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Jasper NovAny dog lover will tell stories on how devoted their dog is. Shetland Sheepdogs are famous for their loyalty. Actually, I don’t know of any dog breed that lacks this characteristic if they are treated with respect and affection.

What is shocking is that when the dog’s behavior shifts momentarily more toward his/her’s natural instincts, the owners may feel disappointed, even act hostile toward their pet. They feel disrespected.

All too often I find that people have difficulty seeing the world through their dog’s eyes and heart. They place enormous expectations that this animal is there only to fill some need that the human world has failed to provide. It appears their demands are a one-way, my-way or the high-way, rather than an equal partnership.

A few days ago while at the off-leash park with Sammy and Jade, three men were calling their dog which was happily romping and running several yards away. They called and called. “Come, Fido. Let’s go. Come, Fido. Fido,  Fido, Fido. Get over here.” The calling continued and gradually became hostile. It would have been easy enough to walk up to Fido and put the leash on his collar. But no, that would appear they were not in control.

I felt like I should step in the offer a suggestion. However, their demeanor has shifted to aggression which sent my bravery skittering to the other side of the park. I felt sad for their dog and wondered if the dog continued to suffer abuse at home. (I’ve seen women be just as mean to their dog)

Jasper and Judy

If the dog doesn’t hear you calling (which offer occurs at off-leash parks), don’t get angry. Scolding the dog will only reinforce the dog’s fear of you and not want to be near you. Instead, observe how your dog is having a great time, interacting and socializing with other dogs and people – a very important component in the dog’s life. Do some training at home. Bring a favorite treat. Once he/she knows a treat (even a small morsel) is offered, you’ll have less trouble getting Fido back to you. Be his best friend.

Sometimes I think we get hooked on the idea of making the dog suit our needs, to be more human like, or better than human. A dog is a dog. Each breed has special characteristic which may, nor may not, fit into your idea of a canine companion. That is why it’s so important to consider the breed ‘personality’ when getting a puppy.

If you respect the dog’s natural temperament, and even admire the differences, the relationship will go beyond whatever you thought possible. If you want something the dog cannot deliver on, the relationship will be painful on both sides.

Your dog can be your best friend. Are you your dog’s best friend?

If not, do yourself and your dog a favor. Deliver your dog to a shelter who will care for him/her. They will find a home that will offer love, respect, and patience.  They will be the dog’s best friend, forever.

scotty roo yellowknife

Scotty and Roo at Yellowknife