What is it about amazing dog people that just manage to get it right? They have dogs fawning all over them, whilst the rest of us look on longingly wanting a bit of the dog for ourselves. My husband is an amazing dogman, and he doesn’t even particularly want to be. In fact he’s allergic to them. Even though I’m generally considered the dog person and the one who spent years studying and training dogs. He’s actually the most natural dogman in this house.
They run to him and he has them targeting to his hand for a fuss in seconds. His own dog thinks the sun shines out of multiple orifices, she’s completely dotty about him. How does he do it?
Well it’s basically respect. He naturally respects all life. From the wasp that comes into the house to the sheep in the fields, and dogs know this.
In one of her books, Lisa-Tenzin Dolma writes, there are dog lovers and dog people. I can’t remember the exact words but the gist is this, dog lovers tend to want to interact and dog people let the dog decide. This is one of the most important lessons dog lovers can learn. Dogs generally don’t want to feel under pressure to interact, they want to do it by choice. And isn’t that a respect that should extend to all life anyway?
Dogs don’t jump on each other when they first meet. Well most don’t and the ones who do lack manners. They stand back, sniff, observe, watch, wait and see if the stranger is up for a sniff or even a game. They take social cues from each other and communicate. If the stranger isn’t interested the well-mannered hopeful observer accepts that and moves on.
We can take a lesson from how dogs communicate. We can learn what the drop of ears means (appeasement or go away) and what the drop of a tail means (I’m not sure about this). We can learn what a shift of the eye is telling us or a lick of the nose (I’m deciding about this situation/dog/person and a bit out of my comfort zone while I do and communicate it) and we can reciprocate in a language they understand. We can tell them from a comfortable distance that we are not going to force attention on them. Then they might choose to say hello anyway.
So this is what my husband naturally does, and this is why he practices amazing dogmanship, and the dogs always go to him first.