There's no better exercise in empathy than trying to walk a mile in your dog's shoes. Champ's hierarchy of needs isn't too different from his human's needs. But since we can't magically change places, these four insights might help you learn how to be a better dog owner.
Food for Thought
From your dog's point of view, rules that seem hard and fast to humans, like "Don't eat my sandwich when I leave the room," are gray areas. Finn, a crafty Labrador Retriever, gives us a glimpse into this as he halfheartedly fights temptation, with a pitiful whine before giving in and enjoying his forbidden treat. While our pups try their best to follow our rules, at the end of the day they're still animals that might find their instincts hard to resist.
Safety is the responsibility of the pack leader, and the way your dog sees it, that's you. Loyal Champ may never make a peep if the pavement is too hot or the run is too long so pay attention to his posture and body language so you can make the right decision for his well-being. Physical activity aside, set a good example during your walks together, how you approach other dogs you encounter and your posture. Dogs pick up on our energy and react accordingly.
Variety is Key
The call of the wild runs through your dog's veins, so feed your own sense of adventure when trying to understand how your dog thinks and feels. Challenge yourself and your pup with new routes during your daily walks or switch up your exercise routine to include mental stimulation. Have a free Sunday afternoon? Find a dog-friendly park in your area or restaurant with an outdoor patio for a Fall brunch with friends. Anything you can do to add some spice into your days together will benefit you both!
Everyone has days when they knock the presentation out of the park only to find out they had food in their teeth during the entire meeting. Similarly, when Champ's training appears to have taken a step back, give him a treat for a simple task, extra attention, and remind yourself that everyone, dogs included, have off days.