Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why didn't anyone tell me...?

In a shop today a woman said (morosely, I felt): 'Just two days until Christmas'. I only wish someone had mentioned it to me sooner. It has come as a terrible shock and finds me deeply unprepared. I have done no Christmas shopping whatsoever unless you count three bars of Green & Black chocolate which I bought for Mrs. S and secretly ate. I must smuggle out the wrappers when no one is looking.

I have been reading Real Food for Dogs & Cats by Dr. Clare Middle. Excellent, short book about why dogs should be eating a raw diet. In the first chapter she places great emphasis on how dogs are pack animals and the importance of making their status within the pack clear to them. The following types of behaviour will give your dog the impression that they are higher in the pecking order than the humans in your family:

- Feeding them before you eat.
- Letting them onto the furniture.
- Letting them sleep in your bed.

- Giving them treats for no reason.

Does it matter? That depends. In general, if a dog believes it is high on the pecking order it is less likely to behave well or do as it is told. It can also lead to anxiety. As Dr. Middle points out:

" Dutiful dogs can become over burdened with a sense of responsibility greater than they are capable of managing, making them confused and stressed and sometimes leading to behaviour problems and even aggression."

I have a friend with a staggeringly beautiful lurcher who is charming but - um - headstrong. Indeed, it is almost impossible to get him to do anything he is told. I am sure this is because he sleeps on her bed. On the other hand, she doesn't mind and he seems perfectly happy. So obviously, it is a matter of personal taste.

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