Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dogs are a girl's best friend

I don't think that I've mentioned my love of dogs yet. For much of my life, I've had a dog. As I get older and watch shows like the Dog Whisperer and Pitbulls and Parolees, I appreciate dogs more and understand what the responsibility is for owning a dog. Being a good pet owner is so much like being a good parent. You are responsible for the pet's health and happiness. It's not only vet visits, providing food, and making sure the dog is legally registered. A good pet owner also provides daily exercise, leadership, much needed love and affection.

I have so much respect for Cesar Millan, from Dog Whisperer and Cesar 911. I whole-heartily believe in in the pack leader mentality that Ceaser teaches. When I adjust my energy and go into pack leader mode with dogs, I find nearly an instant reaction from dogs in most cases. I believe that dogs do react and feed off our energy. Cesar's approach not only works with dogs but it often works for other aspects in life. Being a calm leader with a positive energy works in so many situations.

Tia Torres from Pitbulls and Parolees is a dedicated, outstanding women that deserves so much respect. The work she does for dogs, parolees, and her community is unmatched. Along with her family, staff, and volunteers, she makes a difference everyday by rescuing, housing, nursing, loving, and adopting dogs into great homes. I am moved every time I watch the show.

We are a Boxer family for sure, but we are not total snobs to other breeds or sizes.  I've never liked small dogs as much as large dogs, but our Aunt has a Yorkie, and we love him. He's smart and very cute. I'm also a little obsessed with French Bulldogs and I'm pretty sure we'll add one to our family in the near future.

Currently, my husband and I share a Boxer with my dad. It's the second Boxer we've shared with him. Personally, I've loved sharing a dog for the most part. You can run into some issues, like who is really the dog owner and makes important decisions, but we usually work through it as a family. The advantage is that you do get a break from the responsibilities periodically and you aren't always tied down if you want to travel.

A friend of mine continues to ask when we are going to get a dog of our own and when I'll get that French Bulldog that I can be a bit obsessive about. I always tell her that I won't do it until my husband and I are both ready to commit to the serious responsibility of adding another dog to our family.

The boxers we've shared with my dad. Vinnie on the left, who passed a few years ago
and Mac on the right, who is now 6 years old.

If you live in the Lansing, Michigan area and are looking for a dog trainer. I recommend Hector Hernandez of First Class Dog Training. My father has taken several of his dogs to Hector and has been very happy with the classes and what he and his dogs learn.

Here is a link to Hector's website:
http://www.firstclassdogtraining.com/

Recently, we watched a great story on 60 Minutes. The story was digging into how smart dogs really are. Although there have been many studies into chimpanzees and dolphins, it's amazing how little people really know about dogs. Dogs are in our homes everyday. The show said that we currently have 80 million dogs in the United States. There are more dogs than children. Dogs have been in our lives for 15,000 years.

The story starts with Chaser, a Border Collie that knows over 1,000 unique words and understands the difference between words that are nouns and words that are verbs. Chaser isn't unique, his owner is because he spends up to five hours a day working with the dog teaching him.

Additionally, Anderson Cooper speaks with scientists who are studying dogs. The studies include MRI's while the dogs are awake showing that when a dog smells it's owner rather than a stranger, the reward center of the dog's brain shows recognition of someone important to them. It's the same area of a human's brain that is activated when we anticipate being with someone we love.

One of the best parts is when they talk about what happens when a dog and it's owners or family make eye contact, play or touch. It releases oxytocin in both the dog and the human. The same hormone that bonds a mother and baby feel when making eye contact, playing or touching.

Here is a link to the YouTube Video of the story about the study of dogs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lhseg979EQk

I hope that people continue to see the value and privilege it is to be a pet owner and that people continue to take this responsibility seriously. These animals deserve it.



More to come from the mind of ...

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