I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of articles, posts, tweets and all that jazz about how wonderfully therapeutic dogs are, how they enhance our wellbeing by lowering our blood pressure and creating a calm environment in which we can relax.
Yeah, except when they don’t!
Firstly, I am not of the opinion that a dog ‘should’ be doing anything other than being a dog. The expectation that they’ll enhance our lives and be a super-power within the family that emits joy and happiness is nonsense. They’re dogs.
If you love dogs, while embracing the fact that they’re dogs, then I have no doubt that you will have a super-power that emits joy and happiness, it’s just that sometimes that joy is in the shape of mud splatters up the kitchen walls and the happiness has a whiff of fox wee about it. Bliss!
Sometimes, the thought of walkies actually raises our blood pressure. It’s not a blissful, calm experience where you’re at one with nature. It’s trying to stay upright, avoiding all other living beings and praying that you have enough volterol to cover your aching muscles from head to toe as soon as you get home.
We all have days when the idea of life with a dog and the reality of life with a dog could not be further apart.
On the days when you’re questioning your sanity, wondering why you ever wanted a dog in the first place and avoiding the ‘picture perfect’ lives of other families with ‘picture perfect’ dogs, know that you’re doing your best and it’s all part of life with a canine family member.
Ask yourself what your dog needs, how you can help them and whether it was just a situation where any dog would do the same thing (rolling in fox wee being a good example) or whether there’s something your dog is struggling with. Are they constantly pulling on the lead when you’re out? Do they react with a lunge and a bark when they see another dog? Do they jump all over your visitors or get over excited and get a little bit ‘too friendly’?
They’re not doing anything wrong, they just need some help to understand what’s expected of them from humans, we need to manage our own expectations if there are things our dogs find difficult. It’s not their responsibility to bring joy and happiness into our lives. We chose them and brought them into our homes. It’s our responsibility to bring joy, happiness and realistic expectations into their lives.