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Is Your Dog Happy?

Many people tell me, ‘how can a dog be happy or unhappy? After all he is a mute animal and cannot express his happiness. Even if he does, how can you tell if the dog is happy?’

Wish these people had really observed their dog! Most affluent people keep a dog as a status symbol. They have no time for their dog, except an occasional pat on the forehead, once in a while. Then there are common people who slog a lot to make their two ends meet-they hardly have time to observe their dog. Therefore, they cannot tell if their dog is happy or unhappy. Very few dog owners really observe their dogs, spend time with their dogs, and play with them. Ask them and find out what they have to say.

Some say, ‘my dog laughs, yes I see him laughing,’ while others say, ‘my dog goes head over heels, when he is happy and he makes peculiar sounds which are somewhat between howling and crying.’ Even when we get a fit of laughter we seem to cry, with eyes filled with tears.

When a dog is happy? Before answering this let me answer, when a dog is unhappy? Dogs are pack animals. Therefore, dogs left alone by their busy owners are the unhappiest lot. They express it by chewing anything and everything, digging the garden or even your costly sofa. One can tell in just a glance about the unhappiness of the dog in such houses-scratched doors, chewed table and sofa legs all have lots of tales to share.

A lonely dog is a bored dog. He devises various means to overcome his boredom. This may include actions like scratching the door, till the nails split or dig the sofa, till nothing is left or chew the legs of sofa or table. Chewing is one of his favorite past times. Initially a dogs needs to chew to help him cutting his teeth. Gradually he begins to enjoy the act. Ultimately he finds it a great diversion from the monotony and helps him overcome the loneliness.

A dog cannot live alone for more than two hours, that too after he has been conditioned to do so. In other words, he has been trained to stay alone. Beyond two hours a well-trained dog may not scratch the door or damage things by chewing, but he will be anxiously and repeatedly going to the door to find out if the owners are back home! He may whimper gently, almost inaudibly with anxiety lit large on his face.

The moment such a dog hears the owners arrival, his joy is worth watching. He jumps from one place to another, tail wagging and finally sits patiently, waiting for the door to open. Thereafter, he jumps at the owner, as if asking, ‘where have you been and why did you take so long?’ Ultimately once the owner settles down the greatest pleasure a dog in his state of mind derives is by putting his chin on the owner’s lap wanting to be scratched or by putting his chin on the owner’s feet. After a while, he may once again jump to express his happiness, his mouth slightly gaping open, as if in a mock laughter!

Dogs don’t have a spoken language and unlike hyenas they cannot laugh either. They can express their happiness through their body language, wagging tail and gleam in their eyes. While expressing their happiness, they have the peculiar trait of rubbing their bodies against their owner’s. May be they want to transmit their odor on the owner to ensure ‘oneness’.

However, in this expression of happiness, some dogs either dribble or purposefully pee on the owner or near the owner. Often they get thrashed for this act. But we must not forget that in dog’s life urine has a very special place. The smell of urine keeps him glued to the pole, sniffing and sniffing for hours. For them it is not merely a biological necessity, but a social requirement. While making new friends we shake hands, often exchange visiting cards or cell numbers. Urination for a dog is equivalent of that too. When he peens near your feet, he tends to say, ‘here is my cell number, may I have yours!’ well you can’t give him your number the way he wants. But you can always condition your dog, not to pee and cause an embarrassment when you meet him after a long time.

Dogs in company of the family are generally happy and only a few shy ones develop dirty habits like peeing in excitement.

Thus moral of the story is, never leave your dog alone and he will always be happy. Unlike your child, he won’t be demanding at all. At best he may demand to be scratched on his forehead for a while. Show him your affection and he will shower you with his.

Image (c) gettyimages.com

More By  :  V. K. Joshi (Bijji)

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