Here, at Dogs In HD, we talk about how simplicity and consistency, as well as conscious responsibility, form the core of a better dog ownership.
And while certain people want to raise their dogs to perform a particular function for a valid reason, most of us merely want to have a happy time with our tail-wagging friend and to see him or her living a good life. Many of us want to be excellent dog owners.
Sometimes it leads us to a deceitful conclusion that the more material possessions we give the better. The world is full of stuff that we can by for our dog. There are ads all over the place showing a happy dog with a colourful toy in its mouth. And while better food can maintain or improve the dog’s health, many other items don’t have to be fancy. As we start buying all sorts of toys but forget to show our dog the joy of playing, those toys stay there abandoned. The dog looks uninterested and we don’t know why. Doesn’t this particular toy turn on the happy jolly pet mode?
But what do we really have to give? I believe things should be simple, but not simpler (that famous concept).
Attention is a perfectly simple gift you should give to your dog and even to yourself.
Dog ownership is only called that way, but I would rather explain it as a ‘doghood’, similarly to parenthood. It includes both legal responsibility and personal support. It puts us in charge of upbringing, health, comfort and safety of the dependant being. I am not trying to convince you to become a crazy ‘dog parent’ and engage in baby-talk (please, no). Still, I want to find parallels in levels of responsibility and involvement.
You have a relationship with your dog. And any relationship expects attention and mutual respect. I am not going to talk about the doggy side of the issue, I leave it to our dog behaviourist Simone. Instead, I would like to concentrate on the human side of things.
Let me share a story with you. Today I have spent a solid half an hour playing with my dog… Using a tissue. Yes, a clean pocket tissue. Prior to that I had poured myself a cup of black coffee and sat down on a chair. My dog noticed a tissue in my hand and attempted to take it. Naturally, I decided to turn it into an easy game. All I had to do was changing the position of one hand while holding a mug with the other. That way I could continue my morning coffee routine and play. I would tempt her by bring the tissue closer to her muzzle for then to remove it. She would sit still, concentration at its best. Then she would jump gently, but I would raise my hand and tease her again. Hani, my dog, was taught the joy of games since early puppyhood. She knows that her humans mean fun and she knows how to use toys well. But that is another story.
What has amazed me about today is that all it took to keep my pooch entertained was to simply pay attention to her and what she found fun, in this case – a pocket tissue. She didn’t ask for an intense session of tug-of-war or an outdoor game of fetch. Hani was there in the moment with me, sharing my start of the day. I guess the game could have happened in any other kitchen, with any other random little object in my hand. The important element of our game was my attention and her focus, as a result.
Today I have once again realized that Hani doesn’t care about most things that would bother a person. What she cares about is me. And she appreciates my attention. In the human world, we can’t always be sure that other people appreciate our sincere care.
I believe if you decide to bring a dog into your life, you should train your ability to care on a daily basis and learn to observe. Dogs do not talk, yet they do specific actions to attract our attention. In some cases, their apparent indifference is a bell you should hear. It could indicate anything from a health problem to ordinary boredom. Only you can know your dog well enough to see the difference.
Dogs teach us to be involved and caring.We should pay more attention to the important parts of our life. Attention is a precious gift everyone is capable of giving.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and if you like to learn more, please, feel free to subscribe to this blog.
Also, if you like the topic of dogs, please check the book ‘Before You Get A Dog’ by Simone Burani. You will find the essential knowledge written in simple language to have a great time with your pet.
Featured Image © Karyna Zaslavska (Hani The Dog)