When it comes to owning and training dogs, the ways to do it are endless. As a professional in the pet industry, I like to think that I have a lot of knowledge about owning animals, especially dogs. But, as I mentioned in a previous blog, I also recognize the fact that I don’t know everything. I don’t do everything perfectly with my dogs either. But, let me share a little secret with you. I struggle with the issue of judging other owners on the way they do things with their dogs.
But, where do you draw the line? I’m willing to bet we all have different limits on what we allow and what we feel is safe. As I walk down the street and see a dog tied to a bike rack, I think, “I’d never do that… what if the dog breaks his leash, or gets stolen, or slips his collar?” Glancing out the window, I see a couple letting their little terrier follow them, off leash, as they push their stroller along. “What if that dog sees a squirrel and darts across the street? What if they come across a dog that isn’t dog friendly?” Although I never had young children, I hear the same thing often happens with parenting. You find a style that works and, without thinking about it, you assume that it should work for everyone, and you wonder why the heck anyone would do it differently.
Just because you take different risks than I do doesn’t mean you are clueless, or negligent or lazy. It probably just means that you’re a different person, with a different dog, in a different situation.
So, after all of this, I think it’s only fair if I tell you what risks I take. I let my dogs run free on my mom’s farm, even though it’s not totally fenced in. Sometimes, I let my little terrier Georgie curl up in the passenger seat next to me instead of being safely tucked in his crate in the back seat. Some meals I feed them grain free food, some meals I do raw meat, and some meals I mix. When I’m frustrated, I repeat commands, instead of only saying them once and waiting. I even allow my dogs to jump all over me and lick my face when I come home. And you know what? I love it. I encourage it. So, feel free to secretly click your tongue and think about the crazy risks I take…. or, try to remember, like I try, that we’re all just doing the best we can and learning as we go.