Today I want to do something different. I was really moved by an article in my local newspaper this morning. And I promise I will restrain myself and not go crazy regarding a topic that’s so near and dear to my heart; animal welfare.
It was about my local animal shelter, the Longmont Humane Society. I don’t have much interaction with them, I’ve never gotten a pet there, nor have I even stepped foot in the building except to bring donated baked goodies for a fund raiser but I literally dropped the plate and ran out. I can’t. I have a disease that flares up; I begin to leak from my tear ducts in an uncontrollable way, accompanied by severe sobbing and partial hysteria. I can’t look into those eyes (even the rats and snakes) and think of them living a life without a home in a loving environment.
I implore those of you who are thinking of getting rid of a pet to think twice. Chances are, once you leave them at the shelter, that’s it. They probably won’t make it. There are way too many animals on any given day and those misunderstood breeds such as the pitbull especially have a hard time getting adopted. Please think twice. They don’t understand where their owner went and why are they in this little wire box? Can you live with that? I sure can’t. And email me nasty notes if you don’t agree, but I firmly believe that almost all situations are fixable. I’m sorry but I’ve been there! I’ve had dogs that we had to live with in completely separate quarters or they’d fight ( I’m still dealing with a bizarre case of dog fighting PTSD, but I’m working through it) and I’ve also had a time where we were days from being homeless because we stood firmly to keep our dogs until we found a place to be that let us have them.
Ok, now on to today’s tips. How to keep your pet.
Those annoying things they do are almost always a sign that you as the owner (please don’t get mad at me) need a little help yourself. 🙂 We don’t speak their language so it’s important to learn what is going through their heads when they bark, when they tear up your favorite pants or rip up your flower bed. As a pet owner it’s YOUR responsibility to train and work with them. Dogs especially need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. 45 minutes a day is crucial! I guarantee you will notice a change if you give them what they require. Would you go to all the expense and hassle of planting a garden only to let it go without water, sun or proper fertilizer? And then you curse the thing, “why didn’t you darn plants grow?” Dogs need the same care to encourage good behavior and live a healthy life. Please stick with it! We humans tend to get lazy and impatient when things don’t happen magically. It takes time and dogs need routine. DOn’t let me scare you off, but it actually has taken me almost 3 years to get Tiger to stop chewing on his leash during our walks. But that’s with a lazy attitude and me not spending one on one time with him to correct this behavior. It looks cute, but it’s not. He’s trying to dominate me by taking the leash in his mouth!
1. Exercise is key. Even for small dogs, please get them on a daily walk regimen. It will benefit your waistline and mood, too!
2. Patience and persistence. Your dog may not get it the first time you use the Cesar Millan “Dog Whisperer” “sshhhtt” sound. But they will get it. (I absolutely LOVE Cesar Millan-we used his techniques from the tv program to stop the fighting in our household. His website also has wonderful tips on his site: http://www.cesarsway.com/ ) Stay strong and don’t let the dog continue the bad behavior-interrupt them with that “ssshhtt” sound, and if you haven’t seen the show, it’s like a loud and quick “SSSHHH” to snap the dog out of it’s current state of mind. Then reward them when they stop the bad behavior or do something good.
3. Stay assertive. This is hard for some of us who love to treat our dogs like our babies. We let them cuddle in bed or climb in our laps. Little do most of us know that letting them do this of their own will is encouraging them to be the “alpha dog” and do what they want. Cute as they are, don’t let them jump up unless you invite them up. Don’t let them have treats just because, but give them out as a reward. Don’t worry, you’re not hurting their feelings by not letting them jump up on your guests to greet them, but rather you are reinforcing that you are the pack leader which actually gives them peace of mind!
I am by no means a dog training expert, but these are things that have worked for us resulting in a more peaceful house. Yes, Tiger still pulls on the leash but that’s my fault. I’ve been lazy and I know that every time I give him the extra attention, he listens and follows my commands.
I hope these tips help you or someone you know. Remember, as humans we are their “guardians”. God gave us these incredible creatures to enjoy, not to cast off because of our discomfort. Stay the course. Do your part. And you will be rewarded with a better relationship with your pet.
Meanwhile, if you are so moved to donate to the Longmont Humane Society to keep them afloat, here is their link: https://www.longmonthumane.org/ Or Cesar Millans foundation is another fantastic organization. http://www.cesarsway.com/rescueandrehab/foundationnews/about-the-millan-foundation
And a note to all the people who dedicate their lives to the welfare of animals, you are all my heros! There is a special place for you in heaven; for speaking up for the precious ones who can’t speak and protecting them from people who there is another special place for which I can’t talk about…
By the way, I staged the newspaper fiasco in the photos above which is why they have that look on their face, “Why did you do that?”