If you haven’t noticed already, my articles focus a lot on perspectives, whether from the dog’s point of view, the owner’s, or bystander’s. Now that we have spent so much time discussing perspectives, let’s tackle another aspect of dog training and dog ownership—shame.
Have you ever walked you dog down the street and it exploded with excitement when it saw another dog? How about peeing and pooping in the street? A dog that lunges and growls and you can’t figure out why? A dog that escapes the fence no matter what you do? A dog that cowers and shakes whenever you take it out in public?
How about a dog that humps? A dog that jumps on guests? A dog that lunges out the car windows? A dog that chases cars, cats, kids, bikes, skateboards, motorcycles? A dog that rolls in poop? A dog that eats poop? A dog that steals food out of people’s hands? A dog that barks all day every day? A dog that marks constantly, even if it is your guest’s foot?
A dog that breaks things with its tail? A dog that destroys crates? A dog that digs up your flowers? A dog that bites people or other dogs? A dog that is afraid of children? A dog that drags you down the street? A dog that is an escape artist? A dog that slips its collar or harness? A dog that never comes back when you call it?
A dog that howls, or screams, or whines like it is being tortured even when it isn’t? A dog that pees when it is scared or excited? A dog that constantly licks itself, or you, or your guests? A dog that chewed your couch cushions, shoes, sprinklers, etc.?
If you own a dog that has done one of these things, you are not alone. Everyone reading this article who has owned a dog has experienced something similar. And if you’ve never experienced any of these things with your dog, you are part of a very small one percentile (but let’s be realistic, I doubt this one percentile even exists.)
Where does this leave us? With dog problems for every dog owner. I probably experience 10 of these a day.
That being said, the concept of feeling shame or shaming others over a dog’s poor behavior is a little silly. They all struggle. We all struggle. We are two different species trying to live together. If we focus more on knowledge, patience, support, and less on shame, we will help ourselves, our fellow dog owners (and ultimately the dogs) live a happier life.
We’re all in this together!
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Stephanie Vichinsky is
the owner/head trainer of Method K9 in Post Falls