Many humans think of affection primarily in terms of patting their dog or verbalization such as ‘good dog!’ Such affection is often offered with a loud excited voice and great enthusiasm. If you offer this type of attention to your dog when it is already in an excited state you should be aware that you are enabling your dog’s excited state.
You are also missing out on providing your dog with a full spectrum of affection and its benefits. Being aware of and employing other methods of affection is important and beneficial for both your dog and yourself. Quieter, calmer and more subtle ways to share affection can enable calm and a sense of well being in your dog and yourself. If you feel proud of your dog for something they have just done – your dog will sense how you feel, you don’t have to tell them, you can just enjoy the moment. If you come back from a walk in the rain and gently, quietly dry your dog off with a towel, you are sharing calm affection. If you quietly and slowly massage your dog under their neck and chin (instead of vigorously patting them on the head or back) both you and your dog will benefit from a quiet, peaceful, stress-less moment.
Affection can be expressed in many ways – some of the best opportunities to share affection are subtle, quite moments of appreciation, of caring.
Affection is enjoying your dog by quietly watching it enjoy itself whether will it is relaxing, playing. Affection is taking time to feed your dog and watch it enjoy its meal. Affection is being proud of your dog – just thinking it, not speaking it. Affection is brushing your dog, wiping its paws gently, at the door when it comes in from the rain. Affection is so many things. Affection is enjoying a walk with your dog or a drive in the car. Affection is bringing your dog to the veterinarian. (If more people realized this – their dogs would be less fearful of the vet!).
Affection is restraining yourself from eagerly greeting your dog the instant you walk in the house. Don’t talk, don’t touch, don’t look – just walk in as if it is normal to come and go. To normalize the experience of coming and going enables your dog to relax, to enjoy rest time on its own…not to stress. To assist your dog in living in a balanced state of being is affection.
I love and cherish my dogs – to be true to these feelings I have for my dogs, I make sure that my love and respect for them translates into meeting all of their needs at the right time, in the right way.
What a dog really needs…
One – first and foremost is a leader who can provide direction thus giving the dog a sense of security. When you successfully fill this role you win your dogs respect.
Two – your dog needs enough exercise on a daily basis to expend its daily quota of energy;
Three – your dog needs fresh water and good food;
Four – your dog requires affection.
Yes affection is listed last! But stop and think for a moment…having now read all of the above you should now realize that everything we do for our dogs is affection! So breath, slow down the next time you have that impulse to share excited affection with your dog. Stop and think is this the right time? Is this what my do really requires right now, or do they instead need direction or exercise? Is this excited greeting for me or is it for my dog?
Change your habits, expand your perspective, and enable the best in yourself and your dog.