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What Does It Mean to Let Your Dog Be a Dog?

As humans In relationship with dogs we often think about our own needs rather than those of our canine companions. We want them to sit, we want them to be calm, we want them to not bark. We want them to snuggle when we want to snuggle, and to give us space when we need It. But dogs rely on us humans for everything from food, water, and shelter to where and when they can use the bathroom. One of the most important things we can do as pet parents is to learn to put our wants and needs aside and just let our dogs be dogs sometimes. This doesn't mean your pup doesn't need to learn behaviors and boundaries but a life without agency and choice is not good for anyone - dogs included.

Allowing a dog to be themselves involves letting them exhibit their natural instincts, behaviors, and personality, while also giving them the freedom to make choices. Each dog is a unique individual with specific traits and behaviors ingrained in their DNA, and our acceptance of these characteristics is crucial for their happiness and well-being.

Letting your dog be a dog means understanding and respecting their needs. Dogs are naturally active and curious creatures, so it's essential to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. This can be through activities like walks, playtime, socialization, agility training, sniff work, or even puzzle toys that challenge their problem solving skills. If you can provide your dog opportunities to let them do what they were born to do, this is the best way to allow them to align with their true nature.

It also means giving your pup license to explore their environment when It's safe to do so. Dogs love to sniff, investigate, and leave "pee mail" for their fellow canine friends. Allowing them to do this not only fulfills their natural instincts but also provides valuable mental stimulation for them. Next time you are out for a walk, let your pup follow their nose and see where they take you!

Sometimes, letting your dog be a dog means accepting behaviors that might not be our favorites. Dogs like to chew, bark, and dig - it's part of who they are. Rather than scolding or punishing them for these behaviors, we can redirect them to more appropriate outlets. Provide them with chew toys, teach them where they're allowed to dig (like a designated digging area), and help them understand when it's appropriate to bark. It's all about finding a happy balance.

So, go ahead. When time and space allow let your pup be their adorable, tail-wagging, zoomie-loving self - they'll love you even more for it!


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