Dog Equality
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Puppies Are Wonderful Sidekicks Training and Behavior Modification

Dog Equality

Last night I was at a new clients house for a starting appointment.  This family has 3 dogs and as I was watching them interact with their dogs I was struck by how equally they treat their dogs.  It made me reflect back on my own two dogs.
Kayla was my first dog that I had after moving out of my parents house.  We've always had a close bond, and she is one of the best sidekicks I could ever hope for.  She helps me train dogs, she keeps me company, she is one of the sweetest dogs one could hope to spend their time with, and she makes me feel safe whenever I'm with her.  She seems to love everyone, and loves to be loved on by everyone.  She likes to be around my son, but likes him better at a distance.  She's up for whatever I want to do, when I want to do it.  If I'm going for a walk she's right there, waiting with great enthusiasm; if it's a training appointment, she's pumped to jump up in the car and ride along.  I love spending my time with her.
Lucy is on the left, Kayla is on the right
Lucy is also very sweet but in a much different way.  She likes to be around us, but doesn't need to be in the room with us.  Right now I'm in my living room with my son and Kayla; where's Lucy?  She's still in the bedroom sleeping.  She didn't feel the need to join us when we got up this morning.  She's far more independent, and even as a puppy when I would train with her, she could care less if her behaviors made me happy; she wanted to make sure she was getting something out of it.  She's also AMAZING with my son.  He loves on her all the time, and she just sits there enjoying all of it.  She gets the look sometimes like she's rather find a way out of it, but even then she sits with him patiently while he drives his speed boat across her back.
As much as I love Lucy, Kayla remains a favorite.  She's my dog and Lucy is my husbands dog.  He comes home from work and wants her there to throw the ball for.  Lucy is even more attached to my son than to me, and I'm pretty sure it's not just because he drops crumbs for her from time to time.  After watching the family I worked with last night, as I was driving home I had to think...."do I treat my dogs as equally as they do?"  I hope I do, but in reality...I think I fall a little short on that.  Don't get me wrong, Lucy doesn't get shorted on attention. She gets far more attention from my husband and son than Kayla gets.  Kayla gets to ride along with me at least once for every client, and Lucy only occasionally rides along.  They don't show resentment that the other one is getting different attention from us; there are no jealously issues.
Even when I think about all the homes I've worked in with multiple dogs.  Most of them are like my house; people have their favorite sidekick and like to stick with that one.  Usually toward the end of training, I'll ask the owners to switch up the dogs, and its pretty amusing how uncomfortable everyone is until they get their sidekick back.  I wouldn't say most of this is intentional, but more a natural course of action for most houses.  I'm not sure that most are even aware of it.  I know I wasn't completely aware of it until I reflected back on it last night.
Do you have a favorite in your house?
Do you treat your dogs equally?

4 Comments to Dog Equality:

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Kim Hoppe on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 9:00 PM
Nice story of reflection.
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Amber on Thursday, September 22, 2011 4:33 PM
thanks Kim! Glad you enjoyed it. Does Louis have a favorite?? Or does he treat you and Paul equally?

Amy on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:36 PM
I used to think our female dog preferred my husband but I when I was gone for 1 week and she was completely affected by my absence. He was gone for 4 months and she was okay with that. He still thinks she prefers him but I know the truth - she depends on me for so many things but daddy is more fun and babies her. Our other dog is borderline obsessed with me. I like him a lot - he's absolutely my dog. He makes me crazy sometimes with his obsessive devotion but overall he's a good boy. Our female dog is the family favorite. She is good with our toddler, sweet and we've had her since she was a tiny pup. Sometimes I feel bad for the other dog but I don't think he minds - he's happy sharing space with us. Beyond that we try to be careful what kinds, the quantity and the timing of attention they get per training. We aren't perfect but overall I think we are all happy with our quirky little family.
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Amber on Thursday, September 22, 2011 4:37 PM
Amy, I love your quirky little family. You guys keep me laughing. I think a lot of people are looking for the "obsessive devotion" in their dogs. They make better sidekicks when they're devoted, but with less obsession. Thanks for sharing!!

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