Steamboat Springs This column is a humorous approach to how our dogs might perceive some of our interactions with them. My dog, Skippy, sometimes watches me, and I do wonder what she’s thinking. Here are some of my guesses about dog’s thoughts:
Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with 25 years of experience and has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC in Northwest Colorado.
Dog's Eye View
This weekly column about dog training publishes on Fridays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.
• My human wonders why I can’t sit still in the back of the black pickup when the temperature is higher than 85 degrees. Come on back here and sit for an hour to find out.
• My human wonders why I won’t come when he calls. It always means it’s time to go home or I shouldn’t be sniffing where the squirrel peed. The worst part is when I look at him to say just a minute, he pulls on my collar and makes me go home. Would you like coming to someone like that?
• My human takes me to the dog park. I hate the dog park! I get chased around and bullied the whole time I’m there. When I go over and stand by my human, he gets mad and walks away. He tells me to go play. Hello, I’m not a chew toy.
• My human fills up the food bowl every few days with the same food. When she finally leaves something that smells really yummy on the counter, I get yelled at for even suggesting that we share. If you eat nothing but Cheerios for a full year, I’ll bet the food in my dish might be tempting.
• My human doesn’t realize how off balance that leash makes it when straddling a bush for a good pee. How would you like to have a rope tied around your neck while doing your business? I need one of those magic doors that close and give me my alone time.
• My human only looks out for herself. I hate that leash. What happened to togetherness? You get to stop whenever you want. But when I want a break, there’s no time for the dog.
• My human talks like a broken record. Sit, sit, sit. Come, come, come. Down, down, down. Will you please give me time to think?
If you cogitate on this a bit, there is an element of truth to each of these scenarios. If we take the time to consider our relationships from our dogs’ perspectives, it might just change how we train and treat them.
An ethological perspective would consider how a given animal operates in its natural habitat, and we would consider evolutionary explanations for behavior. If we think about the immense environmental adaptation required to cope in a human habitat, and begin to see life through the dog’s eye, it’s a wonder they live with us at all. For their continued existence, we provide a place to stay, things to do and meals to eat. We should also bridge the gap in understanding by learning more about who they are.
If your dog has other pet peeves, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with more than 25 years of experience and has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC here in Northwest Colorado.