happy.
 
9) Socialization - We make sure our dogs have a chance to play with other dogs. Socialization and playing with other dogs and humans is important and fun for our dogs.
 
10) Unconditional Love - All these things we do for our beloved dogs pale in comparison to the unconditional love our dogs give us every minute of every day. We are grateful for the gift of having these wonderful canine children in our life. 


Wishes for a pawsitively awesome Mother's Day to all our dedicated
Pet Parent Moms!


WOOFS & SMILES!

Pet Etiquette When Visiting Friends

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When visiting friends or family and they invite you to bring your dog here are some things to consider:

1) Your friends and family need to invite you to bring your dog. It is imposing to invite your dog when they may not really be up for that. If you know the person well and they know you well they will automatically consider your dog coming and make sure you know that. Other wise it is a difficult situation and you may be better off staying at a pet friendly hotel.

2) Bringing your dog with you any where is a big responsibility. You must first have a dog who is comfortable being in new places and with new or other people. Remember a dog is leaving their home and familiar environment just as you are. Not all dogs like change and not all dogs do well with this kind of change.

3) A dog who has received basic obedience training is a must. Training is a dogs right and a pet parents responsibility. Training helps our dogs to be comfortable in our human controlled world. Knowing the expectations and being able to perform them is essential for a dog. Expectations like leave it, sit, stay, come, etc. Bringing an untrained dog anywhere is putting the dog in a stressful situation as well as the people you are visiting.

4) Clear with the person you are visiting there preferences for where the dog can go to the bathroom and make sure you clean up behind your dog. What area of the home may be off limits to the dog and where can the dog safely be. Will there be small children. If so supervision of children and dogs by and adult is necessary at all times. Dogs and children can have a great deal of fun together but an adult needs to be there to make sure the fun does not escalate for either the dog or the child. I supervise my two grandchildren, who are 2 and 4 years of age, at all times. I don’t want anything to happen to either of them. Safety is primary for the dog and the children.

5) Bring food and even water for your dog. If the water is very different from what your dog is used to drinking it can be a problem for their tummy. Keeping the diet the same is also a transition of sameness for the dog’s comfort and digestion. 

6) Bring a crate, if your dog is crate trained. This will be a safe familiar space your dog can be in when he feels a need to feel calm and safe. When I can’t find my dogs in the house I always find them getting some alone or quiet time in their crates which are open at all times for them to come and go at their desire.

7) Bring toys and familiar articles for your dog to play with and give him something to do as well. 

8) Most of all don’t forget your dog is with you after you arrive. You have brought your dog so make sure he can participate is some of the activities with you and the people you are visiting. 

9) Respect canine and human needs and have fun!

Woofs & Smiles!

Pet Parent or Pet Owner

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The term "pet parent" has been around for a while. Often I hear people refer to their dogs as "fur children" or "children with four legs" and there may be other similar references. The reference to our dogs as children and members of our family is powerful and I would say a standard of acceptance in our society today. This is in part demonstrated by the money we spend on our dogs apparently increasing every year. But also by the love we feel toward our dogs. People are often vocal about their dogs and how much their relationship with their dog means to them.

Despite this obvious statement of love and commitment to our dogs viewed as members of our family, it seems our reference to ourselves is still often as a "pet owner". You might be saying there really is no difference between a pet owner and a pet parent. So let's discuss these two references and how they may indeed be different from each other.   

PET OWNER - a pet owner is a term that has been used for years and years to describe human beings who "own" have a dog in their life. It has been perfectly acceptable and carries with it the responsibilities a human being has to a dog whom they consider belonging to them. The sense of a dog "belonging" to someone is reinforced by a few things. 

-- We purchase dogs - we pay money for a dog. We purchase them in an interaction with money that exchanges indicating we now own this dog. Often times people will pay an lot of money to purchase a purebred and often the expectation is that the dog will make money for the human as a result of this financial investment in the dog. Perhaps become a winning show dog, or breed the dog to sell the puppies. This reinforces the concept of "ownership" of a dog. At some level most people are influenced by this way of thinking about a dog as an object that is owned as a result of being purchased for money. We equate dogs to a monetary value. We equate ourselves to "owning" our dog. 

--Grammar objectifies all animals - Our grammar objectifies all animals. When I was writing my first book whenever I referred to dogs as he or she the software I was working on would automatically correct me and tell me to be correct I had to refer to the dog as it or that. I spoke with my editor about it and she suggested I write a disclaimer at the beginning of the book to satisfy the grammar critics, which I did. I wanted to refer to dogs throughout my book and in all my writing and conversations as the sentient beings they are. 

--Laws define dogs as property - our laws define dogs as property and many divorce situations find this challenging in the process of settlement. Dogs are often fought over for who will retain custody because our laws are black and white about them being property only. Dogs are found to be at risk in other legal situations as well. Being regarded as property is opposite to the sentient beings our dogs are.

Food for Thought - When we think of dogs as objects or property we purchase and refer them as objects like it and that, on some level it just makes it easier to surrender a dog or treat them as more of an object versus the sentient being they are. 

PET PARENT - When people refer to themselves as a pet parent, they are saying they regard their dog as a member of their family but more importantly they view their role as a pet parent as different from that of a dog owner. The term pet parent focuses on the human being more than the dog. 

--Integrates the dog into the family as a full fledged family member - a pet parent embraces their dog as a true family member. The dog is respected and loved as a the sentient being they are. Acknowledging the dog experiences feelings is much different than viewing a dog as an object. Developing a bond and a relationship with the dog built on trust and respect is critical to a parent-dog relationship. Providing the dog with socialization and training using only positive training techniques is key. Educating yourself about your dogs physical and emotional needs is essential. A pet parent does all these things and more. A pet parent views them self as the responsible partner in the relationship to provide food, shelter, love and medical care in addition to love and building a relationship with their dog. A pet parent also commits to their relationship with their dog until the very end. A pet parent lives up to their role in the relationship.

--Language is important - a pet parent refers to their dog as he or she. They know the power of language and also know language can change behavior. If we shift our thinking to dogs as sentient beings and not objects and we refer to them in the sentient sense of he or she, we will have an impact on not only our own thinking but that of others as well. 

Food for thought - as pet parents we make a shift in our thinking from pet owner to pet parent. We think of ourselves differently. The focus is primarily on our role in the relationship with our dog. We are responsible to be informed, educated, and loving in all we do with our dog. Our dog benefits from our shift in thinking from owner to parent. This shift needs to be intentional. I remember when I first began considering what I wanted to refer to myself as in my relationship with my dogs. I found myself saying pet owner without thinking. I didn't have to work long to change it to pet parent but it was definitely a conscious effort. My hope is that others who view themselves as pet parents will make this same conscious effort to address them self as "pet parent" at all times. This will promote others to think about how they perceive themselves in their relationship with their dogs and more and more people will refer to themselves as the pet parent they genuinely and already are. 

Being a pet parent is so much more rewarding than being a pet owner. Your dog will thank you!

Woofs & Smiles!

Dogs Have Feelings Too!

It hasn't been that long that we have changed out thinking about dogs and view them as sentient beings. Beings that experience emotions like fear, pain, joy, sadness and even jealousy.  It has actually only been a few years since this was clarified. At last check there were 2,500 studies that prove dogs think and feel. I quote some of the people who have done this research, like Dr. Stanley Corin, in my book. What is crucial about this research is that it is time we think about our dogs as capable of experiencing emotions and stop thinking of them as objects that don't have feelings. I remember people saying things like: "It is only a dog. It doesn't care what you do to it." Please notice the use of the term "it" in referring to the dog. When I wrote my book the software I was writing on would correct me every time I referred to dogs as he or she and told me to be grammatically correct I had to refer to them as it or that. I explained this to my editor when I was writing my book and she suggested I put a disclaimer at the from of my book to satisfy the grammatical gurus which I did. 

Referring to and thinking of a dog as an object makes it easier to abuse them and neglect them and even "get rid" of them. Seeing them as an object or a thing allows us not to feel responsible for causing them any emotional trauma. This emotional detachment from dogs and other animals helps explain the treatment of many animals in our society.  

One of the most powerful things we can do, besides recognizing and respecting our dogs feelings, is to refer to them as sentient beings whenever we talk about them or write about them. Using he and she to refer to them will have an impact. Language can change behavior. 

I want to talk about some of the feelings our dogs experience and how we know they are experiencing them.

Happy - we know our dogs are happy when they greet us when we come home. It delights us to know they miss us this much and are so happy to see us. Dogs are happy when they can spend time with us. Their tail wags and they have a smile on their face when we engage them in play and walks and rides in the car. Just being with us makes our dogs very happy and they tell us this with their body language. Their tail is wagging, the smile on their face, their relaxed body language and the happiness in their eyes and their vocal sounds all tell us how happy they are. 

Fear - dogs tell us they are frightened by loud noises in many ways. I have a friend who says her dog dives under the bed or other furniture during thunderstorms. Fire works can be difficult for many dogs. Implementing negative training techniques result in a fearful dog. A dogs body can tremble with fear and anxiousness in any situation they feel fearful. Children or adults poking dogs with sticks and throwing rocks at them for fun is cruel and causes dogs fear for their safety. Neglected and abused dogs live in a constant state of fear. Feeling fear is frightening for all sentient beings. 

Pain -  This is a more difficult emotion to read on our dogs sometimes. Language barriers can be challenging. The more you know your dog the more you will be able to know when things are not right and they may be in pain. Dogs will often go to their pet parent and try to tell them they are experiencing pain by looking at them or even showing them the paw or part of their body they are concerned about. When you get that quizzical look or pleading stare it may be a message from your dog they are in pain. Of course our neglected and abused dogs feel pain often in addition to the fear they live in much if not all the time. 

Sadness - Dogs feel sadness in many ways. When my dogs are separated I can tell they feel sad to be away from each other. I know they are sad when I am gone for long periods of time. If you should take something meaningful, like a special toy, away from a dog they can feel sad. Loss is often sadness for our dogs as well. You can tell by the sad look on their face; the sadness in their eyes and the overall lethargy of their body. Dogs also live so in the moment their resilience from sadness to joy is exemplified when we come home and they greet us with their joyful excitement to see us.

Jealousy - Yes, our dogs even feel jealously. When I am petting one of my dogs I immediately have the other one right there demanding the same attention. If one of my dogs gets a treat of course the other one wants one as well. When we do activities together if one has to wait their turn, especially JIve, she will howl and bark to make her displeasure known that Jazz is getting the attention. Dogs are all about being in a relationship with their pet parent. They can feel jealous having to share that relationship on many different levels. 

Shame - I peronally am not a fan of the dog shaming posts you see online. When you look into the face and eyes of these dogs wearing shame based signs in the name of human entertainment my heart sinks for the dog. Dogs are sensitive and have feelings. Their sensitivity is one of the things we love about them. We love that they anticipate our feelings and needs. Yet some people find humor in shaming dogs. Being sensitized to the fact that dogs have feelings and feel this shame is important.

Respecting dogs have feelings and respecting the actual feeling the dog is experiencing is crucial to developing trust and a long lasting bond in our relationship with our dogs. Research also indicates dogs think at the level of a 3-5 year old child. The ability to think and feel make our dogs perfect for a relationship with us as humans. the more we recognize, respect and value these qualities in our dogs, the more our communication will improve and our relationship will grow.  

Accepting our dogs have feelings allows us to experience empathy for them. Relating to our dogs on an emotional level is awesome!

Woofs & Smiles!

Spending Time With Our Dogs

Finding time to spend with our dogs can seem to be challenging despite the fact that we love them and view them as members of our family. In my book I talk about my first Portuguese water dog who's name was Breezer. I loved Breezer. I made sure he had food and water and saw the veterinarian regularly. I describe my relationship with Breezer as one of convenience for me. When I had time for Breezer is when he and I spent time together. I was working full time and had so many priorities that Breezer always seemed to come in last on that list. Today with Jazz and Jive in my life I find myself making time for them in ways I never thought to do for Breezer. I would like to share some of the things I do in the event they may be helpful to you. 

1) Intentionally making time to spend with our dogs - This may seem obvious to some pet parents and perhaps even silly to other pet parents. If we love our dogs and embrace them as members of our family it seems only natural to respect and recognize that relationship similar to other relationships in the family. We intentionally make time to be with human family members and so we also need to make time to be with our dogs. Making time for walks and other activities you do together is helpful to do every day. Make these times special events. Remember, your dog loves spending time with you. You are his/her whole world. You have friends and activities outside the family and home. You dog has you. When you are with your dog be intentional and focus on him/her. Give them your undivided attention.You will soon develop routines for times together. Every day I do not have an early meeting is a day Jazz and Jive do some nose work hides either in the house or outside. This is quite probably a highlight of their day. It only takes 5-10 minutes but they get to do it almost every day. Find something special you can do with your dog. It doesn't have to be a long time but rather frequent and enjoyable for both of you.   

2) Talk to your dog - I talk to my dogs all day long now that I work out of my home and am with them much of the day. This change in my lifestyle has made significant changes in my relationship with my dogs but I truly believe if I was working out of the home, my relationship would also be of a much higher quality than it was with Breezer. When I wake up I say good morning to my dogs. I engage them in the eyes and speak to them about many things like greeting them, asking them questions, giving them direction and much more. Engaging your dog like this shows respect and includes them in your life. As brief as it is, when you speak to your dog you are giving your dog your time. Even though we speak different languages, dogs relate to the tone of our voice and through training relate behaviors to words and phrases. Talking to your dog will build your bond and you both will become more aware of what each other needs or wants. Rambling on and on to a dog may mot be very helpful for either of you. However, on occasion, my dogs have received my opinion on something related to a human experience I have had and they only look confused. I don't blame them. Dogs need us to be to the point and clear about what we say to them, but I think humans also appreciate that. ;-) 

3) Make meal time special -  Make meal time special. Prepare your dog's food with intention. Smile and tell them you hope they enjoy their meal. Also, reading labels on the food you feed them is important. Feeding your dog healthy fruits and vegetable and fresh protein are the most nutritional foods they can eat. Jazz and I know each other so well, he hesitated eating his food one day and I thought it was due to a medication he was on. I added a bit of rice to his food and he ate it all. I returned to feeding him meals with no rice and he hesitated at eating again telling me he really wanted the rice again. I now add only a very small amount of cooked rice to his meals and he loves it.  It only takes a few minutes to make meal time a special time. If dogs will not eat the food you give them it usually means there is something wrong with the food or the dog. Dogs are smart and they know what food they like and need to eat. They need balance and variety in nutrition. This usually means we spend more time preparing their meals which is time with them. 

4) Greeting your dog - When we come home our dogs greet us with joy and excitement as though we have been gone for days. That response says how much they missed us and how happy they are to see us. No matter if you have been gone for minutes or hours or days, your dog's greeting is one of joy and excitement of the highest level. Make this time special. Spend time greeting your dog. Talk to him/her. Tell them you missed them too and that you are happy to see them. My dogs calm more quickly if I engage them and talk with them. If I ignore them they work harder to get my attention. When greeting them it helps if you do so with calm. I you feed their excitement it only makes them more excited. Enjoy the greeting and each other. 

5) Relaxing time together - When our day winds down and we come together as a family perhaps to watch TV or visit about our day, it is a good time to snuggle with our dogs. Dogs have a place in the family room whether it is on the furniture or on the floor. Being relaxed with our dog and petting our dog has positive health benefits for humans like lowering one's blood pressure. There is that sense of well being we feel when we are close to our dogs. A dogs love for their human parent is like no other love. It makes us feel happy and calm and most of all loved.

6) Sleeping with our dogs - About 50 percent of pet parents allow their dog to sleep in their bed with them. This is a very personal decision. Some dogs prefer being in the same room but not in the bed. Other dogs even prefer to sleep in a crate that feels safe and cozy to them. You and your dog will determine what works best for you. Night time is time together in what ever way works for you and your dog. The important thing is everyone is comfortable and safe. 

7) Canine activities - If you are a pet parent who chooses to pursue a canine activity like pet assisted therapy or a canine sport, you and your dog have some wonderful together time to look forward to. Spending time together in any of these activities requires time in training and time engaged in the activity for fun or even competition. This is a wonderful way to build your bond and your relationship as a team. The benefits are huge in building a long and loving relationship together. 

May your time with your dog be meaningful and respectful for you and your dog!

Woofs & Smiles!

Your Dog Will Love You For Doing These 10 Things

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Being in a relationship with a dog is not unlike any relationship in many ways. Specifically, we can do things in our relationship that will cause our partner to appreciate us or even to be annoyed with us. Of course that works both ways. Rather than focus on the negative I thought I would focus on the positive and address the things we can do that our dog will love us for.

1) Being a Pet Parent - this may seem obvious, but our dogs really appreciate us when we act as a parent and not an alpha pack leader. Actually the Alpha Pack Leader is a myth. This has been proven to be a myth by scientists like Dr. L. David Meck who studied wolves in the wild for years in northern Canada. He determined there is no alpha pack leader. Since dogs are linked to wolves Temple Grandin describes how dogs, based on their behavior, need parents and not alpha pack leaders. So thinking of ourselves as a parent is relating to our dogs based on love and respect. Being Alpha is often fear based. Our dogs prefer love over fear. 

2) Nutrition - Dogs do not like being fed the same dry food every day of their life. Part of a healthy lifestyle is good nutrition. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good for both dogs and pet parents. Human grade organic foods are excellent source of nutrition for our dogs. Dogs need balance and variety in their diet. Dogs prefer human grade food that tastes good. This kind of nutrition has a positive impact on our dogs health. Your dog will be happy and thank you for this kind of nutrition. 

3) Using one or two words to communicate - Our dogs don't like it when we use so many words and repeat these many words over and over to ask them to do something, Using one or two words or a few word phrase is all you need to teach your dog to associate a desirable behavior with the words you speak. Not only your dog will love this but you will too. 

4) Being patient - especially when our dogs are going to the bathroom or eating. Do you find yourself rushing your dog to go to the bathroom...giving him the command over and over again? Dogs will go to the bathroom when they are ready and not before. They are not defying our request when they take their time. Also, every dog eats at their own pace. I have two dogs who eat very differently. One is very fast and one is much slower. For these two specific activities, dogs will love you for being patient. 

5) Enjoyable walks - our dogs love their walks. It is an opportunity for them to sniff and enjoy all the scents around them. Our dogs scent ability is one of their most significant strengths if not the most significant. We ask our dogs to sniff out drugs, bombs, disease, lost persons, and much more. When on a walk sniffing is an enjoyable experience for a dog. Rushing the walk and not letting our dogs sniff is in conflict with what our dogs would prefer. An enjoyable walk is one taken with plenty of time to sniff. 

6) Speaking in a normal tone - yelling is not pleasant for our dogs. Their hearing is very sensitive and yelling only confuses them. Speaking in a normal tone and even a lower tone is best. Using as few words as possible and speaking clearly and with a normal tone will be positively received by dogs. Save the loud tone and even yell for when you need it. For the time your dog may run toward the street or some other troublesome incident like eating something that could be harmful. Your dog will know when you mean business if you use that tone sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. 

7) Petting a dog correctly - most dogs do not like having a body or hand reach over their head to pet them. If you think about how intimidating that can feel to a dog it makes sense they do not like it. Approaching a dog from the side and petting them on the back or side is preferred by most dogs. Your dog will love you for instructing others to pet them the same way, 

8) Treating a dog like a dog - many times we find ourselves treating our dogs like our human children. Talking to them in a high pitched voice and using baby talk, is very confusing to our dogs. They really don't know what to make of it. Rather respecting our dog as the dog they are and also as a member of our family is most appreciated by our dogs. We are parents to human and canine children. Respecting their differences and enjoying the similarities is awesome for everyone in the family. 

9) Appropriate use of crates - crate training done well is a wonderful alternative for dogs. Using positive crate training techniques makes a crate a special place for a dog to be. Our crates are open all the time. When I can't find Jazz I know he is likely spending some alone time in his crate. Abusing a crate and keeping a dog in them all day long is not good for our dogs. Having someone come and walk your dog during the day will give him a break and allow him to go to the bathroom which is a primary need. Finding a special place in the house allocated for your dog to spend time in while you are gone is a good option as well. Doggie day cares are another option. Your dog will love you for keeping his crate a positive place to be. 

10) Respecting your dog is a sentient being - teasing our dogs and shaming our dogs is not funny to them. Dogs are sentient beings meaning they have feelings like humans do. Dogs feel love, fear, pain, happiness and more. When we tease a dog by with holding a toy or treat and do not give it to the dog, that is mean and not cute in my perception. When we shame a dog they feel bad. You can see it in their eyes and their face. One of the most significant things we can do is respect our dogs are sentient beings. Our dogs will love us so much for that. 

May you have many loving experiences with your dog! 

Woofs & Smiles!