In this season’s reflection, I’d like you to think about the wording that best captures your role or position vis-à-vis your dog. People vary in the words they use to describe who they are to their dogs. The word “owner” is most commonly applied since legally speaking, dogs are considered property. Some dog advocates believe “owner” objectifies canines and therefore, many prefer to call themselves “guardians” or “parents” (“mom”/“dad”) of their dogs. Some designations, such as “leader” or “alpha,” speak to status and hierarchy while others are about our role as educators, for example “trainer” or “teacher.” Yet others prefer to call themselves “partner” or “friend.”
Because words are thoughts and thoughts spur action, I’d like you to reflect on what these different words mean to you. Which ones resonate with you and speak to the kind of relationship you wish to have with your dog, and why?
Is there another word for you beyond these?