06 July 2011

Paws for thought

Macauley and I took Booker and cousin Meena out for a spin around the neighborhood this evening, thinking it would be cooler now that it's dark but it wasn't really. Most times when I "walk the dog" it's really the dog walking me. Not that Booker tugs me along out of control or anything, but he's definitely out in front and we're weaving back and forth across the street, curb to curb, with him piloting our course. In the past I've kind of hurried him along, even yanked him a bit when he wouldn't move on from some spot he'd burrowed his nose down into, wanting to just get on with it already. But after seeing a brief review of this book in People last month, I've softened significantly and try to let my B mosey along at his own pace and move on when he's good and ready.

According to reviewer Kim Hubbard: "Debunking the advice of many celebrity trainers, animal behavior expert John Bradshaw urges understanding, not dominance, as the key to human-canine relations." She paraphrases a few of his key suggestions, including using rewards rather than confusing punishments and fending off separation anxiety by practicing your leaving and returning. But this is the one that's stuck with me since I read the brief article:

"Let them sniff. Finding out what's been going on in the neighborhood is the most important part of a dog's day, apart from talking to you. You wouldn't snatch the newspaper out of your partner's hands--so try not to pull your dog away when he's sniffing."

Duly noted. How could I refuse this sweet face anything, much less a few whiffs of the neighborhood gossip?

1 comment:

maryboys said...

thanks for this - i love it. i think that dogs are a lot like children - they need understanding and not dominance and punishment...



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