Not Every Dog Has To Be A Social Butterfly

If you think about it, you probably don't like everyone you meet. And even if you don't frankly dislike them, chances are you have people you just don't want to hang out with. While you may or may not be an introvert, chances are you know one.

Dogs are the same way, but we often forget that and expect them to like everyone.

Why Paying Attention To Your Dog's Mental State Matters

I may actually spend more time on this blog talking about why paying attention to dog body language and other signals are important than what they are. There are a couple of reasons for that. I think observation of the dogs in your life is an important teacher. I (and other sources) can tell you what this or that behavior means in general, but I cannot tell you what it means in your dog.
I also think that paying attention to the messages our dogs are giving us is crucial. In order to live with us, dogs have to give up choices about so many things. They make our lives better. The least we can do is try to make their lives the best they can be. The way to do that is to pay attention to their needs. In particular, I think it is important to be able to tell that they aren't doing well; whether from illness, stress, or other factors; and help make things better for them.

Cheese Makes Everything Better

Contrary to the title, this post isn't really about cheese; it is about and reducing stress and relationship building. There is a lot of discussion about "emotional eating" for people, usually with the implication that it is bad. But eating really does decrease stress. We can use this with our dogs (and ourselves), the trick is to do it mindfully in a way that really does help with the stress. For myself, that means choosing something I like eating and eating it slowly. My dogs aren't very good at eating slowly. But I can feed them slowly in a calm manner that doesn't work them up. When I notice that they are having a bad day or have had a lot of stress recently, I'll sit down with them in a relaxed manner and just feed them their meal a bit at a time. They don't need to "work for it", they just get it because they need to eat in a low stress way.

What does all this have to do with the title? For Max, his favorite stress eating food is cheese. His life motto seems to be "Cheese Makes Everything Better."