If I sound judgemental – tough.
I have had too many people moaning lately about how their dog is being an inconvenience, and I am done being friendly about it.
I am not talking about if you are ill and can't help not being 100% for a few days. That is different.
I am not talking about if you have genuine struggles and are willing to seek help – that actually makes you a good human for your dog, and I would love to work with you to help you resolve this.
But, instead, I am talking of people who ignore their dog day in, day out.
Who expect them to lay quietly, sleep, eat, sleep and never so much as bark in between, being a good little robot while their human flits about doing whatever humans do.
Who forget that a little fluffy person has been looking forward to being with them all day.
The only attention these dogs get is when they are being told to go and lay down, be quiet, get down, hurry up, and so on. What fun is that in life?
Don't ignore your dog.
It's not complicated.
You wouldn't routinely ignore your child. Your dog has most of the same feelings and emotions as a two to a three-year-old child, and if you try ignoring one of those for too long, then you are going to find yourself regretting it reasonably quickly.
There is a saying. "Your dog is part of your life, but you are your dog's whole life". And you are. Imagine if the love of your life couldn't be bothered anymore, no matter what you say or do. Humans get very upset when it is done to them. What makes them think their dog feels any differently?
Too many people play with their new dog or puppy, the novelty wears off, and then they are bored of their dog. Or they have got new hours at work, or something in life has changed slightly, and now they have less time for their dog.
Their living, breathing, thinking, feeling dog.
Their dog, who spends all their time wishing their human still played with them, still got their tuggy toys out, still gave them belly rubs and took them to lovely places and rolled around on the floor playing kissy-face or whatever they used to enjoy doing.
And then these same people wonder why their dogs start to display "problem" behaviours when they are bored.
And yes – I get that you have been to work and you are tired. That the kids played up, and it's been a long day. Guess what? It's been a long day for your dog, too, sitting around bored and missing you… and 15 minutes of your time spent playing, having fun and showing them you care might do you both some good.
You made a commitment when you got your dog to look after them, love them and be their human. Just because you have had a shit day or your situation has changed slightly does not mean that you should emotionally neglect your dog.
And quite frankly, some enrichment, a walk or even just 20 mins playing with the ball down the garden will more than likely mean they are happy enough to let you have a rest afterwards anyway. So why not spend that time curled up on the sofa with them instead of telling them to get down?
After all – you are their human, and any time spent with you brings them great joy.
Dogs are for life, not just for Christmas and Lockdowns.