We recently added a workshop from the amazing Isla Fishburn to the Canine Principles Skill-Hub. Isla is a breath of fresh air. During the workshop she touched on something really important. The tendency we have as people to push dogs around.
Not you and I (hopefully) but people in general and it’s even more unnerving in the name of training. Dogs live with us in our homes, they love us and are such deliciously simple animals that even if we meet half of their needs they are happy. They have forsaken choices, and they are captive animals in many ways. This can be made easier on them if we try hard to learn their language, if we treat them gently and with the respect they deserve.
Unfortunately often we don’t. Stock image sites are packed with dogs being pulled into hugs they don’t want. Village halls seem to be full of training classes that tell people to roll their dogs or jerk the leads. Even many TV programs show dated training methods such as the old dominance theory which just refuses to die. We do push them around. In fact if someone pushed you or me around just once, in the way dogs are treated every day, we would likely remember it – and be offended by it – for the rest of our lives.
The important thing to remember though is that dogs are delicate, individual, gentle personalities. And whilst you and I might do enrichment every day, walk in new places, understand their communication and encourage them to be their authentic beautiful selves, many people don’t. So I’m going to assume you are keen on dogs as you are reading this. I’m going to presume you take the very best care of the dogs in your life, that you listen to them and let them be heard.
And now I’m going to ask you to do something else. To be an educator for all dogs, those we see on walks, the dogs we might see being pushed around, the dogs people say they can’t handle. I ask you to join me in getting the word out on kindness. To learn, do and be an advocate for every dog you see, know and hear of. If we all work together we can educate the world and make it better for the dogs in it.