On Dogs and Family

By Lynn –

This post will also be a test for HTML coding, so pardon any extra characters if it doesn’t work (and if I remember!).
I went home on break from school for a wonderful Thanksgiving and a house full of family and friends. Hopefully I’ll get a picture of the wirehair/yorkie(?) mix up sometime soon, Lucy is a real cutie and she may be deaf but man, that nose still works!

I don’t consider it my job to educate my parents on dog behavior and whatnot, but at times, it’s a necessity. And I began to realize something: if I’m to train dogs as a profession, I need to stop being so darn critical! Maybe it’s just that I’m with my parents and I’m using the logic that “They’ve had their bad days and goshdarnit I can have mine too.” Maybe it’s that some thing they’ve done, they’ve been doing for so long that the “annoyance” has built up inside and it just came to a head over break.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m trying too hard to ‘parent’ the parents. Being the baby of the family, I’ve learned that while I have say in some things, canine psychology and behavior is such an abstract notion that to talk about it is just…different. My brothers can talk about their specialties all day and not repeat themselves, but they can bring in different pieces of equipment and actually show how things work and what they’re doing. Me? I work with live animals, not easily obtained (I might tell stories about training the rats in the lab later if someone reminds me), not cheap to keep for any length of time, and definitely not as easy as computers or lasers. Those, you just tweak some things, maybe download some new software, change a mirror’s orientation and there you go. Those you don’t need to beat at their own games; heck, there isn’t a game other than that provided by others (here’s lookin’ at you, Steve Jobs and Billy Gates!).

Dogs and horses?

These things have brains. They’re actual thinking organisms that make connections between ACTION-CONSEQUENCE. I can’t just poke them, move a few hairs around, clip a few nails and voil√†, the dog now knows how to Sit on command! (Oh wouldn’t that be a dream…) No, these things we have to beat at their own games, whether or not they know it’s a game. And unfortunately, that requires not US changing THEM, as one does with computers and lasers…it we change OURSELVES. We can’t change a darn thing about their personality without going to drastic extremes, of course. But we can change their behavior by changing not only OUR behavior, but our way of THINKING.

We all know that dogs aren’t human. Seriously…what similarities are there between us besides the bleeding obvious?

You must also remember the “You’re under our roof, you obey our rules” constraint commonly used at most houses. Clarification: Most parents’ houses. Not clients’ houses.

So I can be critical. I can win the battle get away with it to a point. But I know I’ll lose this war because parents are parents. All I can do is wait until I’m secure enough to have my own dog. And that in itself is a whole different topic.