Sue (my better half) woke me yesterday morning with the immortal words ‘Ziggy’s had an accident.’ This actually meant she had messed all over the lounge, kitchen, hall and bathroom. There were significant poo deposits and pools of drool where she had become distressed by her ‘accident.’
The first thing to note is the drool. This is an indicator of stress – it is likely that Ziggy had been ‘punished’ for such accidents in the past. Dogs don’t easily forget this. So we first made sure she was OK, we did not tell her off or, indeed, indicate we were annoyed in any way. Ziggy settled down on my bed, while Sue and I set about cleaning up. Fortunately, we have a good carpet cleaner – did the job.
Why were we not upset and angry with our dog? Simple. Dogs do not do things out of malice or forethought. It is, simply, wrong to get angry and punish our dogs when these ‘accidents’ happen. For instance, if I suddenly became ill and vomited on the carpet, Sue would not set about berating me – she would help. The same applies to our dogs.
That was the start of our sh*tty day. So we go to the woods to take Ziggy for a walk. Nearing the end of the walk Ziggy spies something of great interest to her and most dogs, probably. She has a good roll and comes back to us, liberally covered with very wet horse poo. Nice! Again, did we get angry – nope. She is simply, being a dog (part of the deal is for humans to deal with it). Interestingly, we are not sure why dogs roll in other animals waste. It is likely to be about spreading their own scent.
Off we go back home. On the way, a farmer spreads a little manure on our car as we pass. As I said a sh*tty day. The aroma coming from Ziggy stings the eyes! When we get home, it’s into the garden to give Ziggy a good shampoo. Happy she is now smelling better for humans we continue about our day.
The point here is that dogs will do things that can mess up our day. They do not do things to deliberately upset us. They do things because they ARE DOGS. We should never punish them for making ‘mistakes,’ at least, in our eyes.