Again, my title for this article in related directly to this month’s good read. We dog lovers know that love and loyalty are two of the strong bonds developed by dog and person. Those bonds can sometimes blind us to behaviors in our dogs – or ourselves – which should be dealt with so that our bonds can be strengthened and enjoyed while at once insuring the safety of others, both dog and human, who may interact with us and our dogs. Acknowledgment, understanding, and training are all elements to insuring your dog(s) socialization is rewarding to both you and your dog(s).
Good Read for June: A Good Dog by Jon Katz. This was a great book for me to read, but a difficult book for me to read. I learned a great deal reading this book, I disagreed with some points/experiences made in this book, I have shared some of the experiences related in this book, and I have lived some of the worry, joys, and heartbreak in this book. The book was written as a “loving tribute to a “once-in-a-lifetime dog.” Read and share the trials and triumphs of a man and a dog, the bonds or love and loyalty shared!
When visiting Cape May with your dog you are certainly going to want to share your vacation fun with your dog. Geez, that’s the purpose of coming to Cape May with your dog! And you know your dog better than anyone, so you realize how important it is to insure that your dog is well socialized, trained, and in your control. Each dog, like each person, is different. My two dogs are brother and sister from the same litter, and could not be more different. Guinness looks more like the Rhodesian/Husky mix he is and is very laid back. Sister Jameson doesn’t look like she has any Husky in her, is the picture of a Rhodesian without a ridge (common esp. in mixes), and is much more hyper. She can try to intimidate other dogs, even though she is very loving and gentle with other people. Knowing this, it’s up to me to keep her under control when we are out and about. They are also both squirrel chasers, so I have to be on the alert for that as well, or I’ll be dragged through yards, or into the street – a danger for everyone. And she’s not a vicious dog, though others may think she looks and acts like one at times.
So, knowledge of my/your dog’s behavior, taking control, and training are critical components of success and happiness for both you and your dog(s). There are many schools of thought on, and many methods of training – most work and most are good. In my opinion (which with $1.50 may get you a good cup of coffee!) the key elements of any training are you, your dog, a positive/loving/rewarding approach, and recognizing that each person and each dog is different, so the training must be different – catered to you and your dog. Some dogs may need only minimal training for safety – sit, stay, come, etc. Others may need more training. It’s very important to seek help with training if you are experiencing frustration, because you want the training to be a positive experience for both you and your dog. Sometimes the best training for your dog is changes in your own behavior! And, advising others who come up to your dog.
Another very key element to training and socializing your dog is understanding dog-human communication. Your dog reads your body language, facial expressions, hand movements, etc. differently than another person may. Standing over a dog, staring a dog directly in the eyes is – to the dog – a threat or challenge. A smile – showing teeth – can be read by a dog as a threat or challenge. Make learning about how your dog interprets your actions, and the actions of others a part of your training so that the training will truly be rewarding and positive for everyone. And fun rather than work.
So, with the Cape May weather perfect as spring marches on, and with summer just around the Cape May corner, work with your dog(s) to insure that you can enjoy a great, relaxing visit/vacation to Cape May – together! Enjoy and we’ll see you soon!