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Dog ownership - we need to adapt!

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Time and time again I hear people tell me they have owned dogs all their life and they do not need educating about dogs.  Wrong!  I have owned cars all my life, but I still do not know how to fix them, I can put fuel, water and oil in it, even change a wheel but that is it.  Plus, they have developed and got more complicated so I have even a less understanding, mechanics have adapted and enhanced their knowledge so they can keep fixing them.  This is the same for dogs, they have developed, the environment has changed, it’s busier, plus many other factors and scientists have proven facts of how dogs learn, think, cope, emotional reactions etc etc, therefore we need to adapt and broaden our knowledge.


Yes, I do get myself in situations quite a bit, however it’s not because I am preaching or being self-righteous, it is because I like educating people (I also know some pretty random facts about random things that come in handy sometimes).  People in general, myself included, know what you know.  I love being educated about anything, knowledge is power after all, especially if it saves me a pound or two! 

If you have owned dogs for 30 years it does not make you an expert, I work with dogs all day, I have done many courses about dogs, but I still do not consider myself an expert, a professional yes but not an expert.  I suppose I am GP level not a specialist consultant level.   Studies are continuous when it comes to dog behaviour and training, it is progressing in many ways therefore we all must adapt.  Owners, Trainers, Rescues, Behaviourists, Dog professionals and even Vets must move with the times, with the latest studies to do the best for all dogs not just yours.


I have owned my dog business for 7 years, prior to that I went to college, completed many courses, volunteered at dog’s trust, also at a dog day care and a puppy class.  I have owned dogs for many years prior to all of this, yet I still learn, and I still adapt.  My business has changed so much over the last 7 years from my continuous education, I have changed so much too. 

I have 3 dogs of my own all have been trained similarly. They are all lovely dogs with their little quirks and blend as a household very well, they all have their own weird personalities, however when I learn something new, I add into my training with each of them.  I learn and they learn.  Training should be a lifetime thing not just for the first year, after all it is education for the dog and we learn new things all through our lifetime, they say everyday is a learning day.

My recent experiences of kindly trying to educate people ended up with a torrid of abuse or the famous phrase of ‘I’ve owned dogs all my life I know what I am doing’.  I am sure you do know what you’re doing in general, and your dog is probably really loved but when it comes to saving a dog from an accident or pain then a lot of people will not know, I certainly didn’t when I first owned dogs.  It doesn’t make you bad owner because you don’t know everything, I am pretty sure my GP doesn’t know every illness, or my local police officer knows every part of the law, it doesn’t make them bad at their jobs.

As the dog and people population has grown the need for training is much higher, times have changed with more technology and far more traffic on the roads, more houses and less Greenland, more confined spaces, smaller houses and smaller gardens.  These are all the things we face and our dogs too.  We must be more considerate to others because of the confined spaces, we must realise that the world is a scarier place and dogs are more anxious because of it, plus the greed side of poor irresponsible breeding which have caused dogs to have problems health wise and mentally too.

I remember when I was a child people used to open the front door the dogs were let out to wander around all day, then they came back at teatime for food.  There was no such thing as dog food, the dogs got scraps and bones.  You always saw white dog poo on the grass or paths because of the butchers’ bones.  Haven’t times changed in 40 years?  You would not dream of doing that now.   Ask yourself why?  This is the reason we must adapt, what was acceptable 10. 20, 30 years ago is not acceptable now.

Dogs and walking in the heat, our climate has changed so we must adapt with it and learn how we can help our dogs.


Dogs running over to other dogs was more acceptable 10 years ago, but we didn’t have the emotional responses from dogs like we used to, like, the spaces are more confined, dogs have more anxiety problems, more rescues from here and other countries, dogs becoming a money-making commodity which causes poor breeding which then results in behaviour problems, working dogs becoming pet dogs, to be fair the list goes on.


Dogs reacting on lead because they are frustrated.

Positive training rather than harsher methods in the past.

Reactivity in dogs is on the rise.

Dog food changes because more science has gone into it.

We could go on for a long time with a list, but you get my gist, these are the most common. 

Recently I learnt more about dog hormones, and it was fascinating, I now understand why my un-spayed female has so many behaviour changes over a certain period, so I have adapted and changed her training, when she is on or off lead and even times when she should just chill.  I will be doing a blog on this soon as it is very interesting and can probably answer a lot of questions of why your dog is strange sometimes.

I hope this blog helps people understand why some people get a bit mad sometimes or try to tell you something about a dog thing, please don’t get mad just embrace it and nod.  You can use the information or ignore it is up to you, but you have it.

So come on dog owners embrace the knowledge it is for everyone not just professionals, your dog will thank you it, they love learning, they love interacting with you, your relationship will only grow stronger and that is a fact!


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