Animal Care Folks: Are Dogs Getting Crazier?
Were retro-dogs from the 1960’s & 1970’s less crazy than post-millennial dogs? It seems that way! If you are a veterinarian, veterinary technician, animal groomer, or any animal professional involved with animal welfare or animal care, you may be nodding your head in agreement. So why?
Years ago, we worked less. We were outside more. Our social networks included hanging out with neighbors on the porch, playing pick-up games of basketball and softball, and walking in the park rather than Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn. We had 3 channels, 1 phone (on a cord), and 0 iPads or X-boxes.
Our dogs were with us. They were socializing, running, playing, walking, fetching and getting tired out. Without even trying, we were more likely to give dogs what they needed 40 years ago than we are today.
Who are dogs, and what do they need?
- Dogs are busy, active, SOCIAL, smart creatures who love to have a steady job.
- Dogs bark, dig, chew, play, run, adore you and want attention.
- Dogs range from roughly 3 pounds to over 200 pounds. Their “Jobs” include everything from herding & retrieving to hunting and protecting.
Dogs must have social contact to be complete.
What do many of us do?
- Keep our dogs in our homes. We work 8-12 hours a day.
- If the weather is nice and we have any glimmer of energy left, our dogs get to go for a 20-minute walk, if not they go out in the yard to “Do their business” and then back inside.
Many of our dogs are bored and lonely!
What else do we silly humans do?
- We have the audacity to get mad at our dogs for being dogs.
- We are aggravated when they bark, dig, chew, play, run and adore us.
- We are impatient when they seek our attention a little too much, or too often, or at the wrong time, or in a way that we don’t feel like dealing with right now.
What should we silly humans consider?
- Meeting our dogs’ basic needs. To a large degree, they are already fitting into our worlds with remarkable grace.
- We need to meet them part-way.
- Educate yourself in animal behavior, animal care and animal science.
- Ask your veterinarian, dog groomer or veterinary technician for help with dog behavior suggestions and referrals to responsible, reputable dog trainers or doggy daycare centers
Ask your animal care professionals to direct you to helpful, legitimate and FREE sources on the web, like those linked below
- Don’t select a 9-week old puppy if you do not have the schedule for training a puppy! You don’t have to be a vet tech to teach a puppy, but you do need patience, time, consistency and a little knowledge.
- If you are a couch potato and plan to remain a couch potato, please adopt an older couch potato dog.
If you choose a young, active, driven dog, be prepared to step it up and make the time for agility training, running, walking, playing fetch, and arranging doggy play dates.
- Especially crucial if you start with a puppy, socialize them well.
- This means introducing them over and over again to men, women, kids of all ages, other dogs, horses, cats, and even the mail carriers.
- Socialization involves providing safe, positive experiences with any other living creatures your dog is likely to encounter.
Great socialization helps dogs navigate a chaotic world with far less fear and anxiety.
- This is just like socialization, but now instead of providing safe happy exposure to other living beings, we are doing the same with sounds, sights, places and experiences.
- Take your puppies and dogs for rides in the car that end in FUN places.
- Walk them in neighborhoods with lots of traffic, bikes, big trees, schools or hospitals nearby.
- Show them that hair dryers, umbrellas, winter boots, vacuum cleaners and oven mitts are not scary!
- Take happy trips to your veterinary clinic and grooming shop, where she or he just gets to walk in to say high, smell the smells, step on the scale, get some treats and leave.
Make sure various leashes, collars, harnesses, and cages are familiar and non-threatening.
Reach out and touch some dog:
- Help dogs get comfortable with having their faces, ears, legs, feet and mouths touched!
Your veterinarian, veterinary technician, doggy daycare or boarding kennel associate and groomer will love you forever.
- This one is good for everyone! Play fetch, go for walks, go for runs, set up doggy playdates –
- Multi-task: the dogs, the kids, and the humans can have corresponding play dates, and everyone is happy and tired by the end of the day.
Consider obedience and agility classes for active dogs.
Play with food:
- Make use of food puzzle toys, Kong toys, hiding treats and favorite chew toys around the house or just break up a meal into 5 or 6 small portions and place them in different rooms in the house.
Creating a daily game that provides its own built-in reward at the end is a free and easy way to help enrich your dog’s day!
- If your dog loves to dig, provide one great place in your yard that invites digging.
Just with loose dirt and buried treasures like hard safe chew toys, tennis balls and dog biscuits, you have a digging paradise.
Love your dog!
- Remember: you are his world; you are his everything!
- You may be a busy modern-day human with six trillion things on your mind, but make sure your dog is near the top of your list.
- Your dog is your dog.
YOU are the biggest and most important thing on your dog’s mind.
Want to spend more days with more dogs?
- Learn what you love, and love what you do.
- Great resources for all dog lovers include the ASPCA site on dog care, and Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS: The Art and Science of Animal Behavior.
- Talk to us about working with animals in any aspect of animal care or animal welfare, or just to learn more about our amazing animal rescue partners.
- Stautzenberger College offers diploma and degree programs in Animal Studies.
In addition to diploma and degree programs, Stautzenberger College also offers short, sweet & cheap certificate courses for members of the community, like our Animal Warden, Animal Control Officer program which provides attendees the opportunity to learn about animal health, animal behavior and animal law.
Danya Linehan has been working with animals since 1983, practicing veterinary medicine since 1993, and has been a proud member of the Stautzenberger College Family since 2006. (Danya Linehan is old). Dr. Danya is the Program Chair for Animal Welfare and Management Program with the College.
As the part time shelter veterinarian at Cat Welfare Association, she is part of an amazing animal welfare team.
Danya shares her home, her rescue mission and her life with fellow animal advocate Mike Parks. Mike and Danya are owned by a lively crew of cats; they are currently one cat shy of being the crazy cat couple.