I can say with absolute certainty that after walking 71 dogs and now at 385+ individual walks — not including my own two dogs of 22 years — that feeding a dog does not make him/her your friend. I can picture a Lab who could not stand the sight of me and let out a growl so deep and loud that I almost canceled the house sitting. And I can think of an Australian Shepherd who would take treats but went into attack mode behind a dining room table when I pulled out a leash. Then there’s the Shih Tzu/Maltese mix who it took an hour to walk — although his owner swore up and down that a trail of food to the door would make him open up. He didn’t. He didn’t like me. It took a world of patience and trust for these dogs to give me a shot. The Australian Shepherd never did. The others took at least a full day.

This belief that all dogs just love everybody simply isn’t true. I can guarantee you my German Shepherd liked no one but the folks living in my parents’ house. That’s where it began and ended with her. My Lab? OK, yeah, he wasn’t as friendly as other Labs, but he was pretty mild-mannered. I have met dogs who love everybody, but even those dogs have their moments. It’s all about socialization, not food.

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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