Taking responsibility for our pets

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I have learned by my dogs and then, while surfing, I see that Cesar Millan is also thinking these thoughts. I like what he’s written here about how living with dogs teaches us how to have a healthy and mutual relationship. So often people view their problems with their dogs as their dog’s problems! My number one goal in working with these people is helping them see their dog’s needs as valid and necessary to attend to.

We decide to take on a dog as a pet and companion and therefore we (whether consciously or not) also take on the responsibility for meeting all their needs – for exercise, stimulation, work, friendship, play, food, shelter, all of it. And it doesn’t matter whether you work full time or don’t have the money – this is irrelevant to the responsibility of stewardship. Just as we are responsible for taking care of the people we bring into this world, we are also responsible to the animals we bring into our homes. And, yes, those of us who take this seriously are often ridiculed by those who don’t have pets or who don’t take this responsibility seriously. I have actually said these words, “No, I can’t ____ because I have to get home and take care of the dogs/puppies/bird.”  We have to prioritize our responsibilities to the animals in our care. And when we do, suddenly their behavior improves and our connection with them deepens. Amazing, huh?

What Our Dogs Can Teach Us – Cesar Millan

Cesar Milan - How To Raise the Perfect DogWhen humans bring a dog into their lives, they are most often looking for a companion; what they may not realize is that they are getting a teacher as well.

One of the most valuable lessons my dogs have taught me is how to have a healthy relationship. In any relationship – human-canine, human-human, human-pachyderm you cannot have the bond you are looking for unless you fulfill the others’ needs. If you’re not giving your dog what he requires, he’ll let you know by chewing your shoes, jumping up on your guests, pulling on the walk, or one of many other behavior problems. It’s not malicious. He’s just finding another way to meet the needs programmed in him by Mother Nature. In order to fulfill one another, we need to look outside ourselves and really understand what the other needs and how their psychology works. That’s the foundation for a balanced, healthy relationship with any species.

But that’s not all dogs have to teach us. They educate us about the value of consistency. If you apply Exercise, Discipline, then Affection every day without fail, your dog will reward you with loyal companionship. And they show us how to live life to the fullest by being ba lanced and celebrating every moment.

Through my pack, I have experience birth, life, and death, and they have shared fundamental lessons about going through this natural life cycle. How do they pass from one phase to the next? How do they stay together all their lives as a family? They have taught me to value the simplicity of life itself. They intensify every moment that I am with them. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Stay calm and assertive!
Cesar Millan

September 20, 2009 • Tags: , • Posted in: dog ownership, further reading, observations, work your dog

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