Priorities, Where Does Your Dog Fall?
As my phone flew across my bedroom through the faint morning light I made a promise to my dog to spend less time on my phone.
She hates my phone, and my computer for that matter, because when I am on one of them… I am not paying attention to her. I was simply trying to check my emails as I was fighting being awake, but in her excitement to see me awake she flung my phone with a jolt of her nose.
As if to say “I AM RIGHT HERE”.
And, after a recent post and seeing how many people can’t find an extra few minutes with their dogs; I promised to spend less time with my electronic devices.
I often see memes on Facebook and the like saying things like “if someone is a priority in your life, you will make time”.
How true is that?
If an acquaintance calls you, do you make yourself readily available?
If your work calls on your day off do you answer?
If your best friend calls do you answer or call them back when you get a chance?
If your spouse calls do you answer?
I have to admit, I am not always readily available for just anyone.
Like everyone else, I lead a fairly busy life and I can’t always take calls; but I do return them in a fashion that meets my priorities.
If my spouse (provided we aren’t fighting ;) calls I will answer. If my best friend calls I will answer that too, or call back as soon as I can.
I suppose we all make priorities.
My dogs are also one of my priorities.
I, actually, will do things with and for my dogs before I do them for my work or for acquaintances or even before some of my friends.
I am after all a dog trainer and my dogs are high on my list of priorities.
So after I published on article on Biofeedback and suggested people find 20 minutes a day to spend massaging their dogs I was a little taken aback at some of the comments from other people who can’t find 20 minutes in their day to benefit their dogs and I might add themselves!
After all, petting and massaging your pets actually lowers your blood pressure and helps you live a longer more fulfilled life! So not only is it good for your dog, it is actually probably better for your own health than it is for his!
So I had 2 groups the group that thinks making 20 minutes for a dog is ridiculous and the group that thinks you shouldn’t have a pet if you can’t find 20 minutes.
I believe there are good people that don’t spend one on one time with their dogs each day, and some of them still have good dogs and are still good owners.
I also visit with family every month going to kids games here and cheerleading there and practices every night of the week along with church and other commitments and I see how hard it would probably be for them to find extra time every day.
And, I had a great response from someone else which I will copy here.
If we want a clean kitchen when it’s messy we have to do something about it. We can clean it up ourselves or pay someone, but either way, it costs us something. If time is what it costs for our pets not to behave the way we don’t want them to, we can pay the price now, or pay the price the rest of our pets lives every time our heartrate & blood pressure goes up at our pets unruly behavior.
This is completely true.
You “pay” one way or another.
You pay with your time and reap the benefits to your own health and build a lasting relationship with your dog.
Or you pay someone else to do the training and work that you can’t find the time to do (this does work in some cases but is certainly not optimal since the dog lives with you).
Or your dog pays eventually with his life when his owners are finally pushed past the brink.
When people can’t get the barking, the biting, the aggression, the fear, the separation anxiety, the potty training problems etc. under control then the dog usually pays with his life; because he ends up at a shelter and no one wants to tackle those problems with an adult dog.
Reorienting Your Priorities
I think many of us (me included) need to reorient our priorities.
My main priorities are immediate family
Yes, btw, my immediate family contains my critters since they are family and not just critters.
But I do spend a lot of time checking emails, surfing the web, mind numbingly peruse Facebook and other social media sights and if social media proves anything it is that there are many people addicted to this way of socializing.
And, I realize that sending a funny sticker to my bff on Facebook isn’t nearly as relaxing and powerful as spooning and massaging my dog. It also isn’t as important as working on their obedience training, meeting their physical needs through exercise and their mental stimulation through teaching them new things.
I Just Don’t Believe It
I just don’t believe that a person can’t find 20 minutes in their day to strengthen a relationship and negate bad behavior.
If I could call everyone on that list and say, if you meet me for 20 minutes or more depending on how many dogs they have, I will possibly give you 1 million dollars after our consultation.
I think the odds would be high that all of those people would find the 20 minutes if they thought there was a probable 1 million dollar pay out. Heck I’d find extra time too!
Ironically I wouldn’t even give up any of my dogs for a million dollars, a lot of people wouldn't. The gifts of unconditional love, kindness, acceptance, generosity and the purest happiness is not worth 1 million dollars! I could never replace what I would lose in that barter. Yet they don't make time.
I believe in FULL CONTACT DOG TRAINING
- Good dog training involves massage and bonding to the animal as well as lowering both animals blood pressure.
- Good training also involves daily training and play.
- Good dog training also involves doing new things and training in new places
And by that I mean; my heart, my mind, my mental health, my physical health and my happiness revolves around my relationships and especially my relationship with my dogs. They provide me with clear sanity on an insane day.
When people are mean and deceitful; my dogs are always kind and accepting.
When someone says I am fat; I know my dog loves me no matter what I look like.
And working with them takes away the stress and provides me with that unconditional love that can only come from an animal.
To the Naysayers
To the naysers who don’t have 20 minutes a day.
I say GET UP EARLY! Set your alarm for 20 minutes early and go get your dog and cuddle and massage until it is time to get up!
Teach her a few things as you prepare the kids meals for the day.
Have her sit, lie down, come, find heel, and do other commands, then repeat while you cook dinner using her own food to get her to perform her obedience commands.
Take her for a walk, play retrieve games during the day, take her swimming and wear her out.
Then grab her and snuggle and massage her in the evening as you watch TV or as you hit the bed if your dog sleeps with you.
- Get up early,
- Stay up late,
- Put your phone down,
- Put your computer away.
- Turn the TV off
- Stop playing video games
- Drink your coffee faster peruse your newspaper quicker.
There have to be many ways for a person to cut down time in their day that is nonessential.
You have to MAKE Your Dog a Priority
You must change your habits and your theories and make your dog a priority in order to get a good relationship out of him.
Ask yourself This
Would your wife/husband/ best friend stay with you if you devoted the amount of time to that relationship that you devote to your dog?
Dogs are also living and breathing things, they deserve a relationship and quality of life as well and if we are not providing them with what they need they entertain themselves in the only ways they know how… and that often means through bad behavior.
And, dogs don't live forever! I would give everything I have to have my NIX back with me. He lived 11 wonderful years and we spent 95% of our time together and I would still choose to spend more time with him and less time doing silly things with silly people who could never love me like he did. Some day you will be pleased that you devoted so much time to such a loving relationship.
So Please Please Please
Make the relationship with your dog, some kind of prioritiy!
I have never had relationships with people that were so rewarding as that I have with my dogs. They provide me with unconditional acceptance and unconditional love.
And, I have never had a good relationship of any kind that didn’t take time, and work, and occasionally is difficult but clearly worth it!
All I have to do is meet their needs with exercise, training, and massage and relaxation to give them and myself a good and happy life.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.