There is nothing sadder than losing a companion that has shared your life for a decade or so and honestly, it doesn’t seem fair that our dog friends don’t hang around as long as we do…
The fact is that their lifespan is simply not as long as ours and although we know this on one level, we are never prepared to say goodbye after such a short time.
From the other side of the picture, though, our dogs do manage to fit a lot of living into that time! There is much joyful running, jumping and swimming to be done and all without the pressure of wondering how the bills will be paid!! Dogs manage to live with relatively no guilt, shame or regret and they do love unconditionally. All in all, sometimes I would gladly swap paying taxes for a little snooze on the sunlit couch. Not only that, but my dog’s sense of time is entirely different from mine. Her stomach guides when she wants to eat and her energy level reflects how she is feeling. She cannot read a clock and has no sense of being “late”!
Because of this difference in our lifespans and our sense of relative time, I would like to comment on the speed at which our dogs develop and how we deal with their “short” puppyhood.
By the time a dog grows into a mature young animal, our human babies are often just starting to walk and talk and this is a difficult concept for us to take in. One minute our puppies are rollicking around with the kids and the next they are knocking over your Mother In Law!! It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. I will frequently receive calls from folks about their “puppy” who is now 22 months old…Excuse me but that’s almost 2!!
We like to start giving puppies information about appropriate behavior as soon as they join the family… Simple things like no biting, jumping or getting underfoot make more formal “training” much easier in the coming months You cannot start this stuff too early. Remember that things that look cute in puppies can be quite overwhelming in an adolescent dog!
If we try to remember how short a dog’s life is and realize the speed at which their time flies by. It will make more sense to try to influence their behavior earlier rather than later. It may save a great deal of misunderstanding and disappointment and free you up to enjoy the companionship of a “good dog” for more of the time he spends in your life.
We are happy to offer some “early childhood” conditioning advice and are here to support your puppy-raising at whatever stage you have come together.
Let’s try to achieve a mutually workable relationship so that we can get on with the fun stuff!
– Janine Lazarus w/ Goodladd Dog Training, Hashtag #88. April 2017.