It’s time to own up and face the facts! Take the test. Lay it on the line. Are you a SNAPO?
In the past, you certainly would have heard about YUPPY’s, DINKS and SNAGS. You may have even heard about RPOs or Responsible Pet Owners. But now – enter the era of – The Sensitive New Age Pet Owner or SNAPO
You probably know all about heartworm prevention, worming and proper feeding techniques and your pet, hopefully, has a high standard of care, but are you really insuring it is content and happy and is leading a fulfilling lifestyle that caters for all its behavioural needs?
So, close the curtains, take the phone off the hook, make sure no-one is looking and take the test!
For a start, as a SNAPO, you won’t be taking your dog for a walk. Walks are too boring for a SNAPO like you and your pet. Instead, you take your dog on an ‘Ambulatory Adventure’ using the ‘ABCs’ technique for enriching your dog’s lifestyle.
The ‘A’ is for aerobic exercise and means that you would be throwing balls, sticks or toys for your dog. Super SNAPO’S throw Kong Balls – a special dog toy that caters for many behavioural needs. The main object is to get your dog puffing and smiling.
The ‘B’ is for Brain Work. This means that during your Ambulatory Adventure you teach your dog new commands to obey, such as the standard but rather dull, SIT, DOWN, STAY, and COME plus more unusual commands such as SEEK, OVER, BACK, BED, ROLL, CRAWL. Super SNAPOS have probably already trained their dogs in Agility Training as they already know the value of aerobic exercise and brain work in this form. Super SNAPOS probably take their dogs Lure Coursing – an organised sport in which dogs chase a plastic bag lure for the fun and excitement of the chase. (The chasing of live animals as a lure is unthinkable and totally illegal – not the province of a SNAPO.)
The ‘C’ is for Cuddles and Companionship. We call dogs Companion Animals for a reason – they like companionship and prosper from it. If youre a SNAPO, you would be proud to say in public that ‘I hug my dog’. While on an Ambulatory Adventure you would sit under a shady tree, give your dog a hug, scratch it on the chest and chat to it about the state of the Aussie Dollar, the effect of Asian Trade on our Current Account Deficit or any other matter of canine cerebral importance.
The home scene is equally important. Being a SNAPO, you will usually allow your dog inside the house – but you are clever enough to realise that you call the shots, not your dog. A SNAPO realises that positive control over his or her dog inside the house is vital. After all, the house is human territory and must be regarded by the dog as being owned by its human.
As a certified SNAPO, you would become acutely embarrassed if ever your dog was allowed to dominate you. As a wise SNAPO, you realise that a dog is a pack animal and that a dog should not be the leader of your pack. You would, of course, use the ‘Pay up Pooch’ technique to gently dominate and control your dog and would never use harsh physical methods to crush your dog’s personality in an attempt to punish it.
Then there is the topic of punishment. Sensitive New Age Pet Owners such as you never punish their dogs. A Sensitive New Age Pet Owner realises that punishment is a negative experience that erodes the Pet Owner Bond whereas leadership provides a positive experience which strengthens the Pet Owner Bond.
You would use the ‘Leave’ routine to stop unwanted behaviour. You know that hitting your dog is out, that the rolled newspaper is old fashioned and taboo and that chaining a dog up for bad behaviour deserves life imprisonment in a cat food factory. As a SNAPO, you will use your voice to start the leadership process. If the dog barks, you will immediately command in a pleasant but firm voice ‘QUIET’ and, after waiting for five to ten seconds, you call your dog to you, and command it to Sit and Stay in a firm but kind voice. You know that your role then is to enthusiastically praise your dog, in a high-pitched, happy voice, for this good behaviour.
You will also realise that when your dog comes to you for a pat, this action is totally incompatible with staying at the fence and barking. Naturally a SNAPO will already know that such a technique involves positive reinforcement training – a wonderful way to strengthen desired behaviours such as quietness.
If you are now blushing with embarrassment and your dog is looking at you in an accusing ‘I told you so’ fashion, then perhaps you should consider training yourself to be a SNAPO.