Bridging Communication Divides with Dogs
I was the kid who scrambled around the grass on all fours, pretending to be a dog. (A neighbour complained if I barked too early on Sundays.) I was the kid who wanted to pat dogs, got bitten more than once but persevered. (I knew little about dog body language.) I wanted a happy dog smile in my life, at my side.
My family has a dog, and we adore him. We also adored the dog we had before him. Having adopted dogs as adults, I’d love to get a puppy one day and start from square one, but I won’t ever get a Christmas puppy. As Jon Katz says, “The dogs that are readily available at Christmas are the kind you probably don’t want.”
Our puppy will be a Puppy Culture reared pup, because even before a family’s “square one” when the puppy comes home at 8-12 weeks of age, really big things have happened in a pup’s life.
I discovered Puppy Culture through Patricia McConnell’s blog. Puppy Culture is a rearing protocol developed by trainer and breeder Jane Killion to provide puppies with optimum skills for life in a human world. Humans may have been hanging out with dogs for thousands of years, but we differ from dogs in behaviour and communication. Holding onto a bone is natural behaviour in a dog’s world, but will often end up in punishment for the dog that points this out to humans. Puppy Culture addresses this and much more.
Aggression is often fear in disguise, and Puppy Culture’s enriched environment shapes a puppy’s development so they are more likely to be confident. You can’t expose a puppy to everything in its early life, but you can help them develop a positive response to new sights and experiences so that they take them in stride. Forget the “dog meets umbrella and freaks out” memes; a Puppy Culture dog could meet its first umbrella with ease.
My leaning to a Puppy Culture reared pup is based on research, what I’ve learned from watching the Puppy Culture DVD series (roly poly bull terrier pups + education= bliss), and being part of the Puppy Culture Facebook discussion page for over a year and a half. I see that the PC breeders care deeply about the canine citizens they’re bringing into the world. They make sure the pups are connected to people and eager to learn. Puppy Culture protocol takes time and commitment to each individual, and the passion and consideration these breeders have for their dogs is inspiring. This is valuable communication that benefits the lives of dogs and their humans.
From the soapbox
Our relationships with dogs are based on communication; getting the best dog relies on communication with people too. If you’re in the market for a puppy, ensure you’re working with an ethical breeder. If you go the rescue route (there are some rescue organizations using Puppy Culture too), avoid “McRescue” organizations. Always ask about the puppy’s life and rearing, and their socialization week by week. Your dog’s life and happiness depends on it.
Note: I’m not a certified dog trainer, just passionate about the best outcomes for dogs. If your dog needs support beyond your own skill level, please choose a certified trainer.
I’m not getting paid for this rave about Puppy Culture.
Photo: Miller contemplates the sky