A taste for not just food.

We all love the film Marley and Me. It’s pulls at our heart strings and although sad we appreciate that he had an amazing enjoyable life.

For those that have never seen the film (after reading this you certainly should!) it’s about a dog named Marley. Marley is a Labrador who, as a puppy, was sooo cute. This cuteness soon dissipated and Marley became an adorable nightmare. Getting up to  the sort of stuff that we can laugh about because it’s not happening to our house. He soon develops a taste for almost everything, from the rubbish bins to the sofa. 

Now, when I say it’s funny because it is not happening to you, that for me has now changed. My beloved rescue dog Max has decided to follow in Marleys footsteps. I should never have let him watch it! Saying that, he hasn’t developed a taste for my furniture as of yet. 

He has had a good go at some of the plasterboard walls, the wooden floor in the kitchen (which now has a fashionable hole), black bin bags that has just been filled with old filler powder and cardboard. That created an eventful mess and powdered footprints all over the sofa, the lounge and up the stairs.


Now back to the film. Despite all the damage that Marley caused, and the close shaves, the family support and persevered with Marley. It also showed; Marley was one of the happiest dogs you would have ever seen. Family was everything to Marley. And it is the morale of the story really. My 8 year old boy watched the film with me and got really upset at the sad scene towards the backend of the film. And let’s face it we all did. All have shed a tear for Marley, whether internal or external.

I said to my boy that despite the fact that Marley had just passed away and it is sad, that he has to look past that and see the life that he had. It’s a celebration of Marleys life, that ultimately culminated in his passing. He was loved, cared for and became an integral part of their family. As all dogs around the world crave.

No matter what Max does, I never appreciate him less. He pushes my patience at times, but this is part of the joyous experience.

With all the blog posts I have sent out into the world so far, it is evident that I champion the correct behaviour in dog ownership. That these posts are designed to help you appreciate what it means to be a dog owner. 

The responsibilities. The joys. The ups and the downs. Ultimately providing your pooch with a fulfilled life.

Let’s be honest, they don’t want an awful lot. Food. Love. Toys.

Feedback is always welcomed, as I’m still getting to grips with blog writing and the correct way to word things 🙂 bark on world!!

Advertisements

The not so guilty look

All dog owners can share that one moment, the time you walk through the door and your pooch has got hold of something he shouldn’t have. A good pair of shoes. Rolls of toilet paper. Or an unfortunate mistake.

As a result of this we have all seen the look that we took as ‘yes I’m guilty, but so sorry’. Head down, eyes up. Yeah you know it as well.

Well, after all this time, it turns out that we have been interpreting these signs all wrong. It is not a sign of guilt, or being sorry. According to Alexandra Horowitz, this is actually a sign of fear or being scared. It’s more of a reaction to your body language than them being guilty of their actions.

The theory by Horowitz states that it is very unlikely that dogs can actually show or more importantly understand the complex emotion of guilt. My interpretation of that would be that a dog does not necessarily understand the difference between what’s good and bad in our world. Their training by humans is based on reptition and reward. This is not incorporating emotions such as guilt.

They can show emotions such a happiness, because that is a natural instinct with all species, and not something they have to be trained.

You can find the Link to Alexandra Horowitz’s work here https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Dog-What-Dogs-Smell-ebook/dp/B002NT3B52/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1487263265&sr=8-3&keywords=alexandra+horowitz .

This has certainly changed how I react to the stuff Max does. I no longer punish him for things done retrospectively. He does not understand what I’m trying to ‘tell him off for’ nor does he understand that what he’s done is wrong. I maintain a calm posture and no anger/disappointment in my voice. He doesn’t need it and will only stress him out with no positive outcomes.

This doesn’t mean he never gets corrective training for things I do not want him to do. For example if I was to be in his presence when he went for a pee in the house, I would incorporate positive training to encourage him to go outside to conduct his business.

Positive training is the only way to get results.

It’s understandable though, and we have all misinterpreted this ‘guilty look’. We would have also continued to do so without Horowitz’s report. When you look at what has been said in the report it does strike a chord and make you think ‘now I get it’. 

The reason we misinterpret this as a guilty look is probably because we associate it to a human emotion and expression. The only way for us ‘normal’ unscientific dog owners to decipher what our dog is thinking is by having a reference point. The only thing we have to reference emotions with is ourselves. What we assume we’d look like if we was a guilty dog. A happy dog. A sad dog. It’s quite normal for us to get this wrong, because it’s not a simple thing to figure out.

What we do know from this though is that our dog is a lot more complex than we give them credit for. They can’t show guilt about what we consider negative actions, but I still believe that in a natural setting they would understand guilt in the presence of their mother, or hurting a sibling. 

It can be flipped on its head. Put yourself in your dogs shoes. You have what we consider a guilty look on your face. Do you think you would be able to decode that as guilt? Or just prick your ears up and turn your head to the side?

It has for one opened our eyes, and hopefully more people will be mindful of how their dog is actually reacting to a situation. Thus improving relationships and a happy balanced pooch.

Let us know your thoughts. Do you believe that dogs can show guilt?

Thank you for reading and bark on people.

A dog is for life.. not just for Christmas

The title of today’s post is something we have heard a lot. Through charity campaigns and being a general saying. It is amazing however, that you still find so many dogs in care waiting for their forever home because families and individuals have forgotten that simple fact.

I was saddened and disappointed at how many dogs/family members that I saw in homes when I was looking for Max. Obviously I wasn’t looking specifically for Max but when I was looking to adopt unfortunately the options were endless. Hundreds of dogs given up by their owners for a multitude of reasons.

One reason I can understand is a sudden change in someone’s circumstances. By this I mean a huge change in someone’s circumstance, a serious life changing injury, crippling old age and worst of all (but fact) a death of an owner. All hard things to deal with and the dog becomes the unfortunate sacrifice. In all these circumstances though, the owner hopes and prays that they can get to a home that gives them what they need.

What riles me is the poor pooches that have been put up for adoption because their owners family has got ‘too big’ or the children have allergies, or worst excuse of all because they can’t afford their dog. Now as mentioned in the previous posts, researching and understanding your dogs needs, especially financially is the first major step you make before giving a dog false hopes. If you fell you cannot afford a dog then do not get one, do not let your desire get the better of you because it will not end well.

Ahchoo

As for children and allergies, make sure your family has spent time around dogs to ensure that your new addition is not dragged from their home and into kennels because they cough and sneeze. The allergies exist that of course is fact, but it should not become a reason your pooch is going up for adoption.

But my family is too big

Now, the families getting ‘too big’ issue. This should never be an issue. Would you get rid of child one because by the time you have child four the family has got too big, nope of course you wouldn’t. So why should your dog be pushed out for that exact reason, it’s not a viable reason and should not result in adoption.

Once again you can get the overwhelming sense that I have strong views on this. On the notion that despite the vast bank of information and reviews that the internet holds that people are not fully clued up about the responsibilities of a dog owner. 

Fashion

I have even heard of people ‘changing’ their dogs because of fashion changes. Their dog breed is not longer fashionable and they want another breed, or a micro pig. This should never happen, and should go down as animal cruelty. They are not a purse. They are not a handbag. They do have feelings, personalities and character. And they should be treated as such.

Stats… hard hitting stats

The dogs trust charity counts 110,000 dogs looking for homes in the U.K. Over 100 thousand, yes that’s thousand, dogs are looking for a loving home. That’s 110 thousand dogs that have either been abandoned, removed from someone’s care through neglect and just given up for adoption. This is resulting in roughly 21 dogs being put to sleep every single day. That’s 21 dogs a day that were brought into this world hoping for a happy loving life, that’s 21 dogs that got their life taken away from them because if people, a person, a poor excuse. 

One of my posts in the coming weeks will be discussing animal cruelty and mistreatment. It’s a hard subject for an dog lover and any morally sound person. The reason I want to mention it is to encourage those who witness any kind of mistreatment to come forward and report it so we can stop it happening. However, for now, that will wait until the next post.

Bit of a rant post today because it is something that gets under my skin. I see dogs with their loving owners, tails wagging, some times a pain in the bum and can’t help but think why could anyone do something that will take that away. It’s people forgetting that these creatures are more than fur, more than tongue and slobber. They are real leaving things with more feelings than we have. Simple understanding of the world, with an uncanny desire to be happy. Please remember this next time you consider ‘rehoming’ your loyal friend.

And to all those that fall into the loving families, on behalf of all happy dogs around the world, thank you. You are what all dogs when born are after, on how they all want to live their lives. Keep being that great home. Keep those tails wagging and keep sweeping up that dog hair. For you are dog lovers, and that is so much better than being a cat lover 😂

Thank you all for reading. Please do leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I know each one of my posts is something slightly different and reads different, hence why I am keen to know your opinions.

Bark on people.
*image rights to their prospective owners. Quotesgram.com

**we love all animals, and jibes towards cat owners is heartfelt 😋