Posted on: 14 Nov 2012
How many 'scientists' in the world have bothered to study animal language? The only time they get excited is when the animal learns human language. Obviously, all animals have languages and it is sad that we cannot – or will not – try to understand them. Think how exciting it would be to have a dictionary and tapes of Chickenspeak or Pigspeak; How many new careers it would create in animal psychology. How much easier it would make even animal farming or the veterinary practice. Imagine how much easier it would be to live with a dog or cat if you could understand them – instead of expecting them to understand you. Since you cannot understand the animals it makes life difficult for him / her. There are so many things a dog would like to tell you about himself:
1. I really am speaking to you. If you don't understand me, just look at my body language. My tail and mouth will tell you everything you need to know. Down tail: I'm sad, scared, unhappy and hurting. Up tail: I'm confident, happy. Stiff straight tail: I don't like you just now. Tail going round and round: I'm very excited and I am probably going to run after that moving object. Mouth open and tongue hanging out: unhappy, tired, thirsty. Upper lip up and teeth showing: very angry and threatened.
I am going to do things that you will get angry at: I am going to eat one shoe and run off with one sock. I am going to jump on your bed and tear the pillow. If you leave me alone all the time I am going to do things to tell you I am angry – and this involves nasty things like urinating and pooing on your carpet. If you chuck me out of the room, I will scratch the door. Sometimes I do things because I want your attention. Sometimes I do them because it seemed a good idea at the time – after all I need to play and you haven't got anything for me to play with or anyone to play with me. So, try to take the temptation out of the way. Just as you baby-proof a house, doggie-proof it. Don't give me stuffed toys and then expect me to know the difference between them and a cushion. Doesn't play pull-games with me and then expect me not to pull your clothes. How should I know the difference?
As a puppy I am a baby, I can't control my muscles any more than a baby can. So please train me gently and happily. Don't hit me if I don't have bladder control. I'm trying my best but it will take six months. Until then, I'll try my best. Take me out as much as you can, but set up special spots for me when you're gone.
You can be angry at the behaviour; that's natural but if you are mean to me I will never know how to control it. If you punish me by ignoring me, remember you are my WHOLE world. You go to work, and you have friends. You have outside interests. I have you. That's it. So if you are angry, then leave the room, that's what I will remember.
Do not tie me up or shut me in rooms. I get frantic, insecure, upset. I have no one in the world. I have so much energy and if I am tied up the whole day I get angry. Then when you untie me, I am going to bite someone or run about madly with happiness or break something deliberately to annoy you. Then you will tie me up again. If you keep doing that to me, my behaviour will become worse and worse because I feel unloved. Then you will throw me out and I will die. So don't do it. No matter how small your house, keep me underneath of a bed or a table and I will stay there. But don't tie me up – especially not at the gate. For amusement or to keep myself busy I will bark at passersby, curl my lips, look ferocious, and go crazy. And everyone will complain about me.
I don't like baths (do use special shampoo, and not anything you have lying around in the house) but I like being brushed with a soft brush. Look at my teeth and see if they are getting black – that means trouble for me but if you don't notice, it will be too late and then I will be stuck with a permanent toothache and gum disease. If you see me running round trying to catch my tail or backside, I probably have fleas and these can drive me mad. Check my paws for ticks because if you don't I'll tear them off and hurt myself. I am your baby – check me everyday to see if I am OK because, like a baby, I can't tell you what's wrong. If I won't eat and my tail droops – I'm sick.
I feel safe with getting the food everyday at the same time and place (remember this because I know when you are going to feed me to the exact minute and my food juices start acting up ten minutes before). But, please give me well balanced meals – if you just feed me meat, and low grade mince or leftover rubbish or just dried commercial food, I will get very sick soon. I need vegetables, grain, vitamins and minerals. If I start getting sick because I am badly fed I will become very snappy and then you will be mean. So think of my food. I may need a little more of one thing and less of another. I am dependant on you so keep me healthy.
I am genetically structured to please you. So I have all your bad habits. I will eat all the rubbish you eat – popcorn, chocolates, bread, sweets, cookies. Don't feed me everything and anything just because I look like I want it. I don't want to be on one of those TV talk shows having to be escorted in a wheelchair because I'm too fat to walk. Chocolate is a big no – it can kill me.
If I have a breed, then get a book and read about me. The more you know about me, the better we'll get along.
I will grow up. You may have found me when I was tiny and fluffy but I will grow and get less cute. Please don't throw me out just because I am grown up now and need more space. I am not a thing – I am you, in another form.
I get old at a faster rate than you do. I will be slow. I will have accidents. Think of how you will want your relatives to treat you when you age. Do you want to hear: 'What's wrong with you?' or 'Hurry up!' I want to please you, but my body may not be willing. Don't ignore me, give me softer food and a softer bed. Don't get a new puppy. Love me more because I am as scared as you of growing old. Remember, it will happen to you, too. And who do you think would sit patiently by your side all night, if need be? Your dog.
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