The rain may have subsided but the grass field was still soaked from the downpour last night. Not wanting to get his feet wet, Mr P decided to take his dog, Fluffie, for his usual morning walk under the void decks instead.
Fluffie has an endearing disposition and enjoys the affection people shower on him. He has been trained to walk unleashed by the side of Mr P, and even though he may explore a little further once in a while, he would always come back and sit by Mr P’s side when his name was called.
This morning, Mr P and Fluffie wandered to another block of flats and crossed paths with Madam Wong and her little dog, Sparky. Fluffie was keen to make contact with Sparky, but when he tried to get close, Sparky would start tugging at the leash, barking and baring his teeth, displaying every intention to sink his teeth into Fluffie. Mr P steered Fluffie away from the scene to avoid getting his dog hurt.
Seventy-year-old Madam Wong was about to bring Sparky home when she bumped into Mr P. Seeing how hostile Sparky was towards Fluffie, she tried with all her might to pull her charging dog towards the lift, away from the object of his agitation. As Mr P backed away, Madam Wong managed to pull Sparky into the lift with her. She quickly hit the button for the seventh floor but just as the lift doors were about the close, Sparky dashed out of the carriage towards Fluffie. Before she could react, the lift doors closed and she realised she was holding on to the other end of the leash that was still attached to Sparky’s collar.
Mr P was standing about four metres away from the lift when the tiny dog charged out. As the lift doors closed behind Sparky, he didn’t understand what was happening at that moment. He saw Sparky being lifted off the ground and was dangling from his neck against the lift door. The lift seemed to have stopped at the second floor. It took him about thirty seconds to realise that the lift wasn’t going to come down and that the dog would hang to death if he didn’t do something about it. Unleashing him, he placed Sparky on the ground before seeing the end of the leash disappear into the lift carriage.
This is not fiction. This is a true account of what happened this morning when my father took my dog for his morning walk.
Never have I felt more passionate about the importance of educating owners about training and understanding their dogs. Because before you learn how to control your dog, you must first understand dog psychology. And no one explains this better than Cesar Millan.
I was introduced to this person when I became a dog owner myself. You see, when I first adopted Fluffy, he seemed like the perfect dog. Everyone who sees him thinks he’s well-behaved and gentle. What they did not realise is that they are making this observation based on a comparison of Fluffy’s behaviour to other unstable dogs that they have seen, primarily hyperactive and aggressive types. This is not accurate. Fluffy had possessive issues when he was given bones/treats/dental chews. He would growl when you come close while he’s gnawing at it. Things got worse when he barked and nipped at the person who tried to take the treat away from him.
I began to read Cesar Millan’s book and understood that this was not natural behaviour and should not be left alone. Subsequently, I began to watch The Dog Whisperer, a series where Cesar shows the audience how he rehabilitates domestic pet dogs. In each episode, two dogs with behavioral problems will be featured and trust me, for dog owners, you will find similarities in those problems the dog has, in you own pet. It doesn’t matter the breed or size of the dog. It is not the reason for their behavioral problems. Humans are the cause of these problems, and Cesar is not afraid to tell dog owners that.
How he explains it makes a lot of sense. He believes that every dog should be calm submissive. Being calm submissive is not a repressed state nor does it mean the dogs are unhappy. It is seen as such by humans because we are using human emotions to rationalise dog psychology.
That is why I feel that The Dog Whisperer is a series that needs to be shown on both Channel 5 and Channel 8. There is no reason to ban certain breeds here (although I think some breeds should be banned based on the fact that they are just not suitable for our climate, but that will be another topic altogether) because ultimately, it’s the owners who should be held responsible for the dog’s behaviour.
What happened this morning could have easily been avoided if Sparky was a psychologically balanced dog to begin with.
Here’s a clip from one of Cesar’s episodes and I’m sure you can find more on Youtube.