Are Today’s Dog Accessories Promoting a Culturing of “Doing Less with Our Dogs?”
My office manager and I spent some time last month walking the Global Pet Show in Orlando, Fl. We found a few innovative new products,a variety of new dog accessories and visited with some passionate pet professionals.
We also saw some things that I had mixed feelings about.
I have to admit that I have always viewed products through the lens of a “dog trainer”. After so many years counseling pet owners about training and behavior, it is nearly impossible to turn that filter off.
So after walking past multiple vendors promoting products like automatic feeders, automatic waters, and automatic ball launchers, I begin to speculate on if there is correlation in the uptick in the market for so many calming and anti-anxiety remedies
I can’t help but wonder if we are promoting a culturing of “doing less with our dogs?”
I do understand that many dog owners are super busy people and perhaps these products simplify life by taking care of some basic needs. Hopefully that is the purpose and they enhance the human animal bond by providing more free time to actually engage with their pets.
But then I also saw lots of strollers and backpacks for carrying the dogs. Plus numerous toys with very infantile themes and clothing that had nothing to do with any sense of actual functionality.
What exactly is the purpose of a frilly dress and a “bathing suit” for the dog? I can understand a possible need for boots and a sweater or coat on those short-coated breeds that find themselves living in a cold climate. But for what reason does a dog need to have an entire wardrobe?
The answer to that question, of course is a simple one.
It is entirely for our human purposes, for our entertainment. Perhaps to gain us attention with oohs and ahs and comments about “how adorable.”
We, pet owners and professionals alike, have to be honest with ourselves and admit these items and accessories have very little to do with meeting the needs of the dogs we profess to love so much. Whether we want to show off our pets to gain attention or sell these products to gain profit, it is about OUR selfishness.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
As Long As….
We make sure we respect first and foremost the needs of the dog and fulfill that obligation on a daily basis.
So if you want to carry or stroll your dog down the street, fine, but make sure your dog gets equal time to be in contact with the earth. To walk on it, run on it, scratch at it and smell all the delights and secrets that are only privy to their canine noses.
You want dog accessories and clothing that rivals a Kardashian closet, knock yourself out, but make sure your dog is also allowed to get dirty. Allowed to play, roll, jump, swim and just be in their own skin.
As a pet owner, if you honestly love your dog, you owe it to them to allow them to be a dog and not just a way to gain attention for yourself.
As retailers, trainers, behaviorists, veterinarians, manufacturers and dog professionals, we owe it to the dogs to help our clients and customers understand the actual needs of the animal to be stable, healthy and fulfilled.
I just finished a 90-minute hike with Diva so now I’m going shopping for a tiara. 😉