Dogs don’t spend too much time thinking about their feelings; they act and react. Instincts guide their behaviors; so a hungry dog will focus on finding food – even if that means trying to get the cookie you have in your hand or nosing their way into your lunchbox. Dogs live in the moment and are focused on what is happening right now (the present)! With the right pack leader, they get exercise, they know the rules they have to obey, they get affection and they are happy and grateful; they appreciate their owners! We can focus on the moment as well. Let’s pause, take a take a deep breath and take a moment to think about what we are feeling. What are we grateful for? What are some of the things we appreciate?
Children will learn that dogs tend to focus on the present and react based on instinct and impulse. Children will also learn that it can be important for people to focus on the present as well. In addition to gaining insight regarding dog behavior, children will learn to consider their own instincts and learned behaviors. In the DOG DIALOG All About Instincts Lesson, we showed that dogs don’t learn about the world around them the same way people do. Likewise, dogs do not think and feel the same way people do. Sometimes people may project their feelings onto dogs, therefore causing them to be excited, fearful or anxious. “Dogs are not people. What makes them happy isn’t necessarily what makes us happy. What dogs desire is simple: regular exercise, a stable pack leader, and affection that is properly earned.”*
Vocabulary Words to Highlight:
React, Present, Grateful, Appreciate
* National Geographic Channel. (2010). Important tips for dog lovers. National Geographic Channel Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.