A Labrador Retrievar in a bathtub being washed by their owner looking very happy.

Our Role as Pet Parents – Pt 1

Pet Parents and Guardians

For me, the term ‘Pet Parent’ applies to all our lovely Bounce and Bella customers. Because we all care and are concerned deeply about our dogs.

We’ve taken on a parenting role rather than just the role of owner.

I bring this up because for Christmas every year I create a lovely long list of books I’d like to read, and Gill surprises me with a handful from that list.

Book GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


I never know what I’m going to get, but luckily this year she bought ‘Dog Guardian’ by Nigel Reed.

What a great read.

I underline and make notes in books, but with this one, I had to stop after a chapter as there were more parts underlined than weren’t.

The underlying concept behind the book is that we are our Dog’s Guardians.

This completely allies with our Bounce and Bella thinking that we’re Pet Parents.

Schools send home letters saying to the Parent or Guardian – same role, different title.

Now I’m yet to be convinced by everything in the book, but I’m definitely up for being convinced (more on that in future posts).

And I’m certainly going to be trying out a lot of what Nigel teaches in future blog posts – particularly with Roscoe’s barking and pulling.

Specific needs based on their wolf ancestors

Nigel discusses our dogs having specific needs based on their wolf ancestors. (If that seems unlikely, consider for a moment how many traits and behaviours we still had from our time in the caves and savannahs all those thousands of years ago).

But here’s the crux of the book… If the Guardian/Pet Parent does not meet those needs, then our dogs have a built-in responsibility to the pack/family to step up and attempt to meet those needs.

Pet Parent - a woman holding the paws of her puppy playfully.

It may even be that those needs are actually being met and that a miscommunication between dog and parent means the dog is not actually seeing the needs being met.

If the dog is not seeing the needs being met – as far as they’re concerned they’re not being met – and instinct forces them to take on that leading role.

Symptoms of a lack of leadership

This is when symptoms of a lack of leadership (perceived or real) start to appear.

Dogs may attempt to take over the parent or guardian leadership role, but they don’t know how it’s fulfilled.

That leads to all sorts of odd and unwanted behaviour – in which our dogs try to fulfil their new role or get stressed at being unable to fulfil that role.

The solution

The solution according to Nigel is clear (although how to make it stick is trickier) – we have to take on the role of pet parent or guardian and make sure our dog’s needs are being met and – importantly – that they are also seen to be met by our dog.

Pet Parenting, a Labrador retriever in a bath being washed by it's pet parent.

In the next post, we’ll look at what those needs are and how they are closely related to their wolf ancestors’ needs. 

More on that in Pet Parents Part Two

Quick spoiler… One of those needs is definitely healthy, nutritious food and treats with no hidden nasties.
If you haven’t already, check out our awesome one-time offers:
20% Off Grain Free Dog Food (and free samples to try first!)
50% Off Treats

To find out more about Nigel Reed and ‘The Dog Guardian’ visit: https://www.thedogguardian.com/buy-the-dog-training-book 

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