How to Show Your Dog You Love Him – American Kennel Club

When it comes to love, dogs offer all devotion without any trickery. They won’t sign up for a secret account, or see another owner behind your back. And that flirtation with the pet sitter… well, it’s harmless. After all, there’s a reason dogs have a reputation for being loyal friends.

Reciprocity, however, can sometimes be a challenge. The dogs, after all, approached our foyer; this has in many ways been a rather lopsided arrangement in the love department since the dawn of time. And with our busy lives and competing priorities, we humans have too few opportunities to return that greed to nature – although, given how much most of our dogs rely on us, it’s a challenge. size, even under the best of circumstances.

But we can at least try. Here are some thoughts on how to share the love with the dogs in your life.

food is love

As any Italian grandma will tell you (after pinching your cheeks until they’re blue), providing a meal is more than just calories. It engages every psychological motivation you can think of, from feeling worthy to needing to nurture. When some people cook a meal, they don’t just say, “I care about you,” but rather, “Here’s how much exactly I care about you …”

But what you feed your dog — while certainly important — isn’t the ultimate barometer of how much you care about her. Don’t get sucked into dog food politics – and, yes, they do exist. Really study your dog and see what food he eats: what makes his eyes shine, his coat, his fresh breath? Experiment a bit (of course, if you know your dog has a sensitive stomach or a medical condition that requires specialized food, don’t start offering a buffet.) Once you know what works for your dog, feed it the. If your budget can’t handle the best, feed it the highest quality foods you can afford. Don’t feel guilty and fall behind on the mortgage so your dog can eat organic chicken necks. Dogs are generally hardy souls; what is most important is that you stay healthy, stable and positive so you can continue to provide the loving home your dog needs most.

Don’t make goodbye a big deal

I don’t agree with everything Cesar Millan says or writes, far from it, but I see wisdom in his observation that we anthropomorphize way too much. Dogs are dogs, not humans in fursuits. Sure, what’s wrong with baking your dog a carob oatmeal birthday cake, or dressing him up for Halloween? (Although there are a few Dachshunds I know who would say, if they could, that these hot dog costumes officially cross the line.) In fact, many of the rituals we share with our two-legged companions not suitable for dogs. .

Consider, for example, the Hollywood farewell. I never make a big fuss when I leave the house, whether it’s for a quick errand or an afternoon meeting. I crate the pup, with one word — logically, “Crate” — handing out a Milkbone when it runs. As I get my keys ready and check that I have my iPhone, the adult dogs sigh, jump onto the couch, and settle in with a growl.

Amplifying arrivals and departures as if you were dropping off or picking up on the first day of kindergarten is not a show of love for your dog. For many, it’s a great way to sow and fuel separation anxiety. If you love your dog, save your displays of affection for another occasion that is more spontaneous, sporadic, and less likely to trigger a behavioral consultation.

Know and accept your dog

Dogs are like fuzzy snowflakes – no two are alike. And while the dogs that came before you helped you become the capable, caring owner you are today, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that what works for one will work for another.

I leave the world of dog shows, where the mark of a good trainer is to know how to adapt his style to the dog at the other end of the leash. This dog lives for the liver, but this one would much rather have a squeaky toy. This dog can handle a little flick of the leash to indicate a change of direction, it will throw itself on the ground in a fit of apoplexy. (Saluki, anyone?)

And of course, even within breeds, all dogs are individuals. You might get a dog purposely bred because of a certain physical trait or temperament, but that’s not a guarantee, and you have to be okay with that.

The greatest act of love you can give your dog is to accept him for who he is. He certainly does it for you. Don’t get carried away with preconceived and often romanticized ideas of who he should be. If you ever wanted a dog that you could take to the dog park and end up with a dog that is extremely aggressive towards dogs, even though you did everything “right”, just accept it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try training and counter-conditioning with a trained behaviorist, but if the process is making you both unhappy and tense, then consider what’s best for the dog — not for you. your idealized version of who he is.

Some people have loved a now-extinct dog so deeply and completely that any subsequent dog is still held up for comparison, often in unhealthy ways. If your unresolved grief or bereavement makes even the idea of ​​a new dog a piercing reminder of one who is no more, do yourself a favor and wait for the wound to heal for a bit. Often, opting for a dog of the opposite sex or a very different physical appearance can give the distance your heart needs to open up just a little. That’s all a dog needs to sneak around.

CH Alura Warwick Thunder Down Under for Clovelly, Italian Greyhound;  Toy group judging for the National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes at the 2017 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin, Orlando, FL.

Let them interact with the world

We love our dogs so much that we are tempted to protect them from anything that might harm them, to cover them with cotton wool, away from any sharp edges. But dogs are wired to want to interact with the world — sniffing, nudging, running, jumping, dodging, and otherwise shaking it around the biosphere.

Suburban dogs, in particular, often live out their lives behind a picket fence and on a comfy couch. Enrich their lives as much as possible with car rides, visits to the cashier who accepts dogs at the bank, walks around the neighborhood, frolics in a fenced yard, and dates with other friendly, well-adjusted dogs . Let her indulge one of her age-old instincts: while most Borzois no longer hare chase and a fair number of terriers have never gone to ground for a rat, there are organized sports – such than lure races and barn hunt events, respectively – who can simulate it for them. Dock diving, AKC Scent Work, Agility, Rally – there’s an ever-growing list of canine sports and activities you and your dog can do together.

After all, what do dogs love, besides us, that is? They love life, and it’s up to us to give them access to it. And if we can strengthen our bond with them in the process, it’s the champagne truffle in the chocolate sampler.

Must love dogs

If you really love dogs, then your love for counter surfing, Frito’s Foot Scented Porridge at Home represents something bigger – a love of the species as a whole. Perhaps you are devoted to a particular race. Or maybe your heart belongs to a certain – and you’ll forgive the pun – outsider. (Black-colored dogs need reminders just as much as their feline friends. So do three-legged dogs, blind dogs, and deaf dogs…the list goes on). But the thing is, your handling of your dog, the way you teach him to behave in public, around strangers who may not understand canine rituals like the nose bonk or the crotch sniff as well. underwater, has an impact on how the species as a whole is perceived. Whether that impression is positive or negative is entirely up to you.

Never before have we had such a progressive and welcoming attitude towards dogs: from kindergarten classes for puppies to therapy dogs in hospitals and nursing homes, our culture has come to view dogs as social partners. , as a source of comfort and reassurance like no other. But at the same time, thanks to the fluidity and immediacy of technology, our society has come to expect an unparalleled degree of perfection in everyday interactions. As animals, dogs exhibit a degree of unpredictability: sometimes, when we don’t want them to, they urinate, poop, pull, bark and, yes, sometimes bite.

If you truly love your dog – and dogs in general – you will never knowingly put your dog in a situation that puts him in danger or for which he is unprepared. You will work hard to ensure he is properly socialized, calm and well trained. In short, you will give him the tools and the confidence to be a model canine citizen. Because when it comes to those who are just looking for reasons to limit what our dogs can do and where we can take them, this is the kind of dog they or they love the most.

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