Every one of my family members, including my wife, approaches their relationships with dogs from a human perspective. They treat these animals as if they are people. They command them as if they are people. And they blame the dog when the message gets lost in translation. Dogs are not people.
When I was 23 I submitted an application for a service dog. I was accepted and after six months of waiting I got a phone call from National Education for Assistance Dog Services (more commonly known as NEADS) letting me know that they had a possible match.
Dexter was his name. He was a golden retriever with the personality that rivaled my own. He had one deficit. He had a habit of hesitating before acting on a command. My mom told the instructor that I did the same thing with my chores my entire life. It was a match made in heaven.
Dexter was obedient. To harness this obedience, I spent a little over a week learning how to command him effectively from his trainer. I started to realize that dogs are not people. The way in which I was taught to interact with him was not human. It was structured. Consistency was my friend and his. Humans are not consistent. We are rarely structured.
I’ve learned that treating a dog as a person introduces chaos. Dogs don’t like chaos. They want a leader and not all dogs are destined to be leaders themselves. Not all humans are capable of leading either. Dogs want a relationship with their human that guides them through life.
Don’t bring chaos into your dog’s life. If you do, I reckon the dog will bring chaos into your life.