Monday, February 27, 2012

How Does A Person And Dog Relationship Change Over Time?

Your relationship with your dog is going to change over the years. There's the excitement of having a new puppy, but then the growing realization that the puppy is getting out of control the longer you postpone professional training. Then there is that lull in the action in late puppyhood, around 6 to 8 months of age, where things seem to be coming together, and many people then relax their supervision... 

Only to find that adolescence comes on, and then the problems multiply. This is the time when chewing becomes real destruction, disobedience and defiance really get annoying, and that cute cuddly ball of fluff starts turning into a young adult. Later in adolescence, dogs can start getting in fights with other dogs. It is at this latter stage of adolescence where most dogs are abandoned to shelters. People give up on them. On the other hand, those folks that started their puppies our right, at 4 months of age, with ongoing socialization, diligent supervision, proper containment when unsupervised, scheduled play times, and obedience training... find that their older adolescent dogs are really starting to come together and looking and behaving great. 

Then, a dog migrates into adulthood. The untrained adult is no fun to live with, has behavioral problems, emotional issues, and baggage from being either neglected, punished, or mismanaged. The trained adult, however, becomes a true joy, the dog you always wanted. And the love and affection grow deeper as the years go on. 

Then the dog gets older, and starts needing more attention. The dog isn't as sturdy as before. Maybe some medical conditions have developed. So, you have to start looking out for them, starting at about 7 years of age. The dog is still awesome because it was trained, and you are thinking that one day, you'll probably get another dog just like that one, or you're thinking that maybe now is the time to start thinking about bringing a puppy into the home. If you get a puppy, you find that it either brings out the best in the older dog, or brings out some things you didn't realize your older dog could display: jealousy, aggression, possessiveness, even pottying in the home. So, right from the start, the smart dog owner brings in a dog trainer to get the older dog and young puppy on the same team; starts the puppy into early lessons so it doesn't bond too closely to the older dog; and gets the puppy trained as fast as possible to make the ownership a lot easier. You tend to forget how much work a puppy was. 

Then the older dog gets very old. You start feeling sorry for the older dog, and realize that the end is coming. You spend more personal time with the older dog. Some, on the other hand, don't like the older dog. They don't want to face the aging process, so they start to neglect the older dog's needs... which is actually abuse, and a betrayal of the dog. Then the older dog passes away, sometimes because you have to do it at the veterinarian's office, and sometimes because of old age. This is a hard time, and it will be sad. And you'll have all those emotions, and old memories of good times will flood back. You'll put up a few favorite pictures around the home, and quietly keep many of those intimate moments in your heart. And the puppy is now becoming an adult, and it all starts over again. 

That's how it changes. And it is all about love.

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