Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Made you look.
Just to be clear, I LOVE dogs, I've loved dogs before I even knew what they really were. Now I realise I may offend some readers with this topic here so fair warning if you choose to read on. My dogs, both my two dopes and all of my lovely client's dogs are all incredible to me each in their own special way. I'm fascinated on a daily basis how they communicate with us and each other, their natural instincts and perhaps ones they've learnt from us, like smiling. One thing my dogs aren't though, is my babies. I love dogs for being dogs, not because they are like my children. (side note, I also have 2 children and my cockers are much better behaved, make of that what you will!).
The wave of the "dog mom" is a funny trend (and odd Americanism we've adopted) that certainly isn't new, people have been putting dogs in handbags for years (insert Paris Hilton here), treating them like babies and only catering to the needs of the owners, not the dogs. I believe our culture and the way we see dogs as an accessory rather than the individual animal this it is, has taken dogs away from what they really are and were meant to be.
So lets break it down, a dog is first and foremost an animal. An animal thats born into its family pack, with the female and male parents at the top, once the dog's descendants hit maturity, they would naturally leave the family group to start their own family pack. The social structures we see from domesticated dogs outside of its immediate family aren't like human social groups, whilst dogs form bonds, they can change their "social circle" very quickly and just because you have a "dog social" dog, doesn't mean they will happily interact with all dogs. They are dogs, they think like dogs, they interact like dogs, they eat like dogs and poo like dogs. Dogs are also driven by their breeding, dogs are predisposed to certain traits through linage and basic insists. Not all pit bulls are dangerous, not all chihuahuas like to sit in bags, not all bulldogs are stubborn, not all shitzus like staying in doors all day (I could go on forever but ill stop). When we forget our dogs are animals things start to get a little complicated.
Everyone knows someone that got a chihuahua because they don't need much exercising then to only wonder why the dog is destroying the house and pooing under the sofa every time their humans go out. Dogs are meant to roam, haven't you seen Beverley Hills Chihuahua?! But the issue goes further than putting the pooch in a cute little bag. Did you know New York state banned dogs on the subway unless they could be transported in a bag, cue some very inventive ways of carting German shepherds in back packs. Bags are sometimes necessary in doggy transit, my issue here is not the bag (I realise so far I've focussed a lot of attention towards the apparatus), its the humans holding them and the misconception that small dogs require less exercise. Did you also know its actually larger breeds that are more likely to suffer with joint pain due to long bouts of exercise as they grow older due to the size of their bones putting stress on their joints? I'm all about the did you knows today! My point is all dogs, no matter what breed, need the right amount of exercise and stimulation to keep them healthy both physically and mentally, and it's that lack of mental stimulation that ends up chewing your door frames. There is a lot more too it than that, but I have a habit of digressing so we'll save that for another post, I know you're as excited as I am.
So why don't I love my dogs? Just to reiterate, I love my dogs and I'm so lucky that I get to spend my days looking after other peoples pooches too. I love dogs because they are dogs. I love dogs because they are intelligent, inquisitive, playful and so bloody happy I wish I could bottle that shit up and bath in it daily. When dogs are treated like dogs and respected for what they are and those needs catered to, they are the best friend you always hoped for. Unfortunately as humans we constantly project people emotions and characteristics onto our dog. Now I'm not saying I don't believe our pets don't sense when we're sad and the jury is still out on whether I think a dog can actually use its teeth to smile. However, what I am saying is humans have a horrible habit of underestimating dogs and their need to have a strong leader, not just a playmate and in our often misplaced way of loving our pets in the way we think they need love, we end up with a dog that finds everything and everyone more interesting than their owner and ends up with a whole host of undesirable behaviours and a potentially unstable and nervous personality.