Loving A Dog To Death
Welcome to canine nation audio edition. It's Monday August, sixth twenty twelve. Canine nation is a regular feature column that runs on the life is a human online magazine. Life is a human features articles about what it means to be human the good, the bad and the enlightening this column explores what it means to be human in our relationship with dogs. You can find it at life as a human dot com. To get directly to canine nation. Goto Kanai nation dot life is a human dot com. A complete archive of all the canine nation articles can be found there. Hi, I'm Eric, Brad. Canine nation is about learning understanding and living successfully with our dogs modern animal training, techniques based on behavioral science can produce a mazing results in working with our dogs. Whether your dog is a loved family member or a working dog canine athlete or a trusted companion positive training techniques based on science can help you. Enjoy a more productive and fun relationship with your dog. Join us as we explore the many facets of living with our dogs and taking a fresh look at how we worked with them. Whether it's taking a closer look at everyday issues, we share with our dogs or busting long myths about training and Doug behavior. I hope you find something useful in each of the canine nation articles. We're glad you're with us. Now, here's this week's installment. Loving adult to death in December of twenty ten. I wrote a piece called a million ways to love dog in that piece. I talked about how dogs are integrated into all kinds of lifestyles for all kinds of reasons dogs live on farms in high rise apartments, suburban homes and even on the road with their humans. We love our dogs in all of their various shapes and sizes, but can we love them wrong? Can we love them too much? It's an interesting question. There are currently over seventy eight million dogs living with people in the US alone genetically their lives are much shorter than ours. Most dogs live very happy and comfortable lives, some die too soon due to disease and some die at the hands of ignorant, human cruelty. I'm dismayed at how many die in the loving homes of people because of improper care. And management. These dogs are literally loved to death a few years ago. Some friends asked us to look after their new puppy for a week when they dropped him off. The little guy was enormous while puppies tend to be pudgy and carry some extra puppy fat. This dog was dangerously overweight. Of course, we cut back his food during that week. And he lost that round Waddell while he was with us when our friends came to pick him up we asked how much they were feeding him. They told us that they were feeding whatever it said on the dog food bag they had purchased. What our friends didn't realize was that dog food companies have a vested interest in you overfeeding, your dog, the more they eat the more you buy. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that recommendations for feeding amounts on your dog food packaging will be at the higher end of normal for your dog size. They want you to buy more. And they want you to buy off in obesity is very real problem in dogs. According to veterinarian, Dr Donna specter. Approximately fifty percent of the dogs in the US are overweight that's more than thirty eight million dogs. If we use the humane society statistics as guide overweight dogs have lives that are fifteen percent shorter than their counterparts. That are kept at an ideal weight for their breed, assuming an average lifespan of twelve years overweight dogs would die at just over ten years old twenty months sooner than they should we love our dogs. They get meals and treats and snacks and handouts from humans in all kinds of situations. Heck, they're cute, and they make a smile many times. We don't see any harm in giving a bit of extra goodies to our best friend. But we might just be treating them to an early grave. We have full control over their food, and we should. Feed them responsibly. It's estimated that over one million dogs are killed by cars each year in the US. That's a staggering number for me. The first question I have to ask is why are one million dogs playing in traffic each year? I think that the answer is complex. But that it comes from a simple idea. Many people believe that having your dog off leash is an ideal that we should all be training towards as humans. I think we find the idea of being tied to another being as too restrictive we would prefer to roam free and monitor our own movements, and we tried to transfer that ideal to our dogs yet. No responsible parent would allow a small child to roam the neighborhood or run loose and parks without an ability to control their movement. It's a matter of safety. I am still surprised by the number of dog owners and even professional dog trainers that judge. Judge the quality of their training by their ability to control their dogs while off leash. The simple fact is that no matter how well trained any off leash dog could decide to chase a squirrel or run off to greet another dog, and there may be nothing. The owner could do to stop it. The minute you remove your dog's leash you give up any real control over their movement where they go or what they might. Do. Anyone who loses a dog this way quickly changes how they manage their dogs. It's just a fact that our society has changed pretty drastically in just a few generations. There are more roads and cars than ever before for many of us the risks to our dogs are much greater than they were when we were children. We have a responsibility to keep our dogs safe. And no amount of training can provide the security of a leash attached to a harness or securely fitted collar on our dog. Yes. Dogs need exercise. And there is no better exercise for them than to run freely and play, but just as we would with small children, we need to choose safe places for that to happen. We need to manage our dogs effectively. No matter where we take them. Whether it's moving a dog in and out of the car on shopping trips or going on outings with them safety should be our first concern. As much as some trainers would like to tell you. Otherwise, you cannot stop a dog with your voice alone. One hundred percent of the time choose wisely and use the tools, you need leashes are not a punishment or assign a failure. They can save your dog's life dog training means different things to different people for some once the usual behaviors like sit down come or stay are taught to some level of proficiency training is done for that dog. In many cases, any kind of regular formal training is finished for the average dog before they are eighteen months old as long as the dog doesn't get into trouble or become a nuisance. That's all. That's required. If we expect our dogs to fit into our modern lifestyles is that kind of training really enough management behaviors are important. So that we can for example, get our dog to sit while we put on a leash for a walk. But there is much more that we expected our dogs these days, they will encounter new people new situations, and they will be asked to cope with variety of things that we can't even predict when we first bring them into our homes. I think we need to teach our dogs something more than behaviors we need to teach them how to cope. This is the mental work of dog training, just as our own schooling was intended to teach us more than just information training dog should teach them how to cope and how to learn a dog that is not exposed to strange environments dogs or people cannot be expected to behave appropriately. Similarly, a dog that is not taught how to manage its time and activities around the house in an appropriate way is likely to find its own sometimes unacceptable alternatives dogs who don't receive enough regular training to keep their minds active and occupied are often the ones that act out and become problem dogs dogs get bored, and they get frustrated the ladder is especially true when a dog is punished and because of a lack of training, they do not understand why and frustrated dog is much more likely to lash out. This can come as a surprise and shock to the dog's owners. I don't have a statistic on how many frustrated or confused dogs are labelled aggressive or dominant. But I do know that that number is far too high. And it's likely that these dogs will be sent to shelters or they will be put down cases of true aggression, and dogs are much more rare than you might think too many dogs find themselves frightened or frustrated in a situation and only believe they are trying to defend themselves for this. They are sent away sometimes to their deaths training and time spent with the dog teaching them how to cope can prevent this dog owners often say that they just prefer to let their dogs be dogs. And this is how they justify how they manage or don't manage their dogs. They believe that they are showing affection by slipping their dog a bit of extra Turkey from the dinner table or giving them a nice off leash run at the park. And because they haven't spent the time to train with them. Their dog might nip or bite an unsuspecting child while running at the park because it squealed with delight at seeing a cute dog days later that dog might be put down due to local dog laws. Another dog is loved to death. A lot has changed in the past fifty years society has become more complex and more crowded. We have become busier people in our daily lives, and we must be smarter about how we care for our dogs. The world can be a dangerous place for a dog that hasn't been taught how to cope and extra treats and scraps from the dinner table won't make up for the time and companionship that all dogs need, we know more about dogs today than ever before the importance of training, and keeping our dog's mind engaged has been shown to correct or prevent many of the behavior issues. People have with dogs. We have the tools at our disposal to give our dogs long and happy lives. If we take the time. To manage them. It's easy to get a dog. It's also easy to get rid of a dog shelters are crammed with dogs looking for another chance. There's no excuse for loving a dog to death. We owe them something more. We owe them a happy and healthy life until next time have fun with your dogs. I hope you enjoyed this edition of canine nation. You can find the text version of it at canine, nation dot life is a human dot com. You can join our discussion about dogs and dog training on Facebook. Just search for canine nation to get to our group. You can ask for membership. And we'll add you to are growing family. If you can spread the word about the podcast or link to our canine, nation dot life is a human dot com page. We would certainly appreciate it. That's it for now. Thanks for listening.