On Valentine’s Day many of us look forward to treats.
Actually, most of use look forward to treats any day of the year. Of course, a treat for you might not be a treat for me. My brother doesn’t care for chocolate. I have no concept of such a palate, but nevertheless, he would prefer the pistachio pudding ice box dessert our mom used to make over high-priced bean to bar dark chocolate. I don’t get it, but that doesn’t change the fact that my brother likes what he likes and I like what I like.
Someone who truly knows you and wants to make you happy will make an informed choice when choosing a token of affection. When we have affection for a person or pet it stands to reason that we want to make them happy.
Most of us claim to have great affection for our dogs.
Why is it then, that humans sometimes fail to make informed choices for the object of their affection and then attribute the traits of pickiness or even ungratefulness when their dogs don’t happen to be thrilled with the offerings?
Often I hear frustration from dog owners because their dog doesn’t seem to care about the treats offered or their dog loses interest in the food used for training. Sometimes an owner will say that their dog just isn’t food motivated. Come on folks, on some level every dog is food motivated. When was the last time you heard of a dog starving to death?
Guess what? Our dogs don’t have the bandwidth to be “picky” or “ungrateful”. They just know what they like and if you offer something else, well, it’s not a reflection on you or on your dog. Really. You can let that go.
Sometimes tastes change. Mine certainly have. Can you think of something that you once hated and now you enjoy or vice versa? Maybe your dog’s tastes have changed. Perhaps a negative or positive association was made with a certain food and the result was a change in what they like or don’t like.
If you are reading this and thinking that I’m advocating “spoiling” your dog, you’re right! That is, I’m advocating giving your dog his best life.
If that means that I change his diet when it appears he is not happy with the food he’s eating, or change up the treats when it seems he is no longer motivated by what once interested him, then yes, I’m advocating “spoiling”. If it means that I read labels and find the best quality food I can afford, or that I share a banana or apple if it makes my dog happy, then yes, I’m advocating “spoiling”. If it means that I give my dog something yummy each time I get out the brush so that the brush equals good things, then yes, I’m advocating “spoiling”.
This is not to say that dogs (or humans) should get everything they want when they want it. To have affection, to love, is to discipline. Discipline is not punishment or control. It is providing loving parameters for the object of our affection. It is meeting the needs and desires of our loved one in the most healthy way possible.
The time we have with our dogs is far too short. Changing up the food, working to find out what makes my dog happy is a small price to pay for the joy that comes from sharing my life with a pure soul.