When dogs are adopted from a shelter, rescue, or other caretaking situation, they have an enormous amount to learn as they adapt to their new environment. We sometimes take that for granted and develop unrealistic expectations of them as a result. As we give them space and time to adjust, we can observe the situation from their viewpoint and alter our own expectations and actions to better help them feel comfortable in their new homes.
Adding a new dog to the family requires considerable thought and planning. It’s a big decision requiring a lifelong commitment. When the dog arrives, the first steps including helping the new family member feel comfortable in the environment, assisting other animals in the family to adjust, and getting to know the new dog as well as possible. This process must precede decisions about any work in which the dog might become involved. This brief article highlights the early process to navigate the early days and weeks.
We often draw conclusions about how our animals are feeling or what they are thinking. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong. The scads of videos of “guilty dogs” don’t really have it right. Most of the dogs in these videos are more likely to be anxious and stressed, responding to their humans’ tone of voice rather than experiencing actual guilt. This blog discusses ways in which we can be clearer about what our animals are experiencing and notes how there are different degrees of certainty about our conclusions.
Many people describe dogs as being “unconditional,” usually suggesting that they love humans no matter what. Is this really true? This blogpost explores this common assertion.