We’ve all seen the stories of heroic canine rescues, and remarkable behavior of loyal and loving pets. We’ve heard of service dogs and rescue dogs, but what about the heroic dogs that aren’t trained in any way but still perform amazing intuitive acts? Some of these may not be newsworthy, but they are evidence of the intuition that dogs have, and how they use it. Dogs are naturally in tune with the weather, their surroundings, and the humans around them.
Dogs can feel and smell the changes in the air when bad weather is brewing, and if the humans pay attention to their dogs they may be better prepared for whatever is coming. Everything from earthquakes to tornados and blizzards cause dogs to adopt a pack mentality of gathering those they feel responsible for and settling in for safety. Our dog Bear can hear or feel thunder before any of us, and she begins to make rounds of the house. We can tell she’s getting nervous because she tucks her tail and constantly runs from person to person almost like she’s herding us. Once we begin to hear thunder as well, we know why she was rounding up the pack. She often hides under the bed or some other protected small space but she keeps an eye on us and will run out to check if one of us is in another room.
One thing I’ve always stood by is the belief that if a dog immediately decides not to like someone despite being “introduced” and never having any interaction with that person, there is something about the person that the dog recognizes as a threat in some way. I’ve seen it happen with even the most amiable dogs – someone triggers some sort of defense response in the dog and it simply will not warm up to that person. In all the cases I know of, the dog was right.
People who wouldn’t dream of giving parents advice on how to raise their children often think nothing of doling out plentiful bits of their (apparent) pet-rearing wisdom to cat and dog owners. I’m not sure how this double standard came to be, but it does exist because I’ve seen it play out more times than I can count.
From my own experience, I believe that most of the time the advice is given with good intentions. The advice givers truly think they know how to solve a pet owner’s problem or help them with raising their cat or dog. In reality, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
The challenge pet owners face is knowing when to listen to the advice and act upon it, and when to just tune it out. It can be hard for pet owners to know which advice is the “right” advice. Often, the advice comes from family members, which further complicates the matter. We may want to please or placate the advice giver, so we take their advice to heart even though our own intuition is telling us it’s not the right course of action.
I firmly believe that if every person listened to their intuition every time they were faced with a decision –not just with how to raise our pets but every life choice – we would never make a wrong decision, because our intuition is always right.
Human beings are always second guessing their intuition, which is something that animals never do. Animals trust their instincts because their survival depends upon it. Humans could really learn a lot by living as an animal for just one day. I imagine that we’d come back from the experience knowing a lot more about how to trust that gut feeling, and we’d know a lot more about when (and when not) to take advice on raising our pets.
One thing I know for certain is that you should never take someone’s advice just to humor them. This will never turn out good, and I offer my own recent experience as proof.
I moved myself and my three cats back to my home town so I could help out my elderly parents. They are not “pet people,” and although they don’t dislike animals, they’ve never shared their home with one. Consequently, they know next to nothing about how to raise pets or what to do in various circumstances.
Yet for some inexplicable reason, my mother thought she knew how to help my cats recover from the shock of being driven 1,000 miles to a strange new home. She told me they would hide in the closet less if I locked them in the garage and let them explore it. (I’m still laughing about that one). Next, she said they would be less fearful of the cars driving by if I forced them to spend time outdoors. But the “pièce de résistance” was when she said that if I made them walk around the yard on a leash and harness, they would enjoy it.
One day I decided to humor her, knowing full well this advice was pure hogwash (sorry Mom!). I had a made-for-cats leash and harness that I’d bought (and used) for my trip out, so I put it on Annabelle and carried my quivering cat outside. Almost as soon as I set Belle down on the ground in the garden, she bolted. I didn’t have a good grip on the leash, and as Belle scurried across the yard to the door, I zigged and zagged along behind her, desperately trying not to fall on my face. When we reached the patio Belle darted under a lawn chair and I had to let go of the leash to keep from crashing into the chair. My foot kicked over the plastic tub of Felidae cat food I’d brought out to the patio to use as a treat for Belle. Naturally the lid was off, and kibble spilled everywhere. Meanwhile, my mother was laughing hysterically.
I told her, “Stop laughing and pick up all this kibble!” I went in to remove the harness and leash from Belle so she wouldn’t hurt herself. When I came back, my mother hadn’t picked up a single piece of cat food because she was still too busy laughing. Apparently the sight of Belle dragging me across the yard and the subsequent “kibble mishap” was a lot funnier from her end, because every time she tells the story to someone (which is often) she goes into fits of laughter! Suffice it to say, that was the first and last time I tried to take Belle outside on a leash. It was also the last time I let my well-meaning mother give me advice on how to raise my cats.
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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.