Having a Social Dog

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a client. I thought we agreed that you would look after my dog for me he said. You know about dogs don’t you. That wasn’t exactly my understanding of what we discussed I thought to myself but demurred and mumbled something along the lines I can do that if you want.


A Social Dog.

My recollection was that the conversation some couple of years ago went something like I think I need to get a new dog. I’ve already had a few but I haven’t paid too much attention to them. I’m not sure what they eat, when they get walked, what their personality is like or who does actually feed, walk and train them.

But still. A new one was called for. And for a while, yes when he wasn’t about I’d look after the dog, making sure it was fed and watered. Making sure it grew and making sure it didn’t get into trouble by barking excessively, biting anyone or showing signs of its personality that might cause a problem down the road.

But there were no instructions on how to look after the dog, how often or at what time it should be fed. When we should let it out for a walk. Or what sort of personality we were hoping to develop. There was no plan for example on what to do if it caused a lot of shit and who would clean it up and how.

I suppose part of the problem was mine for I did not say to the client, yes I have a dog and as a responsible dog owner there are certain things you need to do and not do. For example if you make too much noise and create a lot of crap, the dog warden can some and put manners on you and your dog.

Or, if you feed it the wrong stuff it can have strange effects. If it becomes badly behaved and anti social it will attract negative comments and hostility. You might be happy just letting the dog go with the flow. It may be happy but wildly unpredictable, chasing every seagull, digging up every bone, eating other dogs’ dinners. It may like cats or not. It might even run off with the neighbours rabbit as has been know to happen. Dogs 1, Rabbits nil.

So here’s a few pointers if you do decide to get a dog.

1 Decide what dog you’re going to get. Is it going to be a big dog that needs a lot of discipline, rigorous training? Or is it going to be a small pampered sort of yoke that can be as high maintenance as you like but can still bark loud enough when it wants to.

2 Are you happy letting it off the leash now and then or will you keep a tight rein to stop it going off piste?

3 Is it going to conform to the same diet? Are you going to feed it at the same time every day or go with the flow, taking a bite here and there with no particular concern as to how it turns out?

4 When it does cause a load of crap and really messes up somewhere, how are you going to deal with that? Have you a clean up operation in place. Are you prepared to deal with a bit of crap now and then because you know that it goes with the territory?

5 If you let someone after look after it, are you going to make sure they know how to take care of it so it behaves exactly how you wish it to? And, if you do get someone else to look after it, make sure they have clear instructions.

It’s a bit like social media really.





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