MUTUAL RESPECT

They say respect is earned. This is true for pet parents and their dogs for sure. All relationships require a foundation of trust and respect to flourish and grow. This is especially true when two entirely different species make up the relationship. Canines and humans are different species who also enjoy some similarities.

Understanding and respecting these differences as well as similarities is important. 

Canine Specie
Anatomy
Dogs walk on four feet and anatomically have very different digestive tracts from humans. Dogs have a keen sense of smell that far surpasses the human olfactory abilities. Dogs can sniff out bombs, drugs, bedbugs, diseases, and any treat no matter how well it may be hidden. These are only some of the many things dogs can locate with their sense of smell. Dogs hearing is also very keen. A dogs anatomy is different from a humans but we share some diseases like cancer. Dogs need routine medical/veterinary care. Dogs also need physical exercise to maintain over all heath.

Language
Dogs bark and use their entire body language to communicate with us and each other. Movement of their ears, tail, mouth, eyes and posture all have meaning for different reasons. Dogs can learn and understand an average of 30-40 words (sometimes more) in the human language. 

Intelligent
Dogs are as bright intellectually as a 2-3 year old human toddler and need mental exercise as well as physical exercise to maintain a healthy state of mind and body.  

Sentient
Dogs are sentient beings. This means dogs have feelings. They feel love, fear, pain and sadness and many more feelings. Dogs express these feelings with their body language. Dogs communicate with each other with barks and touch and also through their eyes. They also communicate with their humans in much the same way.

Human Specie

We walk on two legs and have a more complicated anatomy than dogs. We are responsible for taking care of our dogs. They need us to take them to the veterinarian and to provide them with food and water and most of all love. Dogs are very dependent on us. Respecting this dependency and not abusing it is a wonderful thing. We already have our dogs attention and do not need to impose any dominance on them. This is a level of respect that promotes a positive bond.

We need to speak to our dogs often. Tell them where we are going and when we will be back. Look into their eyes and share our thoughts about them, and they will look back into our eyes and do the same. Looking into each others eyes stimulates the hormone oxytocin which is often called the "love" hormone. Learning our dogs body language and what it means is part of communicating with them.
As communication grows so does respect for each other because we now understand each other more. 

Our dogs are intelligent and as we embrace this about them this too creates a mutual respect. Making sure they have mental stimulation with toys they need to work to find a treat or treat hides they can find are fun ways to offer mental exercise for our dogs. Canine sports and fun games like fetch are also excellent mental exercise.  When we view them as the intelligent beings they are we find ourselves  enjoying being with them even more and see clearly the need to provide them with mental exercise.

Thinking of our dogs as sentient beings is very important and helpful to our mutual relationship. When you perceive your dog as feeling lonely when you are gone you may tell him you will miss him and when you will be back. You may even leave soft music on in the background to drown out natural sounds that may cause them to react. Recognizing they feel happy is a wonderful feeling to share with them. Your happy tone of voice tells them you are happy to see him and be with him. Understanding your dogs emotions and sharing them together is an automatic level of respect that develops between the two of you. 

Love and respect build the foundation for a life long relationship of happiness for you and your dog.

WOOFS & SMILES!