I will admit that I occasionally found parodies of the "justgirlythings..." meme (and the related "thingsboysdowelove" meme, both popular a few years ago) to be funny - especially those that cleverly highlighted how variable, hard-working, strong, and generally laudable women actually are.  As a dog trainer, farmer, and archaeologist, I occupy an alternate reality than the usual subjects of those photos.

A few days ago, I saw a squabble brewing on a walk with a crew of my Alaskan husky sled dogs.  The dogs came bounding over when I called them (due in no small part to a pocket full of home-baked dog treats, used to reinforce recalls).  When I explored to see what had caused the ruffled feathers, I found - unsurprisingly to most dog owners - something frozen and disgusting.

The head pugilist of the crew was LuLu, and a more stately, friendly, social, and beautiful dog you simply could not find.  "Just doggy things," I thought to myself.

As a dog trainer, the behaviours that cause my students and clients the most frustration in their dogs are really "Just doggy things."  Natural behaviour that doesn't quite work in our human world.  This doesn't mean we cannot or should not change the dog's behaviour - no one wants a dog jumping up on a frail neighbour, and no one wants a dog to bark loudly for twelve full minutes before supper.  Training is good for our dogs' brains and keeps the peace in our houses.

But sometimes, celebrating the very nature of our dogs, in their wonderful, laughable dogginess, helps to remind us that these are only behaviour "problems" to us. 

Kristi BensonComment