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Affection and Your Dog

We humans bring dogs into our lives for so many reasons…for companionship, because we have a need and the means to help animals whose lives have been compromised by humanity, for our children, to help on a farm, for rescue and disaster recovery, tactical operations, for therapy…the reasons are numerous and almost always well intentioned.But what about the dogs themselves? Somewhere in the process we humans can either lose sight of, or never truly consider, the dogs themselves.  This is something I encounter frequently in observing the way people ‘share’ affection with their dogs.

What is it that the dog really requires, to live a happy, well balanced, social life. When the human does not know or really understand a dog’s real requirements, the psychological and physical impact on the dog (and the resonating impact on the human companion) can be enormous.
Lack of proper leadership, lack of honouring the dog in the dog will normally result in issues that can grow exponentially, causing symptoms to increase in intensity. As the issues and symptoms increase, so to does the psychological damage to the dog, and to the human-dog relationship. Affection shared in the wrong way at the wrong time can cause havoc with a dog’s  natural state of being.It is important to realize that affection can be provided in many ways and that providing affection in the wrong way or at the wrong time can cause harm.

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.

If you walk in the door and your dog is barking, panting, jumping up and your response is to provide affection – you have just let your dog know that you approve of it’s excited state of being.If you always share enthusiastic, excited affection with your dog you may be creating a stressed and overly excited dog. This can lead to issues such as anxiety, dominating behaviour and even aggression.

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.

I teach my clients that affection is many things and must be shared with the dog for the dog, not solely for the human. Affection must provided in a manner that respects the dog and not as a selfish human conceit.
Excitedly greeting your dog, excitedly touching your dog – always expressing ‘affection’ at an escalated intensity is not something humans really do for the dog…it is something that humans do for themselves.What is affection anyway? Is affection only patting our dogs, rewarding our dogs with treats and verbal praise? No, there are many forms of affection. And the more you realize this, the better opportunity you have to create a well balanced partnership – an equal exchange of needs with your dog.

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.

About Karen Rosenfeld

My name is Karen Rosenfeld. I am an holistic diet nutrition health and wellness practitioner for dogs and cats. I am an holistic behaviorist for dogs. I offer a wealth of real-time, real-life experience. 30 years working and living with dogs and cats. Companion animals are my life, my work, my passion. Maintenance of Health Health Issues and Conditions Custom designed whole food diets, raw and cooked. Recommendations for commercial whole food diets. Consultations available worldwide via FaceTime, FaceBook video and voice, Skype, Phone and email Recommendation and specification of... Species Appropriate: Whole foods Treats Herbs Alternative medicines Supplemental foods Treatment and Remedy Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs Include: Obedience Training Behavior Modification Psychological Rehabilitation In-person Sessions Sessions available worldwide via FaceTime, FaceBook video and voice, Skype, Phone Affiliations to Companies None. I don’t sell food or supplements. I am NOT aligned with any companies. I prefer to select best solutions for my individual clients’ situation. My client services are available around the world. 🇺🇸USA 🇨🇦Canada 🇬🇧UK 🇦🇺Australia 🇪🇺Europe 🇨🇷Costa Rica and other Central American Countries 🇦🇪United Arab Emirates 🇸🇪Sweden and other Scandinavian Countries 🇸🇬Singapore and other Countries in Asia etc. Consultations and Sessions 📧Email: karen@ottawavalleydogwhispererer.ca 📞Phone: 1-613-293-3707 📱FaceTime 📱FaceBook video or voice 💻Skype 📖Holistic Wellness eBooks custom designed to suit 🚶In-person Sessions only available in Ontario, Canada.

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