By: Gene Brownson, February 21, 2016
It has been a learning experience introducing Jerry, our recently adopted Boston Terrier, to our home with our established dogs. I now realize that I have been tempted to do things I advise clients not to do. As an example, when they take a toy from another one I find myself trying to get them not to do this and to be satisfied with their first choice or, when they start to wrestle with one another, feeling it has escalated, I want to break it up or feel sorry for one or the other.
Dogs as pets have been a part of my life for so long now that it is hard sometimes not to treat them like people, despite all of my education and experience. I need to not only remind my clients but myself that they are not people, they are dogs.
Our pets, whether they are dogs, cats, horses, or birds, all communicate in ways we do not and can’t relate to. For instance, dogs do not hold grudges – it just isn’t part of a dog’s behavior. If left to themselves, dogs have their own way of working out their problems and reach agreements in a way that works perfectly for them.
I have seen very few dogs that injure another dog intentionally but if you have a dog like this you should seek the help of a professional, a Certified Animal Behaviorist is best in my opinion. But most dogs will work it out.
I have found that my dogs will wrestle with one another more when I am in their presence. At times it is very tempting for me to try and separate them, treating them as if they were human, when actually there is just a small rift between them. I’ve learned to avoid them and to go into another room, removing myself from their presence, thus avoiding the temptation to interfere. Once they’ve settled down I return, which is a form of a reward, with my presence and attention, which is really all they wanted in the first place.