This is part of our Saturday Editorial Series. Normally, we let the dogs do all the talking on our daily dog blog! Join rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake every weekday at 2TravelingDogs.com and over a million social media followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
I read a news article this week about a new movie theater that opened. Oh, this would not have been newsworthy on its own. But what was newsworthy? That this movie theater, along with others, was dog friendly! Yes, you can now bring your dog to numerous theaters! For some, this is a dream come true! For other dog parents, like myself, I cannot imagine this scenerio! Digby Pancake in a theater with popcorn, candy and snacks? Loud noises? Peanut Butter Brickle, with crowd anxiety? Yeah. No. This would not work for us. But I wondered as I read this article…how many dogs, like Brickle and Digby, who had no desire to be there, would now be taken here? Do all dogs really want to go everywhere that we go? Why do we expect that they want to?
When I first brought Brickle home from the shelter, I was super excited. He was the first dog in my life that actually liked to go places. He loved rides in the car, he loved walking thru the neighborhood. He wanted to go inside every house that we passed. He still does this!
At the time, my best friend, my grandfather, was in a nursing home. I thought it would be a great idea to bring him with me to the nursing home. He loved it and the patients loved him too. But when we adopted Digby Pancake, this was a different story.
Digby was nervous at car rides, often throwing up numerous times while driving. He eventually enjoyed car rides, but not with the same enthusiasm as Brickle. He hated going into buildings, he hated shiny floors, and he had no interest in any place but the woods and the forest. Now, I will say that he changed as he got older. To a point. But his personality never changed. Isn’t it like that with people? We think that we can change someone, but does anyone ever really change totally?
So you may wonder. How did we get the name 2 Traveling Dogs? Well, we started this blog in 2011 when we were moving cross country.
We wanted to show how to safely move with dogs. I was more than nervous. Would the boys like the trip? What would they do in the moving truck? Was this going to be torture for them? No way! They loved it. But they each loved different aspects. And life for them turned out no differently.
As they got older, they each had their own personalities. Their own likes and dislikes. By the time we embarked on our 48 states, 48 rescues tour in 2016, they loved to hike and go places. But different places. At first, I thought every dog would want to go everywhere. I mean…they were with me! Right? Wrong.
We had to make adjustments on the road. This meant not subjecting Brickle to large crowds or groups of children for the sake of a picture. This meant not taking Digby to the beach for long periods of time. This pretty much meant that we couldn’t go everywhere we wanted to go. This meant that we didn’t always get that perfect picture. And that was a learning experience for us. The pictures didn’t lie. If they didnt want to be there, it showed. And it made me realize that it was not fair to expect them to like everything that I did. Maybe they wanted to be at home napping while I ran errands. Maybe they were more comfortable not going to that festival that was dog friendly. Because it was too stressful for them. Maybe they didn’t want to go to that party with me because there were too many people. Maybe. Just maybe. They had an opinion. Was I recognizing it?
When we subject our dogs to situations that they are not comfortable with, problems can occur. If the situation is unavoidable, or for their safety, of course we have no choice. But for recreation purposes, perhaps before someone just takes their dog to the movie theater, a crowded restaurant, a fireworks display or other activity, please consider your dog’s individual limits and personality. Our dogs count on us. They can’t decide whether to go or not. But if we truly know them and are honest with ourselves and their limits, we will make the right decision. Just because not every dog is comfortable in every situation does not make them a “bad dog”. It makes them human. Yes, I said it. Human. When you see that they are capable of exhibiting their own likes and dislikes, respect that. And ask yourself…does my dog really want to go there?
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