Do You Know Your Dog’s Point Of View?

Every day I see someone pulling his dog away from an interesting smell, yelling at them for barking, or looming over a new dog they want to greet. I wonder what would happen if more people tried to see a dog’s point of view?

Honey the golden retriever stands in the snow.

If you want to know my point of view you need to come out in the snow and walk around in my fur for a while.

Seeing My Dog Honey’s Point Of View

I work hard to look at the world through Honey’s viewpoint.

But she doesn’t speak English. And I am kinda dense. Sometimes it takes me a while to see things her way.

I was a bit slow on the uptake over the Christmas holidays.

Honey the golden retriever loves to play in the snow.

You’re always a little slow on the uptake. If you weren’t you’d see how fun it is to play in the snow.

Every morning I get up early to write. Honey will eventually jump off the bed and follow me into the office. I shut the door to keep the light from disturbing my husband so he can sleep a little longer. And Honey usually curls up on the couch or under my desk.

But one particular morning, Honey would not relax. She whined and paced and would not settle down.

I ran a mental check list in my mind.

Did she need to go outside? Nope, my husband took her out when she woke up.

Was she hungry? Always. But it was hours from breakfast and she got a biscuit when she came back inside.

So what was going on?

Ohhhhh, I know what’s bugging Honey.

On a hunch, I opened the office door.

Honey curled up on the rug in the hall and started to doze—in the perfect place to keep track of me in the office, my husband who was reading downstairs, and my sister and her husband who were sleeping in the guest room.

Honey is not a guard dog. But she is a party girl. And she worried that someone in the house might be having fun without her. So she staked out a spot where she could follow the comings and goings of everyone in the house.

Once I was able to see things from Honey’s point of view, she settled right down.

Honey the golden retriever guards her ball in the snow.

Don’t think you’ll trick me into letting down my guard. This ball is mine. All mine.

I’m Not In The Bahamas In My Brain

There is snow on the ground and it is freaking cold in upstate New York.

At least once a day someone who knows of my plans to move aboard a sailboat will say to me, “I bet you’re already sitting in the sun in your mind. You probably can’t wait to get to the Caribbean.”

Well, no.

The last time you moved, did you spend every moment thinking about the wainscot in your new apartment or the huge garden you’d grow in your new back yard? Or instead, were you cleaning, packing, and dealing with the emotional fallout of a life event that sits near the top of the list of most stressful occasions?

Now imagine my point of view.

We’re making dozens of repairs to our 115 year old house. We’re selling big items so that someone trying to mentally fit their own belongings won’t find the house cramped. I’m creating a marketing plan to sell the place. And I’m mentally preparing myself for the crazy rude things people do when they’re thinking about buying your house. (I’ll never forget making breakfast when my last house was on the market and seeing someone’s face smooshed up against my living room window peering in.)

An oak seed starting stand.

Some potential buyers would take one look at my seed starting stand and wonder why it’s where they want to put their television.

I haven’t started thinking about buying the boat. I can’t wrap my head around trying to figure out if a rudder is attached properly or if the wood under the decks is soggy.

And then, once we find the boat and get it ready to go, we still have to face our greatest sailing challenge yet: getting the damn thing south after hurricane season without getting ourselves killed.

So no, thoughts of snorkeling turquoise waters, running on pristine beaches with Honey, and buying fruit from a tropical market aren’t even on my radar yet.

What The World Looks Like To A Dog

Dogs spend their days in the company of giants. On a walk, they see as many feet, knees, and ankles as a human toddler.

Their noses are capable of capturing and distinguishing thousands (millions?) of scents. And yet they can only explore smells they can reach at the end of a leash and then, only if their human walking partner gives them time to sniff.

Although it’s normal for a dog to chew, run, mate, poop, and bark we control when or if they do any of these things.

If we spend more time trying to see the world through a dog’s point of view, I wonder how much happier our dogs will be? And how much more will we build our bond?

Mike and Honey at Ithaca Falls.

You keep putting treats in my mouth and we’ll be bonded for life.

I didn’t think much about the point of view of my first dogs, Agatha and Christie. It was their loss. And my loss too.

But I’ve learned a lot over the years.

I greet dogs by crouching down instead of looming over them. And I avert my eyes instead of staring at them.

I stroke their chests instead of petting their heads.

I often let Honey choose the route for our walks. And she can sniff as long as she likes.

I still have a lot to learn about my dog’s point of view. But I can’t think of a place I’d rather live than in a dog’s world.

Does training make your dog happy?

Honey showing off her “paws up” trick.

Honey’s Birthday Week Surprise #3

I am so loving seeing your pictures of your pups joining Honey’s birthday week surprises on Something Wagging’s Facebook page. Thank you so much!

I’ve seen some awfully cute toys and noses so far. It’s almost as good as having everyone over for a party and playtime in the yard.

Today’s surprise is to teach Honey a new trick.

Honey loves learning new things. And she looks as excited when I get the clicker out as she does when someone comes to visit.

After thinking it over, I decided to train a skill that complements Honey’s retriever nature. I’ll teach her to pick up a toy and put it away.

I have a feeling she’ll really enjoy it.

Do your dogs have any cool tricks? If you have pictures, we’d love to see them. Hop on over to Facebook to share them now.

Your Turn: Can you think of a time when something clicked and you suddenly saw the world from your dog’s point of view?

 

 

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Comments

  1. How interesting. I know there are times when I can’t for the life of me figure out what the huskies want. They have been out, fed yada yada yada, then something sort of pops in your head, you try it, and boom! That was it!!! Strange, it’s almost as if they creep into our minds to tell us. hahahahaha!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  2. I learned a lot quite a while back when I read Patricia McConnell’s The Other End of the Leash.
    I try very hard to let my guys have plenty of sniff time, but it can be very frustrating when trying to combine exercise and dogwalks. There is NO exercise in a walk that stops at every mailbox (esp. in my tightly packed neighborhood). Off-leash walks are so great…I keep up a good pace and the dogs run to catch up :-)

    Similar to buying a used car and having a mechanic check it out first, won’t you have some help buying the right boat?

  3. I remember when I first got Blueberry she wouldn’t do her business unless we were at home. So the first time we were hiking and she veered off the trail, I told her “No” and made her walk on the trail again. She finally veered off and quickly pooped and that’s when I realized, when she veers off the trail, most of the time it isn’t because she’s smelled something really great – it’s because she has to do her business. She also gets plenty of sniff time – I allowed it from the first time I had her out because she was really cautious and not really into our hikes – so when she showed interest in what was going on around her, I wanted to encourage that so she would learn to enjoy our hikes. I’ve kind of created a monster though because now she thinks it is normal to stop and sniff everything. Great when we are hiking or at the park, not so great when we are in the pet supply store and it takes me 30 minutes to get one item. :)

    Can’t wait to hear about Honey’s progress on the new trick!

    I’m surprised you don’t think about warmer temps in the winter. I know in the summer here, I sometimes will pop a movie taking place during winter or read a book with a wintry setting.

  4. Torrey is the super sniffer, and wants to stop all the time. I am out for exercise, so we compromise. She would sniff for hours, but she also to likes to move.

  5. Alice,,,the dog here. My pal says that he considers our morning walk at the park,,,my walk,,,and he lets me do pretty much what I want to do. However,,,,unfortunately, we have a bunch of morons who also use our park who have no idea what a trash can is,,,,so he has to watch me closely to make sure just exactly what it is that is catching my attention.

  6. When we go nuts over a wabbit or squirrel in front of my window, Mom often comes to look with us and even howls along sometimes. I have to admit her howling often gets us to stop as it is really, and I mean really lame! We watch the critter together for a bit and then she goes out and chases it away just as we have taught her to do when we chase. We love watching her run across the front yard after a wabbit or squirrel and we are sure the neighbors do too 😉

  7. I suck at training my dogs, especially for tricks, but Delilah (all on her own) can sit like a trained bear. It’s the cutest/coolest thing. I’ll try and get a photo.

    I do try and see the world through my dog’s eyes, I don’t always succeed, but I do try. Honey is lucky to have you.

  8. Yes I’ve seen all those dog owners do the same – pulling and tugging their dogs away from whatever interesting smells they find. I let Laika smell whatever she wants as long as it’s not horse poop. We live on a dirt road and there’s quite a bit of it, I made the mistake of not paying much attention awhile back, and when I looked down at Laika she was rolling around in it – happy as can be.

  9. I really enjoyed this post. I know there are times when I am in a hurry and don’t give the boys as much sniffing time as they would like, or get frustrated at them barking outside when I should just take more time to consider their perspective. They don’t ask for much and its the least we can do to consider their point of view and why they may be doing what they are doing!

    Its funny, if we have two people settled in opposite sides of the house, they insist on settling in the middle as well!

  10. The hall is my favourite spot to settle in when everyone is busy because I can keep track of where everyone is.

  11. Hmm…something clicked when I though of it from my dog’s view? Chester was my first dog as an adult and when he was a puppy he was very, very naughty. He chewed up so much stuff and pottied on the rug. He was always under foot and annoying. Then one day I had an epiphany – he was a dog, not a cat. Maybe he needed me to “bend to his demands” and give him focused attention when I got home from work. Maybe he was doing all of that stuff to get my attention or because he was bored and lonely. I can’t say that when my attitude and actions changed all of the issues went away but there was a HUGE shift in his behavior and the kind of dog he was for me.

  12. I too have often wondered why people stop dogs from doing “dog things” I love to watch Harley – I could do it for hours. Dogs seem to have such a simplistic way of looking at things. I would love to be able to adopt that principle. Their approach towards life in general is clear to me, “don’t worry – be happy.” Wouldn’t that be great?

  13. I try to figure out my dogs point of view – but don’t always hit the mark. It is a lot of fun to see how their minds work in a lot of situations and try to figure out their thought process.

  14. Once Callie’s leash restrictions can be completely lifted outside — and the gates taken down inside and put away — I will once again be able to enjoy watching my girls sniff around the yard or bark at squirrels or stalk the birdies. Of course, that is, as long as it’s not cold and rainy. Then we come inside and watch movies with Sam, or play with the toys. Since Ducky and Shadow sometimes get into arguments over toys, I usually give them turns playing with me alone downstairs. Callie joins in the fun for a little while and then takes a nap. There are two toys that Ducky barks at. I’ll have to find my video and send it to you for Honey’s birthday. (Sorry, I’ve been way behind this week so haven’t shared yet.)

  15. My dog’s point of view is all about this: PEE ON ALL THINGS! Thankfully, only on walks. He doesn’t pee inside. Inside, his point of view is, “Why aren’t we on a walk?”

  16. I try to see the world through both my boys eyes. Mity is getting so demanding now he is getting older, he is not shy in coming forwards and annoyingly if he doesn’t get his own way he will bark, constantly, until you figure out what he wants!