AnimalSense holds a seminar called “Bowser and the Baby” at Prentice Women’s Hospital monthly, and I am one of the presenters. This is one of my absolute favorite things to do because:
1. I really believe I can help expecting couples prepare their dogs for the new baby and
2. Being in a room full of pregnant people is like being in a room full of hope and excitement.
Now, here’s where my talk goes south for a moment. I tell these sweet dog lovers that Maizy might actually benefit from the arrival of the baby. This will allow her to actually take the roll of “dog” and the baby can fill the roll of “baby”. (I usually hear crickets about now.)
Why would I say this? Well, it’s true. When we treat our dogs as just that, they have the possibility of living up to our expectations. They can never live up to being a human because, well, they aren’t. When we expect people behavior from our dogs, we are horrified that they eat poop. If you read one of my previous blog posts titled, “Mmm… Poop”, you’ll see that I address this gross and yet very normal, dog behavior.
When we expect them to act like dogs, it doesn’t rock our world quite as much when they smell other dogs’ butts, lick their own or dig up our favorite roses. Those are behaviors come naturally to dogs. It doesn’t mean we like them, but at least it’s not a surprise.
So, I always have clients keep in mind, first and foremost, that their dogs are dogs. Left unsupervised to keep themselves busy, they will only come up with doggie behaviors, such as digging, barking, rolling in poop, pawing, chewing etc. It’s not their fault that we don’t like any of these. It then becomes our job, keeping this in mind, to help them create habits that are human-home friendly. This is where canine enrichment comes in – more about that in this blog post.
It’s easy to do, but leaving the baby stuff to babies is really a gift to Maizy.