Are you sure it’s a dog.
There are about 7 million dogs in Poland. However, a good portion of them spend their sad, kennel-bound lives acting as the cheapest alarm system. In the meantime, the relationship between man and dog preceded all forms of civilization. As the first of the domesticated animals, the dog guarded human property, defended, helped in hunting, herded cattle or sheep, searched for the lost. Although it is commonly known that a dog is man’s best friend, it is only in the last few decades that his relationship with man has been particularly appreciated. Recent studies and observations show that owning a dog and having a relationship with him alleviates physical ailments associated with hypertension and heart disease, promotes recovery from depression and isolation, enhances emotional and social development of children. The dog is increasingly used in the rehabilitation of disabled, mentally handicapped, autistic people. It can be said that the contact with the dog has been appreciated – the dog has somehow entered a higher level of functioning in relation to humans.
Although more and more people decide to have a dog, it is worth knowing that not everyone can or should have one. The decision to share a fate with a pet is a decision for several years, it is also the hardship of raising a pet and the daily duty of taking care of it. I would like to draw your attention to several important issues related to dog (and human) psychology.
First of all, a prospective dog owner should ask himself whether he really needs the contact with the dog – whether he wants and is able to communicate with his four-legged friend on a daily basis. It is about the contact, not about having a dog. Over the course of several thousand years of shared history, the dog has become not only a human-dependent animal, so to speak, but also a creature with a rich mental life that treats humans as part of the community to which it belongs. That is why he is able to search for people in avalanches, collapsed or burning houses, jump with a parachute on command, risking his own life, as it were, contradicting the basic instinct of every animal, which is the instinct of self-preservation. If we can not only have a dog, but also be with the dog, teaching and raising, it is undoubtedly worth the decision to have it sometimes regardless of the conditions that we have. There are many lucky dog owners whose fate bound them to a dog completely unexpectedly, who took their friend in a sudden impulse of their heart, in a difficult situation for both sides. The dog often changed their lives, their attitude to the world, turned upside down both the schedule of the day and the apartment, as well as their previous order of things.
If you do not know how to take care of a dog, and the desire to have a dog is dictated by fashion, a way to cope with their own complexes or we just want to give children pleasure – the acquisition of a dog is a foolishness bordering on barbarism. Its victims end up in shelters, suffer hunger and homelessness or are put to sleep as too aggressive animals.
Although the above mentioned studies show that dog owners live healthier, longer and happier lives than people who don’t have dogs, a dog alone won’t make our lives healthier and happier if we are not able to really love it, and it is commonly known that we change ourselves and our lives only as much as we want to.
Secondly, if we already know that we want to be with a dog, it is time to consider whether our lifestyle and habits will cause the animal suffering. Fortunately, among the multitude of breeds you can find an animal that will adapt perfectly to e.g. little busy and block lifestyle and will be happy rushing through life on an armchair next to its master. However, a working breed dog (such as the recently fashionable Siberian husky) will not be able to tolerate this, as it needs exercise and work almost as much as food and air. Under natural conditions for the breed, a shepherd dog travels about 60km a day, similarly hunting dogs and sled dogs are tireless runners. It is worth bearing this in mind, because a lot of problems with dogs are the result of this type of dog not being respected.
Another issue which I consider very important is the attitude of all household members towards the dog. If one of them is not acceptable to the dog, it causes a constant conflict which the dog feels very well. Your dog is extremely sensitive to its environment. Constantly observing people and very easily interpreting our behavior, which we often don’t realize anticipates our reactions and decisions. Even if we do not address the dog, we still communicate with him – our friend will very easily know when we are irritable, sad or angry, even if consciously spoken words and gestures try to deny reality. Similarly, it can sense aversion and fear of any human. Therefore, a dog that develops in a friendly and non-conflictive environment has a chance to grow into an intelligent and fearless companion in our lives.
,br> The more we know about our future friend, the better off we will be together. Talking to dog fanciers, visiting dog shows, books, magazines, internet and personal observation will all contribute to understanding your dog and better communication with him. A lot of problems that I meet with result from ignorance about the rules governing dog behavior and attributing to the dog human characteristics or ways of experiencing the environment. We should also remember that breed characteristics can reveal themselves and serve to man only as a result of proper upbringing, which requires a lot of time, patience, consistency and knowledge. Neither a trainer nor anyone else can replace us in raising a dog.