Affection: Such a misunderstood word in the canine world.
For humans, affection can be very physical. We like to hug, hand hold, cuddle in bed, squeeze each other’s butts way too much- you name it, we try touch it. 😹
For dogs, affection is whatever YOUR dog wants in that moment. It most likely does not include being cuddled or baby talked. For most dogs it’s throwing their favorite toy, giving them a fun job to do, letting them lay near you, or even exercising together.
Overstimulated affection is high-pitched baby talking, heavy petting, and even squeezing/grabbing your dog. Overstimulation leads to many bad behaviors like jumping, demand barking, nipping/herding, and other dangerous responses. Affection should not overwhelm you or your dog at any point. Affection should always make the receiver FEEL GOOD, not anxious.
Now, if you have a companion breed, like a shitzu or chihuahua, that dog probably will crave being in your lap. If that’s something you want in a dog, we urge you to research companion breeds and pick one of those to be your fur-ever friend. If you have a working breed like a Pitbull, German Shepard, or even a Golden-Doodle, your dog needs to work for any type of affection. Without the work put in, these dogs simply shut down.
Affection should not overwhelm you or your dog at any point. Affection should always make the receiver FEEL GOOD, not anxious.
Another example we like to use are the four love languages. If you’ve ever heard of them, there are basically four different ways that make us feel truly loved as humans. Touch/quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, & words of affirmation. Some of us like different versions of affection, and that’s okay! If you think about what your dogs love language is, you may finally figure out how to truly give them the affection they’re craving.
Anxiety is on the rise between dogs and their owners. Giving a hard look at affection and how we give it can dramatically change our relationships with our dogs.
Dogslanding Play & Train tips on giving affection:
Ask your dogs if they want to be pet. How we do this is by simply placing our hand, palm-side up, a few inches from their nose. If they lick, nuzzle, or move into your hand, they WANT the physical affection! If they move their head away or do not engage with your hand, they’d rather be left alone.
Change your view on canine affection to really figuring out what YOUR dog wants in the current moment. You probably know its not the kind your giving, so switch it up! Instead of the normal couch cuddle, play their favorite game while you watch your favorite show. Get creative on how to fulfill them- that’s affection.
Dive into what affection means to you. What IS your love language? How do you feel respected in a relationship? Is it comparable to what you think your dogs is? Or maybe opposites truly do attract 😉Looking inward can help us navigate the canine mind when we are brutally honest with ourselves.