We have invited dogs to live among us in our human world. We ask them to abide by our rules, adjust to our schedule and in some cases be outfitted in our clothing. The good news is that they are more than happy to do whatever it takes to make us happy and be a part of our lives. However, that will never change the fact that they are, and always will be, dogs.
Yes, dogs. Although you may accessorize them up with lots of bling-bling, allow them eat beside you at the dinner table and then spoon with them at night, doesn’t change the fact that underneath it all they are still dogs. And dogs they will remain.
The biggest injustice we can do to our dogs is forget that fact and treat them like furry little people. They are dogs and have the needs of dogs. They are social animals that shun the solitary life for one of social interaction. In the wild, the lone dog would never survive – physically or mentally. You probably treat your dog like a king giving him anything anyone could ask for, but don’t forget to give him what anydog would ask for. And that is canine interaction.
Even the best cared for dog needs some time to escape the human world and get back to his canine roots. It has been my experience that dogs secluded from other dogs all the time live less fulfilled lives with more psychological issues. From the gregarious puppy to the content lap dog, all dogs crave an afternoon of butt sniffing every now and then.
Typically the best way to give your dog that break from the human world is in an off leash environment, at the dog park, a doggie daycare or in the back yard with a furry friend. Now if your dog is dog aggressive, fearful or not well socialized this will probably not work well for you, but there are other options. Walking is a very strong canine need and something wild dogs do all day long. If you’ve ever been a client of mine you’ve probably already been told to walk your dog more. But just in case, I’ll say it again: Get out there and walk your dog! Better yet, walk your dogs together in a group – as a pack. Ahhh now we’re talking primal dog.
Walking dogs together is a great way to help any dog, no matter what their deposition may be. It may take a little time and manipulation but you can help even the most dog aggressive pooch overcome some of his issues by walking with other dogs. A good structured pack walk is also a great way to introduce dogs to each other. The walk unifies them into one pack and begins their relationship on the right foot. I often use pack walks on my behavior sessions as a way to help treat a variety of problems. Walking dogs in a pack can only be a good thing for both body and mind.