Female German Shepherd DogSo you want your dog to be your ‘best friend’?  Well, we really want to be that for you, but it’s a two-way street! We canines can’t just give and give and give. We need you to be our best friend, too! So let me tell you how you can get to best friend status in the doggie world.

Spend active time with us! Really it’s that simple. There are other things you can do to be start with this.  It sounds easy, but it seems to be a colossal undertaking for you people!

I don’t mean AMBIENT time while you surf the net/talk on the phone or walking/running around the block at the same time.  I mean spending time WITH your dog, watching them, learning about them, getting to know them, being together as a team. Do things your dog likes to do (here’s a hint: take your cue from your dog, sure some dogs will chase a ball mindlessly for hours, but another dog would like you to massage them… and not with one hand while you flip the remote, but massage them while you are looking at them, breathing with then, being with them, still another dog might like the brainy work of learning new things, and assisting you like a service dog might.  You have to figure out what your dog likes to do. We try to show you, but you have to pay attention.) The more you understand why we do what we doing the deeper our relationship will be with you.

And here’s something funny… for a verbal species you humans really don’t understand your own language very well!  The word obedience comes from the Latin oboedire and audire from Indo-European roots, meaning to “hearken to”, “to listen.” Owners should keep in mind that the relationship with their dog is not so much about telling the dog to do something and having the dog comply (we hate that!), it is a two-way street where both parties should listen to each other appreciating their differences as complementary species in each other’s lives (yeah!).  We all must understand that both dog and human bring a unique perspective to the relationship. People are quick to anthropomorphize their dog’s actions/feelings, that is, they try to assign human feelings to a non-human species, but they should really try to understand what their dog is feeling, or why they are doing what they do, from our (the dogs’) perspective.

When you “seek first to understand, and then to be understood” (Stephen Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People) is when you will achieve best friend status with your canine companion, and, our life will be richer for it.

Really. Woof.