We sat waiting for our flight; a flight that should have got us home early afternoon. But there we sat at 4:00pm hoping to get home. My husband and spent a wonderful five days in Cabo San Lucas with great friends and were now headed home.
As we sat waiting for our flight I spotted a little cutie sitting on a chair by it's guardian. A small and demure Dachshund that I had noticed earlier in the airport. Her guardian was eating and she (the little dachshund) glanced up to see the food. Her owner quickly smacked her in the face. Not hard but negative enough to create a response from the little dog. She quickly turned her head, ears back and head down.
I was appalled by this of course. Honestly, the dog was not allowed to even look her way when she was eating? As I watched the little dog turned her head ever so slightly and used mostly her eyes to sneak a peak. She again got a smack in the face along with a verbal reprimand. The dog was crushed; she put her head down and shutdown. My heart was breaking for the little dog.
First off, I think it is amazing when our dog simply look at us when we are eating. Many dogs could actually take our food from us but they don't. In the wild a wolf who is lower in status within the pack will look. They will then be told with a look from the alpha that they are not allowed to have whatever it is that they are eating. A glance is all about communication. Elsa always watches me eat; it is her way to know what she will and will not be allowed to have.
The other huge issue that I had with this (aside from hitting her dog) was that the dog was then afraid to look at her owner. There she was in a loud and crowded airport in Cabo; where a big stranger sat beside her, unable to get the reassurance she needed from her owner. She was dying to look up and connect with her owner but was afraid to do so.
I wanted to run over and tell her what a good girl she was, because she was. I wanted to lecture the woman about what she was doing; but realized that the middle of an airport in Mexico was probably not the place to do it. She was indeed a "mean Mom" and probably would not be changing her ways because of what I would say to her.
There is often so much fallout behavior from one action from us to our dogs. Just yesterday as my husband and I sat enjoying lunch together in Huntington Beach we saw a beautiful young Labrador with his guardian. Just moments after sitting down I witnessed the man grab his dogs lip and pull him into him to reprimand him. Then he grabbed the skin on his back and pushed him into a sit; all because the dog was watching him eat.
The whole idea behind "begging" has gotten out of control on our part. Yes, a dog trying to take your food is pretty annoying and should most definitely be stopped. But, a dog sitting quietly watching us eat is pretty amazing and a very natural response from our dogs.
Let's look at our dogs as dogs and give them credit where credit is do. If your dog needs training, train positively. We have dogs because we love them; let's not treat them poorly. You don't treat something you love with disrespect.