My mentor once told me, “You can never really know a dog unless you live with him.” I believe this is true. You know when your dog is comfortable, stressed, hungry and everything in between, even without knowing anything about dog behavior.
As you might have read in a previous blog, I do the occasional bit of dog sitting. Summer is the busiest time, and I spend most of it living at other people’s houses, living with their dogs. I used to think I see what the owners see. This isn’t especially true as I have no bond with these dogs. The first time I sit for them, they know me, but not the way they know and trust their owners. I will never be bonded to them that way, but I do bond with them in my own way.
Sometimes I hand feed or train them for a small amount of time. I like to just sit with them and observe their behavior. It all helps me to understand the dog I’m living with for a few days. It also helps to establish a routine. I try to stick to each dog’s normal schedule but sometimes that doesn’t work. It’s all about learning to live with each other well.
I do this stuff with my own dog, and it helps form a symbiotic relationship.