Three things I have learned since becoming a dog owner (sorry, no sciencey links to back this stuff up!)

…but I know it’s true!

Dogs can wake up on the wrong side of the bed too

Some days Betsy is on POINT with her training. Other days she’s a mess. Some days she’s snarky when another dog behaves rudely; other days she is tolerant. If there is a pattern of issues over many days I know there’s a real problem. If it’s a one-off I’m happy to just write it off as a bad day. I’d say for the most part, she’s a gem, and on the days when she isn’t, I’m ok to be kind, quit the training session early, and try again the next day.

Sometimes you can figure out what the underlying issue is, sometimes you can’t – in agility class the other week, for example, Betsy suddenly completely disengaged. I took her outside and lo and behold, she had an upset stomach and diarrhea. No wonder she wasn’t in the mood to race around an obstacle course!

Dogs aren’t fluffy teddy bears

They are living creatures. They deserve to be treated with respect, and we shouldn’t expect them to be saints. Dogs are often expected to tolerate far more than what any human would be expected to tolerate. Don’t forget that they have teeth, and any dog can bite under the right circumstances. It’s up to us to not put them into a situation where they feel pressured to resort to that.

Like humans, dogs should stretch and warm up before physical exertion

Many people take dogs to the dog park when they get off work for a crazy rough session of charging around, leaping through the air, and body checking other dogs. That same dog has been sitting on the couch sleeping for the past 8 hours. Sure, a lot of the time this may end up being fine, but dogs are fully capable of sustaining injuries from this kind of zero-100 exercise routine. There are stretches and warm up exercises out there for dogs, look them up! You can even take a class.

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