TWO SPECIES, TWO DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS.
I have spoken about anthropomorphising dogs in previous articles. This is a continuation of sorts. The difference here is that I am highlighting how some owners not only expect as much from their dogs as they do humans, but more.
Before I go on, yes, dogs truly are amazing. They can learn things incredibly quick and they continually strive to do what is wanted of them. However, as I say, many owners often have unrealistic expectations of their dogs, especially puppies.
This is a comparison of two species: humans and canines. A human has approximately 1 billion neurones in his brain while a canine has approximately 500 million. Why am I pointing this out? Well, simply to highlight how unrealistic it is to expect that your puppy or dog will learn everything you want of them and act exactly as you would like only after a few days or weeks.
Humans- It takes 2+ years to successfully accomplish potty training.
Canines- Many owners expect their puppy to be fully potty trained within 2 weeks. In some cases, dogs are re-homed for not learning quick enough.
Imagine the situation if you let an 8-month-old human crawl around bare bummed in the house.
Humans- Parents give babies pain relievers like Calpol and various numbing agents to help appease the pain of teething.
Canines- Owners continually ask about how to reprimand their dog for chewing or mouthing at them.
Would you shout at or hit a human baby for having sore gums and trying to ease the pain through biting things?
EXERCISE & EXCITABILITY
Humans- Encourages young humans to run and play with endless forms of mental and physical stimulation. This is done to the tune of, “I’ve got to tire them out so they relax at home.”
Canines- Many owners expect their dogs to sit at home all day while they are at work, have a 20-minute walk at a slow pace and then be very calm and low energy at all times. I regularly hear owners saying, “I have got to teach this dog to calm down!”
Humans- With pre-school, primary school, secondary school and many going on to college and university, humans have 20+ years to complete their education and become a productive member of society.
Canines- Many owners expect flawless-behaving dogs after 6 weeks of training. Many don’t even do any training then get mad at the dogs for doing something that is deemed unacceptable.
“They are just teenagers; they’ll grow out of it!” is something I have heard many times when excusing the acts of 15-16-year-old humans. So, why so many of the same people expect a 6-month-old puppy to be super focused?
Humans- It is well known that as humans we have days we are on good form and days we don’t perform as well. In a working capacity, people are given medical leave (sick days) from work and endless excuses for poor performance.
Canines- Many owners expect their dogs to perform perfectly every day of the year with no questions asked. Dogs are not allowed to feel bad, have an off day or forget at times.
Dogs don’t get the option to say, “Sorry, I can't come in today. I’m feeling a bit sick.”
PAYMENT & REWARD
Humans- Throughout our lives we are expecting some kind of reward for our efforts, praise from a sports coach, pride from our parents and a wage for our jobs.
Canines- Many owners will expect a dog to perform tasks and behave in a certain way without reward. “No treats!”, “Don’t give him too much attention!”, “It’s just a dog!” Yet they demand that their dog perform more every year and don’t believe they should reward the dog for the work they put in. Rewards come in a number of ways for dogs as it does for humans. Play, love and treats are all valid rewards for dogs. These have different values depending on the individual dog.
How would you feel if one day your boss stopped paying you because you now know how to do your job and you should be doing it because you enjoy it? Even when we enjoy doing our jobs, we still want the wage that comes with it.
The purpose of this is not to have people thinking that it is ok to have their dogs running riot. This is certainly not appropriate. Like children, it is paramount to teach them what is required to keep them and others around them safe and happy. We can also go over and above and teach tricks, games and sports with dogs that enjoy it. But while doing this, we need to be mindful of what we are expecting of them. Patience and consistency is key in everything we do with our dogs.