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  • Writer's pictureSara Scott

Journey with Fernando: A Deep Dive into Canine Needs

Updated: Feb 19

I trust this message finds you in good health and spirits as we navigate the early chapters of 2024. Time has swiftly ushered us into the depths of February, and I hope your year commenced with joyous celebrations and promising beginnings. My own calendar has been marked by the enriching challenge of welcoming a new dog into my life.


In the chill of January, fate led me to encounter a forsaken soul, a dog I’ve since named Fernando, foraging for sustenance on the unforgiving streets. His emaciated frame spoke volumes of his plight. Fernando has now concluded his mandatory stray hold period, sadly without a claim by a previous owner, and I am delighted to share that he has become a permanent member of my family. I await the revelations of a DNA test, yet the noble lines of a Great Dane seem to whisper through his bearing. It was immediately clear that Fernando’s acquaintance with domestic tranquility was scant, and his physical health had suffered as a result.


Integrating Fernando into a home environment has been a poignant reminder of the comprehensive approach required in addressing the needs of our canines. Inquiries about his progress often arise, with well-meaning questions centered on the training he has received under my care. I find myself emphasizing that our journey together transcends mere training of behaviors like sit and stay; we are presently immersed in the vital stages of nurturing his biological, emotional, and social needs.


In the vein of Maslow’s esteemed hierarchy of needs, we must extend a similar model to our devoted dogs. As their guardians, it is our duty to ensure that their foundational Biological Needs are met with unwavering commitment. This begins with providing our dogs with the essentials such as nourishing food, clean water, and regular exercise. This also includes ensuring their safety, maintaining a comfortable living temperature, and seeking professional veterinary care.


Building upon this foundation, we must equally address their Emotional Needs. Dogs crave emotional security and stability as much as humans do. As Fernando himself adjusts to his new environment, learning to navigate the once-daunting door thresholds and finding his footing on slippery wood floors, it’s clear that providing a nurturing atmosphere where they can feel secure and develop trust is crucial. This, in turn, alleviates anxiety, laying the groundwork for a well-adjusted and behaviorally sound companion.


As we ascend the pyramid, we encounter the Social Needs of our dogs, which are as vital as their biological and emotional counterparts. Just last week, a heartwarming development occurred with Fernando beginning to engage in personal play with me, a sign of his growing comfort and trust. And it was only in this past week that Fernando and Chester have truly begun to revel in some good-natured, rowdy wrestle play. It is through such play that they communicate and learn.


At the fourth level, we find Training Needs. So far, I’ve focused on teaching Fernando his name, using treats to build positive associations as the groundwork for future behavior training. This foundational step is crucial for establishing a mutual language of trust and understanding between us. Adopting an evidence-based approach to teaching and learning not only builds trust but ensures that the process is as effective as possible.


Finally, we reach the pinnacle of the pyramid – the Cognitive Needs. A dog’s mind is a treasure trove of curiosity and intelligence. By providing opportunities for choice, agency, and new experiences, we can offer the mental stimulation that is so crucial for their well-being. In line with this, I’m currently developing an exciting new program designed to engage these very needs. Soon, I will roll out a cognitive training games course titled “Game of Bones,” aimed at enriching your dog’s cognitive engagement through playful learning. Keep your eyes peeled for this upcoming offering and get a glimpse of what is to come by reading my blog post on the same.


By addressing your dog’s needs, you can create a more harmonious and fulfilling life for your pup, ensuring they are not only healthy but also emotionally and mentally satisfied.


As we continue to navigate the complexities of canine care, I am pleased to share with you my latest contribution to Bay Woof, where I delve into the parallels between Gary Chapman’s human love languages and the ways we express affection to our dogs. I encourage you to read this article, as it offers intriguing insights into strengthening the connection we share with our dogs.


At the heart of my journey with Fernando lies a universal truth: every dog is a world unto themselves, with unique needs, challenges, and the potential for profound joy. As we navigate these waters together, the importance of understanding and addressing these needs becomes ever clearer.

If Fernando’s story resonates with you, if you see echoes of his journey in the eyes of your own furry friend, I’m here to help. Whether you’re navigating behavioral challenges, seeking to deepen your connection, or simply striving to provide the best possible care for your canine companion, a personalized consultation could be the key to unlocking a happier, healthier life for your dog.

Click here to book a consult and begin the journey towards understanding and fulfilling your dog’s unique needs. Together, we can explore the intricacies of the canine hierarchy of needs as it relates to your pet, crafting a tailored approach to nurture their well-being at every level.

Let’s embark on this path together, with the same spirit of discovery and compassion that has guided Fernando and me. Your dog’s journey to a fulfilled life starts with a single step. Take that step today.

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