In this series, we have been talking about dogs and their extra-sensory-abilities. In the previous three articles (Sensible Dogs Part 1, Part 2 and Dog Sense Part 1) we had looked at how dogs can sense: your intentions, fear and sudden change in your priority. Let’s continue with the last article of this series.
But before I continue, I want to clarify that some parts of this article are based on mere observation and may/may not be backed with appropriate statistical data to come to a concrete conclusion. Reader’s discretion is of utmost importance.
Many of you had asked me, as to why I forgot to include this part in my previous articles, but I knew it only too well that readers would have expected this part to be the first in my list to write about. Hence, I kept this for the last article of this series.
They can sense your grief
I’m sure each one of us has had this experience when we were almost broken down to pieces (shattered to the core), you feel like crying but you can’t, you feel suffocated, as if someone is trying to strangulate by your throat, you feel heavy from inside as if a ton’s weight has been dumped on you. Your pet is sitting in a corner of the room, keeping a close eye on even your slightest movements. He gets up, comes to you and looks at you with his deep infinite eyes. Then he climbs up your lap and sits, resting his head on your hand.
And just as he settles himself, you feel relieved, as if all your problems have vanished in thin air.
But how does he do that? I’m not talking about the ‘relief’ part (we’ll look at that in a different article). I’m referring to the part where he understood that you are in grief.
‘Animal cognition’, a study, found out that dogs tend to approach weeping, crying or sobbing people, in comparison to ones talking, or involved in other activities. But in the above example, the person did not weep or cry, but still the dog approached him. This is because dogs do sense your grief. If that is not enough, they also try to placate, pacify or calm the person. In doing so, some dogs will even try to lick away the owner’s tears.
If you feel proud that your dog did so, my next statement might turn your pride into rubble. Scientists feel that any dog, will approach any person who weeps and it is not at all necessary that it needs to be his owner. (Warning: Please don’t try to act as if you are crying, and that too in front of a stray dog, he might as well make you cry for real!)
The above mentioned paragraphs do not imply that dogs are empathetic. But it surely is found that dogs can sense your sadness as a distinct emotion.
The next part is a ‘must-read’ for all first-time pet parents. And also for those who don’t have a clue on what went wrong in their dog-training.
The can sense if you are a pushover
The first and the most significant reason why, at times, training dog can be very difficult lies in the way your dog perceives you. Dogs, especially larger breeds will always try and test their boundaries. Some dogs become violent if their owners are lenient.
Dogs do not know what they are allowed to do and what they are not. They get to know if they are doing the right thing when they receive a gift and they know that they are doing the wrong thing when you give punish them. They are completely dependent on social structures and hierarchies of the society to determine what is considered to be right and which is not. If you want your dog to understand how to behave, then you need to be his coach and mentor. To assert your position you might, at times, even resort to strict punishments. I know how it feels, when you scold or reprimand your dog, but always think that it is for his greater good that you are doing this.
Your take-home message from this part, is to always be your dog’s leader, and to not let your dog perceive you as a ‘push-over’. You might want to ask: “You mentioned the word ‘push-over’ what does it actually mean? How do I know if I’m one?”
Answering the first part of your question, Push-over, is what your dog will think of you when you fail to lead him. In simple, words, your dog will take you for granted. I would like to list out a few points by which you can understand if you are a pushover or not:
- Your dog walks faster than you in his walking trips.
- Your dog enter the every door/entrance first.
- You serve your dog his food before you have yours.
- Your emotions stop you from punishing your dog
- You always advise strangers to stay away from your dog as he’s dangerous
- Your dog has the liberty to do all that he wants (including the things that you dislike)
If you agreed to atleast3 of the above mentioned points, then you are just about to be tagged as a ‘push-over’. If you strongly agreed to more than 3 of the above mentioned points, then your dog has already been treating you as a ‘push-over’.
By saying all this, my intention is to just make you understand what could have gone wrong in your training. You can as well treat this part as an answer to the frequently asked question: “I just can’t train my dog. I really do not know what is going wrong.” The larger the breed is, more is the need for a disciplinarian reign.