"Why the long face, Mr. Wilson?"
"I don't know, Dad, I've been feeling a little dis-connect between us lately."
"Don't worry about that, old pal. Sometimes people who love each other need a little space, that's all."
"But why can't I be with you every second of every day?"
"Because what kind of a life would that be? There's birds to chase, cats to torture and mailmen to bark at, and Mom to love and all sorts of other things to do."
"But I want to be with you."
"You're always on my mind little buddy, I just can't take you with me every where I go."
"Well, it's not fair!"
"Maybe not, but it's for the best, you'll see."
I'd like nothing more than to keep Mr. Wilson all to myself, and let him follow me around when I'm home, and sit by the window waiting when I'm gone. Having another creature absolutely committed to me is a big boost to my ego, makes me feel like the king of my castle. But its no way for a dog to live. We all can train our dog to sit, and stay, and maybe even roll over and play dead. We can teach them to come, and fetch and not pull on the leash. But how many of us are willing to do the work needed to teach our companions the importance of "alone time," and how to thrive away from us.
Psychological training is every bit as important to raising a well adjusted dog as behavioral training. Living with anxiety is a terrible sentence to impose on a poor little critter who doesn't have access to medications or therapy. Teaching our pets by modifying our own behavior is the best way to get the message to them that we are not the center of their universe. Doing so without handing control back to the dog is tricky, but with time and patience obtainable.
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