Thursday, October 8, 2009

Should we be allowed to have dogs?

At the moment I am reading a lot of books on canine behaviour. I am acquiring a lot of knowledge I wish I had known before I got my puppies and not 8 months into their lives. Maybe I would have handled everything better if I had understood their motivation for behaving the way they do and how to handle it. I have been very lucky to have a behaviourist who has given me a lot of guidance.

Jean Donaldson, author of The Culture Clash is very blunt about the issue. She believes that the clash between how dogs naturally behave and humans' lifestyles is often a point of conflict. The resolution is usually at the expense of the dog.

She goes on to say that "if you don't have time for a dog, don't get a dog. There are few guarantees in behaviour but one is surely this: dogs chained out in yards self condition to bark, dig and lunge at passing stimuli. Boredom barking is a symptom of gross under stimulation. What's needed is a radical increase in interesting stuff in the dog's life. Increase training, walks, socialisation, and predatory games."

After reading these books which set the bench mark for how we should be treating our dogs, I wonder how many of us would qualify to own dogs?

At times I have become guilt stricken about my "parenting skills" like so many mothers who constantly question if they are raising their children correctly. Many do but many make mistakes along the way.

I wonder if we are prepared to compromise enough in our own lifestyles when it comes to our pets. Do we teach them to fit into our world while denying them their doggie rights? If we do, is Jean right? The alternative is not to have a pet at all.

How dogs learn by Mary Burch and Jon Bailey states that these are a dog's rights.

Canine Bill of Rights
  1. Dogs have a right to a rich stimulating environment.
  2. Dogs have a right to time and attention from a caring owner
  3. Dogs have a right to effective training procedures; if behaviour problems are to be addressed, a competent person must be involved
  4. Dogs have a right to ongoing veterinary care and assessment for behavioural problems.
  5. Dogs have a right to an ongoing education and the chance to learn new skills

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If u can`t take care of children....don`t have them.
    If u can`t take care of a pet DON`T GET 1....
    A dog take so less but give so much more.....
    My dog is there for me when I am sad, happy, down, desperate, lonley.........
    Can anybody say the same of friends........???