It’s that time of the year again when kids present their dads with neckties or power tools, and greeting cards made by hand or carefully selected from the store.
Father’s Day is a much more recent thing than Mother’s Day, and sometimes seems like it was added to the calendar as an afterthought, since it’s often lumped in with graduation and June’s traditional role as wedding month.
As humans, we celebrate both of our parents even if Mother’s Day is a bit more sentimental and fancy. But do you have any idea how dogs celebrate Father’s Day?
The answer is: They don’t, and this is another good reminder of how dogs and humans are different. In the canine world, “absentee father” would not be an insult, but a simple fact. Even in situations where mother, father, and the litter are kept together, the adult male dog has little interest in and takes no role as caregiver for any of the puppies.
In fact, if he were to get too close to them during birth or before they moved out of the den, he’d probably get a face full of teeth courtesy of the mother. Dogs do not bond with each other based on familial relationships, and that has nothing to do with humans adopting off the puppies as soon as they’re old enough to be separated from their mother.
A dog has no concept of parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, or so on. A dog knows “my” and, more importantly, “my place in it.” That pack is not limited to dogs, of course. We’ve all seen examples of dogs being raised and bonding with a range of other animals. Remember , the elephant and dog who were fast friends? And did you know that live together at the San Diego Zoo?
Of course, dogs very readily adapt to being part of human families, and they have for tens of thousands of years, but we still have to resist the temptation to humanize their behavior and see it in terms of our psychology. The vast majority of canine misbehaviors happen when we try to treat them as human children, rather than as animal,, species, and then name.
Do dogs feel love in the same emotional or romantic sense that humans do? Probably not. But what they do feel for us when we are stable, calm and assertive Pack Leaders is connection and trust. When both of those are there, our dogs will enjoy just being in the moment with us, and will reward us with confidence and calm, submissive energy as they follow our lead.
Beyond that, a well-balanced dog will also have a natural curiosity about and interest in other humans and dogs, whether those dogs are part of their litter or pack or not. It is when we do not inspire a dog’s confidence and trust that it will become anxious, confused, fearful or. Why? Because its role in the pack is not well-defined.
An uncertain dog will react to a new stimulus in one of three ways: fight, flight, or avoidance. It will attack, run away, or try to ignore whatever unusual thing has come into its environment, whether that’s another dog, a person, a sudden noise, or a squirrel. Without clear guidelines on how a dog is expected to behave, it will test its limits until it gets some idea on the rules.
However or whether you’re celebrating Father’s Day today, we as humans can consider ourselves lucky because almost all of us grow up with one or more parental figures that took care of us and taught us the ropes until we were well past adolescence.
Dogs do not give each other the same treatment. A mother dog will show her pups the basic rules, but as soon as they’re able to survive on their own, she pushes them out of the nest into the pack, and that’s that. Dogs are lucky in that we humans will willingly adopt them and become their parental figures, or Pack Leaders. At the same time, though, we have to remember that our dogs do not have the same emotions and psychology that we do.
The best way to be a “parent” to your dog is to be a calm, assertive Pack Leader,their needs with Exercise, Discipline, and Affection, in that order, and give them Rules, Boundaries and Limitations. This is probably also the best way to be a parent to your human children, but don’t forget the big difference. Most human children will grow up to become adults. Your canine pack is dependent on you for life.
The best thing you can do for them is to let your dogs be dogs. They’ll be calmer and happier for it, and so will you — and they’ll thank you for it every day in their own way.
Happy Father’s Day, and stay calm and assertive!