If you think you have dog behavior skills because you didn't miss an episode of Peanuts when you were a kid, well, I have some little news for you. Snoopy is a character who has been humanized to the point that he seems even more human to us from his master Charlie Brown.
And if so many people have problems with their pets, it is because too often we still need to humanize them.
I had a lot of nice comments following the text 7 advantages of hiking with your dog. It gave me the desire to share with you a few things that will allow you to better enjoy your outings with your dog.
Don't hesitate to send me your experiences, it always adds a few nuances to what I say.
I certainly don't claim to be a canine behaviour specialist, but I can assure you that there are many simple little things you can do to improve your experience with your dog.
1. The training
That's the basis. There's nothing fun about walking around with a dog that does anything. Even less so in the forest where olfactory stimuli awaken his hunting instinct.
Make sure you have a good grounding in canine behaviour before you set off on trails you don't know.
Unless you are called Caesar or grew up in a pack of wolves, obedience classes are a must to ensure that you fully understand your pet's needs.
Dogs are not humans. You will never be able to build a beautiful relationship with the animal if you can't communicate effectively with it.
But be careful!
It's the fashion today. More and more people want to work for themselves and as the demand is growing, it is quite easy to claim to be a dog owner without having obtained a certification.
Before choosing an educator, do some research and ask questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the approach by going to see how a class is going before you write a cheque.
The recommendations of a relative can be useful to you. But in general, it is not very difficult to find schools that are established and have proven their worth.
2. Trust your instincts
There are all kinds of dogs, some more docile than others. You will then have to learn to follow your instincts in order to know what is right to do in all circumstances. Between what you are told or read, only what you feel really matters
To get to know your animal better, it is essential that you play with it in order to better understand its reactions to the unknown.
Between training classes and play, we learn to decode the subtle signals sent to us by the animal's body, which can be very useful in the woods in an unforeseen situation where the dog trainer is not at our side to give us advice.
3. Keep your dog on a leash
No matter how skilled you are at training your pet, be assured that it is always on a leash. Not only for his safety, but for your safety too.
If you often walk in the woods, you will quickly realize that the survival instinct determined by millions of years of evolution is much more powerful than the conditioning obtained in a few hours by training.
When your wolf leaves after a squirrel you didn't notice, you may find your leash useful.
Then it sends a clear message to those you will meet that you have the situation under control. All a child has to do is panic when he sees that your dog is not tied up and the beast senses his fear and starts to growl.
And now you're in shit!
Because in today's world, a growling dog is automatically a potential killer. And this even if there are beautiful big soft eyes, a ti-buckle in the neck, and the name is Doudounne.
If you think I'm exaggerating, it's because your cat is bigger than your dog, or you've never been out of the hole-hole-hole-hole-seagull with your dog.
But yet, that's the sad reality you have to face. Just because you trivialize Pitou doesn't mean the whole world has to think like you.
So stop protesting against society's intolerance towards animals, and prove to everyone that humans and animals can live together in harmony. Put a leash on your dog and he'll be happy to feel your confidence increased.
4. Choose your path
Make sure that dogs are allowed in the place you are going to. Take the time to learn about the length of the trail and its features.
Go at your own pace.
Choose a route according to the animal's abilities and your level of physical and psychological comfort in the face of the adventure.
There are no real limits to what you can accomplish with your dog, but going step by step is a great way to get to know each other and progress in harmony.
It is also much easier to choose wider and more suitable trails for your first outings. Because for Fido, walking is not as obvious in rough terrain where he can lose his feet at any time.
5. Respect your environment
Yes, I know, excrement is a kind of natural fertilizer. But that's no reason to leave them lying around in the middle of the road!
You may think you are contributing to the development of ecosystems by honoring the soil with your baby's beautiful little droppings, but it's full of bacteria that can carry disease.
For your information, many dogs are fond of the defecations of other animals which are a source of nutrients for them. They swallow it so fast, it often gets away from us.
And they tend to want a little kiss for dessert...
Faque, even if he is well behaved and does his job off the trail: RAMASSE-LE!
Oh and by the way, if your dog has a tendency to bark at a falling leaf, then you may want to start getting him used to it by subjecting him to stimuli in a park.
Noise pollution is pleasant for no one, especially not in the middle of nature where we often find ourselves for silence.
6. Practical thinking
As with any hike, it is necessary to plan your business. At a minimum, bring several plastic bags to pick up your dog's contribution to the soil. Remember to bring water. After exercise, dogs, like humans, need water.
This is even more true if it is hot. Members of the canine species regulate their body temperature through their mouths (this is why they always have their mouths open during exercise).
Water helps to refresh them as well as to quench their thirst. In winter, you will notice that your dog often eats snow during exercise.
There are many accessories available today that sell pet stores that will make your life easier. Water bottles with an integrated container save space in your bag, among other things.
If you want to go longer, think about your dog's food, a first aid kit, a tick clamp and his comfort for the night. To feel safe in a new environment, the animal must be able to sleep close to you and be protected from the elements.
To repel fleas and ticks, add 30 drops of lavender and 20 drops of concentrated lemon (available in health food stores) in 750 ml of water. Spray your dog's coat before you leave.
If you think it's too much to carry, there are bags that you can put on the dog's back. Thus, doggie will be happy to contribute to the expedition's efforts. Most dogs love to work and feel useful.
7. Share your experience
Nowadays, it is becoming easier and easier to reach groups of people who have the same passions as you. It can be interesting to share your experience for several reasons.
Hiking partners can exchange tips, talk about the places they have visited and challenge each other.
Not only will this allow you to meet new people, but the experience will also allow your dog to become familiar with the presence of other representatives of his species.
If the adventure is successful, Choupette will be less reactive to the presence of other dogs and your adventures in the forest will be all the more pleasant.
Sharing your experiences also helps to put the scale of your challenges into perspective. Sometimes, just knowing that you are not the only one in a difficult situation can be a huge relief.
Often, what was once thought of as a huge challenge is only a lack of communication. This is especially true in our relationship with dogs where a small communication problem can create big behavioural problems.
You have probably already felt it, your life seems richer, more complete when you are in harmony with nature. Dogs represent the animal species that has evolved most closely with humans. They have been in our lives for thousands of years.
We can choose to refuse to approach them or even despise them, but we can no longer ignore them. They know us so well that they have come to appropriate some of our suffering.
Creating opportunities to move forward with this species means giving yourself opportunities to become better.
A dog is a milestone that life has placed on the human path to find its way back.
There is nothing better than hiking in the wild to write a new chapter in this history between our species.
And above all, don't be discouraged, if sometimes the process seems difficult to you, tell yourself that there is an immense gift of conscience behind all the trials....