The Dogs’ Best Friend?
By David A. Dailey with Fulla Bull T. Teddy Iz Rumpkin
Table of Contents for Lessons Learned From Dogs
Table of Contents from the humorous book “Lessons Learned From Dogs”
Chapter One -Stay Alert, Yet Relaxed
Chapter Two -Insomnia? Fall Asleep Anywhere
Chapter Three -Loyalty
Chapter Four -Fun Times and Play
Chapter Five -Eating and Drinking
Chapter Six -City Dogs
Chapter Seven -Country Dogs
Chapter Eight -Mischief and Wisdom
Chapter Nine -The Finale
Chapter 1 – “Stay Alert, Yet Relaxed”
“Dogs are mans’ best friend, “ said an anonymous sage observer many years ago.
Dogs use all their senses, sometimes in mysterious and amazing ways, which human beings are unable to comprehend. Nonetheless we appreciate and benefit from them.
Look, listen, and watch your dog because you will learn some valuable lessons. This book includes many things I and others have learned with the help of our dogs about life.
Dogs live in the moment. Humans are far more preoccupied remembering things that have happened in the past or pondering the future.
Another natural difference is that humans use the hearing sense first and then secondly by sight to react to stimuli, learn about the immediate environment, and communicate.
One needs to recognize that dogs cannot be treated as humans because they are simply different animals. Unlike people, affectionate love is not what makes the dog happy. A responsible and wise master will focus on satisfying the dog’s instincts in order to facilitate the happiness of his pet. Dogs are pack animals by nature. Domesticated dogs need closeness, touching, and petting to be content and happy.
Do not forget to live in the present. It is really important for dogs, too.
Our contributors and I have learned many lessons from our dogs. In many situations, dogs have a better idea of how to behave in the present and the best approach toward life.
Instinctually, dogs rely on their senses of smell, sight, hearing, and universal sense.
Humans don’t have this universal sense ability that “feels” the energy and emotions of other living beings around where they are.
Dogs have evolved very keen senses that are used to make decisions. It starts with the interpretation of the world via the sense of smell.
Was it not Will Rogers that said, “I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.”
Although the human brain may be ten times bigger, key olfactory areas in dog brains are 40 times larger than mans’. Research has shown that humans have only about five million scent glands compared to a dog’s 125 to 300 million. This means that a dog’s sense of smell is anywhere from one thousand to ten million times more sensitive.
In many circumstances a dog knows more about what is going on than people.
When whiskers and a wet nose are added to these capabilities a dog’s sense is amazing. The mucous on a dog’s nose aids their smell by capturing scent particles.
People can recognize general smells but dogs are capable of detecting individual components or “ingredients” of the odor. With their nose, dogs not only respire but sniff with short breaths that save some scent that does not get exhaled. So dogs do not just register a smell, they obtain an entire story about what they sniff.
It is thought when an overheated dog actively pants that their olfactory sense is reduced because approximately 40% of the air is used to cool themselves.
When tired or overheated, rest.
The senses will be more effective when the body is not stressed out.
Humorist Dave Barry has written, “Dogs need to sniff the ground; it’s how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued in the next yard.”
Even if something stinks, at least it has a strong odor attracting interest and attention that dogs are likely to understand.
Dogs will readily take notice of every movement in their range of vision. Objects in motion – balls, Frisbees, birds, cars – will grab their attention first. A dog is more likely to overlook something that is odorless, quiet and still.
You can get someone’s attention if you get the dog to look you in the eyes.
Don’t ever expect a dog to read the fine print. Their visual acuity averages 20/75.
Their visual range exceeds 180-degree human peripheral vision by 70-degrees.
During dusk and dawn hours, dogs can distinguish things much better than humans. Although dogs do not see all wavelengths of color and light, they are not color-blind. Orange and greens are seen as different shades of yellow. Red appears as black or gray. So if your dog likes the color of grass, you could buy an orange toy.
A light-reflecting layer of tapetum lucidum located behind the eye retina gives dogs the ability to see well in dim light conditions.
If your dog likes to stare at television he sees something that resembles a strobe light. A dog’s flicker resolution ability is about 75 hertz while a person’s is 55-60.
If a dog watches too much TV, he may be going crazy or blind.
Even non-dog owners know that canines readily react to very loud, annoying and high- pitched sounds. Dogs detect a range of sounds from 67 to 45,000 hertz compared to the human’s 64 to 23,000 hertz. A dog can hear something 250 yards away whereas people are unlikely to hear noise beyond 25 yards.
Typically, dogs with perked-up ears hear better than those with a floppy pair. There are 18 muscles that allow dogs to move their ears in order to focus in the direction of the sound source.
Most humans can hardly hear compared to a dog.
Maybe I should listen harder?
The universal sense is unique. Dogs amazingly pick up on the energy and emotions of humans. They can tell if someone is hyperactive, nervous, worried, anxious, scared, upset, sad, joyful or calm. One might be crafty to hide emotions from other people but it is almost impossible for dogs not to detect the emotional attributes.
You will be able to communicate successfully with any dog when you use your body language, energy, and voice calmly and in a firm manner.
Remember that instinctually dogs use their sense of energy to determine who is the leader of the pack – and should be let known to the master and friends. Their intuition gives them the ability to sense moods from what is heard, smelled and felt.
The environment offers many clues based on the dog’s sensory information.
Even the tone of the human voice means a lot to dogs. They are so alert and quick.
Maybe you think you can run from one but you cannot hide from a dog.
A well-trained and cared for dog is very compliant and loyal to his master. Although wary and cautious of strangers, the dog tends to find the best in people.
“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person,” Andrew A. Rooney has stated on CBS 60 Minutes.
Many people say that they wish they could figure out what their dog is thinking. Reading body language is one thing but to accurately read a dog’s mind would be unreal. On the other hand, maybe it is best that humans not know what the dog is really thinking.
John Steinbeck had a saying, “I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”
Or as humorist Dave Barry has written, “You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, “My God, you’re RIGHT! I NEVER would’ve thought of that!”
Dogs have a limited vocabulary of sounds. There are about ten to be exact. Meanwhile cats can make over 100 different “words” to verbally communicate. Many cues utilize the position of the ears. So one should learn up to 100 facial expressions.
Howling, whining, growling, whimpering, and barking are the dog’s natural means of verbal communication.
These sounds signify an expression of some need, a display of dominance, to get attention, or display territorial protection.
Different breeds and dogs do not sound the same. One may hear a “woof”, “ark”, “ruff”, “au au”, “bow-wow”, or “yip”.
Barking is the communication means that basically is triggered by a state of excitement. A bark varies little in tone and pitch with a series of short, sharp sounds.
Detecting a threat or an unknown sound, dogs typically bark as deep as possible and growl in order to make themselves sound big and powerful.
Beagles, terriers, and collies are known for the high tendency to bark. Basenjis, bulldogs, and Labrador Retrievers are the quietest.
Not all breeds are suited to be guard dogs.
There are some very good reasons to have a dog. Consider the possibilities. Throughout the country, excellent pet breeders can be found. All one has to do is check the phone book for lists and lists of dog breeders. Companionship, joy and protection are the most important objectives when considering living with one.
Louis Sabin once said, “No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.”
With loyalty comes a level of companionship that is unmatchable. A good dog that has been properly trained will try to do most anything with its owner. Some dogs are happy to just go along for the ride, while others prefer to run and be active alpha dog with their owners nearby.
Few creatures on earth are as loyal as a good dog. These animals will give their undying affection to their owner for very little in return. Something good to eat, verbal praise, and a dog pat or scratches is a minimal effort that builds a lifetime bond.
Don’t worry, be happy.
Even the smallest of dogs will go out of their way to protect their owners. Providing an early warning systems for company, unwanted or not, and even a little brute force on occasion, dogs can be wonderful for ensuring a safe home. In fact, in some cases a dog’s bark is more successful at warding off burglars than an alarm system.
A dog’s keen alertness comes into play when its master is threatened. This is not only true of guard dogs.
Joy injected into a dog owner’s life is incredible. Imagine walking in the front door and being joyfully greeted with a wagging tail, happy face, and enjoyable sounds. Most canines will love unconditionally no matter what owners do or say. They are very quick to forgive. It does not matter how rich or how poor a person is. Dogs are motivated to please their owners and getting rewarded.
If humans were as easy to get along with, wouldn’t the world be a much nicer place?
Dog ownership isn’t for everyone. It does take commitment and a sense of responsibility, but the fact is for those who have the time and dedication to handle this, the rewards can be amazing.
Dogs do not possess human reasoning skills but this lack may work to their advantage. The judgment of the dog is based upon objective analytical data and not some subjective rationalization or mental misconceptions.
Dogs and other good friends will help one stay both alert and relaxed.
Chapter 2 – “Insomnia? Fall Asleep Anywhere”
Dogs can fall asleep almost anywhere. They teach us a lot about relaxation.
How many people do you know that have taken their dog to the veterinarian for insomnia? Really!
Charles Dickens coined the line, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” You might not like their response and the consequences if you disturb their nap. Instinctually, they awake more easily and frequently than humans. You never can tell if a sleeping animal is naturally aggressive or just might get upset for interrupting their dream.
Dogs can be particular about where they sleep. They choose areas that are dry and give a feeling of security. Lying in the sun or another warm spot adds to the quick onset of rest. You will often see one napping in his master’s favorite chair, too.
Historically, dogs have slept in dens. Behavior like pawing the floor or circling before lying down is instinctual. The dog is just creating a den-like depression to sleep in.
On the average, dogs spend about 14 hours a day sleeping. Puppies and older dogs need more sleep daily. Larger breeds like a St. Bernard typically sleep longer.
They are capable of awakening when there is an activity to do or sensing danger or threats. Dogs are also quickly adaptable to find comfort in the environment and adjust their sleep pattern.
In the first ten minutes, a dog will lie quietly still and the breath rate slows, the heart rate and blood pressure drop, and the body temperature decreases. Then the dog begins an active sleep phase of rapid eye movement (REM) or paradoxical sleep. Like humans, this is a time when dogs dream. REM may be accompanied by some whining or leg jerks.
During the day, dogs nap about 45 minutes. Longer house of nocturnal sleep are necessary to eliminate fatigue, improve immunity to disease, and reduce the build-up of stress.
It helps if the master has a similar nighttime schedule as their dog. A disruption of the dog’s biological clock would occur if the master’s patterns of life were nocturnal.
Man can take a sleep lesson from his best friend. Chill-lax!
You bet that dogs live for this moment of sleep and are successful several times every day.
If you wake up in the middle of the night, go right back to bed.
One night I was feeling the bad effects of altitude sickness. My dog was a good nurse when we both awoke in the middle of the dark morning near Lake Tahoe (6350 feet above sea level). He went straight to his water bowl for a drink and promptly returned to bed.
Cramping and dehydrated, I followed Teddy’s lead. Going right back to bed after taking a big drink of water. Amazingly, I fell asleep almost as quickly as my bulldog.
His Long Sleep
He wagged his tail to the very last
And he smiles in his last, long sleep-
The troubles of life for him are past,
A shrine in my heart I’ll keep.
His Soul – for I feel that he had a soul,
And he thought real thoughts, I know,
Has fond the ultimate end, life’s goal,
In the Heaven where good dogs go.
He has lived with me and has suffered with me
Shed tears, in his dog-like way,
He has placed his paw at times on my knee,
In a vain attempt to say:
“God never gave us that wondrous power,
To tell all the things we feel,
But I want to say, in my canine way,
That my sympathy is real.”
So I loved my dog to the very end,
And he in our daily walk,
Was never just dog, but a constant friend,
And we had no need to talk,
And I hope when the summons comes, for me
To embark on the unknown tide,
I shall find his eyes in the paradise
They say is the other side.
– James Clarence Harvey
Take some time to watch your dog sleep and see how they awake. What comes natural to them makes good sense for human beings to learn to do for ourselves.
Stretch every time after sleeping.
Chapter 3 – “Fun Times and Play”
Playtime can occur at anytime of the day. A dog’s life is living in the moment.
Fun comes readily. In the dog world, there is no such thing as a bad-hair day.
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