Safety, what does it mean for the dog?
Safety, what does it mean for the dog?
Who would not want their dog (or any pet) to be happy and feel safe when being around us. But what does feeling safe mean for a dog? I take this as a subject because I think that we talk too little about this. There is much talk about dog training, different dog hobbies, feeding, and other things, but rarely we stop and think about safety from a dog's point of view.
What do I mean by this? I mean the things we should offer to our dog so that our dog will feel safe with us and feel safe in our home.
First of all, it is good to keep in mind that a dog is not a human 😊 This is hardly surprising to anyone 😉 A dog is an animal with a certain type of behavioral patterns and needs that he must be able to do to be happy. These are for example being in a company with other dogs, a good relationship with the owner and other family members, enough food and water, sniffing and using his nose when being in walks outside and also doing some sniffing inside, enough sleep and rest, and different breeds also have some different needs depending on a breed.
1. Having a safe dog company
Dogs are social animals and therefore, often enjoy being together with other dogs. This can easily be misunderstood. Often when we think about dogs spending time together, we have a picture in our heads of dogs running and chasing each other in a dog park (especially in Finland 😉 ). No. But spending time together with a dog that you're dog likes, with who he maybe wants to play, but somebody that he can also relax and just be. A dog friend with who he can go out for nice walks and who he does not have to be afraid of.
Having a dog friend is extremely important to the dog so that the dog has someone to talk to with his "own language".
Your dog does not necessarily need to have more than one dog friend. Especially with a sensitive or fearful dog, one good safe friend is much better than having ten friends who make him feel unsafe and stressed.
2. A good relationship with the owner and other family members
I repeat myself: Dogs are social animals. They need to have company. When we take a dog (or any pet), we should ask ourselves, do we have enough resources for our dog? Are we ready to invest and spend enough time with our dog?
By saying this, I don't mean we have to fill our calendars with different dog hobbies and sports, but do we have time to be with our dog? Owning a dog is more than just taking the dog out for a walk. Our dog needs social interaction with us! How do we give attention to our dog? One of the simplest ways to notice our dog and build a good relationship is to talk to our dog when being outside for walks and also inside at home. You can also practice the things you need with your dog, such as recall in and walking nicely on the leash.
Think for yourself what it would be like to live with someone under the same roof that would use you for mental or physical violence? A safe, trust-based relationship is the foundation of everything 😊
3. Enough food and water
It may seem obvious to us that the dog has enough water available at all times. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case. Diva, who came to us when she was two years old, had lived before so that her water bowl had been empty many times.
This had caused Diva that when she came to us, she always emptied the whole water bowl at once. Regardless of the size of the water bowl. For her, water had become a resource that had to be emptied as soon as it was available. It took us more than half a year to get her to trust that water is always available here, and it would not run out.
4. Sniffing and using nose both outdoors and inside
Our dog's sense of smell is incredibly better than ours. When we step out to go out for a walk with our dog, we probably do not smell much. While our dog knows exacly who has been walking there a minute before us, whether it was a woman or a man (or a dog or any other animal), in what state of mind the individual has been and is there any other people or animals nearby.
Using the nose is extremely important for the dog. As well as being part of the dog's species-typical behavior, it also calms the dog and reduces stress levels. Because of this, it would be important to let our dog sniff with no hurry when we are outside on a walk.
Surely all of us have sometimes been rushing our dog to quit sniffing when we were on a walk because we been busy or getting late from work. But if we think of this on dog's point of view, our dogs usually only get to get outside when we take them out. Because of this, it becomes even more important how the dog experiences the walks outside with the owner. Is being outside with the owner a constant pulling on the leash and owner getting nervous? Or walk where the dog can sniff and read the environment without the owner getting pissed off?
This does not mean that we need to stay on a walk forever 😉 But if we know we are in a hurry then we can choose a shorter route for a walk and do it more slowly so that our dog has time for sniffing. The more comfortable and safe the dog feels the walks with the owner, the stronger the relationship between the dog and the owner will grow.
5. Enough sleep and rest
How much sleep do dogs need?
In contrast to humans, dogs take their sleep in more than one part. It has been studied that the need for adult dog sleep is about 12-16 hours. If we think about puppies or senior dogs, the need for sleep increases in a few more hours.
How to guarantee your dog enough rest and sleep?
Every dog should have more than one place in their home, where the dog could choose where they would like to sleep. These places can be sofas, cages, dog beds, etc. Dogs also like to sleep on elevated platforms. With these, I mean, for example, beds, couches, chairs or even sleeping on top of a cage. You should try with your dog, which would be best for your furry friend.
Many dogs want to sleep near the owner. Some want to come to bed; others are feeling ok sleeping just close to the owner in they're own bed, some in the bedroom or nearby. By being close to the owner (assuming the relationship with the owner is in good), the dog also feels safe. Ideal here would be if we could give the dog an option to choose. How? Simply offering your dog different options where to sleep 😊
And finally, 😊
Did I already mentioned that dogs are extremely social animals (even problem dogs, as long as their problems are treated and solved)?
It is one reason why they have adapted so well to life with us😊
And now we would like to wish everybody a great July and enjoy yourself with your dogs 😊
Helena & Diva (below) 😊