Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Dog behavior food for thought.....

by User Not Found | Aug 05, 2012

If you’re like me, your dogs go just about everywhere with you.  A friend of mine recently moved to Salisbury, England when her husband was reassigned there with the Air Force.  One of the first pictures I saw from her new locale was of her and her kids petting a dog in a bar…well a pub.  Now I can’t think of anything better than taking my dogs with me to have a drink after a long week at work, but also find the thought of non-sober people and their dogs a bit of a potential for disaster.  It seems like maybe there is just a different mentality about dogs.  Ironically, one of our volunteers, who also happens to be a dog trainer made the same observation on her recent vacation.  She has gracefully allowed me to post her story here for some food for thought.


I recently visited Vancouver, BC which is considered to be one of the dog friendliest cities in North America. Dogs are everywhere here. The beaches, the malls, the sidewalks, everywhere. I was struck by how well behaved the dogs were. The entire time I was here we saw at least 100 dogs and no dogs were fighting, growling, lunging, or tensing up. Little dogs happily walked up to people and wanted to be petted with no signs of aggression. This got me to thinking why is it so different here?

The difference is that these dogs are loved but not spoiled. I didn't see any dogs that were "dressed". They are expected to act like a dog. They are treated like dogs. They are exercised and well socialized. I saw countless dogs running beside their owners while the owners were bicycling, jogging, and rollerblading.

We petted as many of these dogs as we could and talked with their owners. These owners loved their dogs with as much passion as we Americans. Some had stories of rescue to tell and others were purchased from breeders but every owner we talked to was happy to tell us all about their dog.

I was also struck by how fit the locals were in Vancouver. These people roller blade, bike and walk everywhere. Almost all of the restaurants offered organic foods. They eat and they live healthy. They extend their healthy approach to life to their dogs.

I thought it was a great life lesson for all dog lovers. Treat your dogs like dogs and you will have the happy, healthy, well balanced dogs that we all want.

Just some observations from a dog trainer in Vancouver.

Thanks Kellie!  I also wanted to mention a fascinating book I’m reading right now called “The Other End of the Leash” by Patricia McConnell.  She is a zoologist (a girl after my own heart) and animal behaviorist.  But the best part about her writing is that she looks at the difference between human and dog behavior and explains how our communication is more often than not, confusing to our four-legged friends.  For example, greeting another human with direct eye contact, a smile and extending a hand is considered polite and friendly.  To a dog: stare down, look how many teeth I have and can bite you with and watch out, I’m about to take you down with one hand.  Obviously she’s a bit more eloquent than I am, but it’s really something every dog owner should read.  I wish I had read it a long time ago, It’s very straight-forward and provides a lot of real life situations as learning points.  My favorite part is that I don’t feel like I’m sitting in class or being lectured to.


I promise to get back into some exciting medical stuff next week.  In fact, I plan to talk more about the strange wildlife encounters I’ve had in my own yard.  There are some important things, we as pack leaders can do to protect our dogs from nosey wildlife that are carrying strange bugs. 




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