Saturday, 1 December 2012

The expert at home


When did it all get so complicated?

I think ( maybe that is where I go wrong) dog ownership is so much harder than it used to be.  First of all there are soooo many types/ breeds/ crosses of dogs to choose from.  

Then there is the correct responsible way of doing things.  Or maybe the fashionable way of doing things.  Maybe you have dogs for a reason like obedience or showing so you need to get a dog appropriate for that job.

What if dogs are an extension of your persona and need to reflect ho you want to be seen?

To be responsible you need to put your dog first, do the training right at the appropriate time in order to take full advantage or the optimum learning time.  Don't forget feeding the best food and to be seen to prevent all manner of nasty things that will happen if you just don't take enough notice.  Where to start with health care, you have to be willing to sell your soul in order to protect your dog, treat your dog and save your dog.

Why did it get so terribly complicated.  

Dogs are one of the most malleable creatures on this earth, they morph and change to take advantage of any given situation to survive and even thrive.  Arguably they evolved to live on our waste and I mean OUR waste not just what we throw away.  They learnt who and what to avoid and what to do to get more than the dog beside them.  We inevitably changed them and they changed themselves too.

I am increasingly seeing people, with both horses and dogs, constantly going to courses for training with masters or experts, different techniques or styles.  Maybe a famous person who will show you the magic key so that you will end up with a dog that practically glows it is so perfect.

There are courses for feeding, training, behavioural, tricks you name it everyone attentive to what they might learn.

Over the years I have been subjected to people telling me how to feed my horses after a seminar or two they have taken and yet looking at their own horses what they desperately needed was basic nutrition just to have some slices of hay put in front of them instead of them standing hungry in bare fields or so fat I feel a little faint when I see them with a bucket of feed for them. 

Instead of all those lessons or seminars, those organised events and training session just spend time with the expert at home.  Use that time and get to know your dog/ horse. Exercise them until you are both too tired to exercise anymore.  Listen to what they have to say but don't read into it. 

Feed your dog a good food that makes them fit not fat, exercise them when and as much as you and them can stand, show them what you expect them to do and what not to do and enjoy them.  If it's not broken don't fix it or even try and look for a problem.  

Pick some rules I believe all dogs need to have a few basic rules 

Don't eat people
Don't eat other dogs
Don't eat other animals that belong to someone or shouldn't be eaten
Don't poop pee where we live


Then you start to polish what you want and don't want

I can tell you what I want my guys to do but I can't tell you what you expect your guys to do and what you can live with.

Then relax.  They don't have to be precious and always on your mind, they don't need constant attention or reassurance.  It isn't the end of the world if they miss a walk or aren't allowed to sleep on the settee.  

Don't look for the magic key or the enlightened moment that that trainer/ book or method will surely give you.  

I had to get it out of my system…how many times have I wanted to say to people….
instead of reading what to do why don't you actually ride your horse and the same with dogs.   There is no harm learning all you can learn as long as it doesn't impinge on your time and enjoyment of your dog.  My boys loved showing yet I found showing for me meant having to look for faults and to constantly have to show them in their best light…with such a subjective opinion of that judge on that day I am happier enjoying the parts ( pretty much all of them) that make me happy than trying to hide the parts that aren't quite perfect.

I have fallen foul to all of the above apart from the feeding.  My motto is enjoy my animals and make sure they are enjoying it too.  As long as we all play by the rules hehe

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