I am often ridiculed at home for being the weak link. This is usually said when a dog approaches anyone at the dinner table that doesn’t want to share their food. They point at me and tell the dog to go to the “weak link.” Yes, I share my food with my dogs at the dinner table. I’ll share with the cats, too, if they are interested. Why? Because I feel like it’s the role of a pack leader to share their food.
Now, I give my dogs nutritious – homemade – meals, but they don’t want to miss out on the variety and sharing that eating my food brings. They have smelled my food cooking and it smells delicious. They just want to know what it tastes like. Wouldn’t you? Of course, they want to know. Sharing a bite or two isn’t a big deal to me. After all, the parrot also shares. As social eaters, that is the parrot way. It is totally unacceptable for me to eat and not share with the parrots. Once I learned that our relationship improved immensely.
I suspect that dogs are also social eaters, and they believe that sharing is important. Luckily, they are more polite and charming as a social eater, making the parrots look like thugs. I also suspect they are bored with the rotations of food on the menu at home. They are excited to taste something new. I see sharing food as a life enhancement and a matter of social order.
I often wonder about those that keep all their food for themselves. They tell me that the dogs have their own food, so they must not share. I don’t see the logic, and it’s clear that the dogs don’t either. It was the same thing when my children were little. Although they had their own food or snacks, they nevertheless often wanted something on my plate. I shared with them, too. I never thought my food or drink belonged only to me. Besides, defending my food became too exhausting, and I could see that it looked mean-spirited to them. So, I shared. I recalled those moments as a child when my parents tried to eat something without sharing. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t as worthy as they were. I don’t want my children, or dogs, to think the same way. We are all worthy.
It’s no different when we go for a walk. I would like a brisk walk that gives me exercise. My dogs want to experience new smells and an odd sort of social peeing. Is this walk for them or me? It’s for both of us, so I am patient with a reasonable amount of sniffing and peeing. They would also like a brisk walk, so eventually, we all get what we need. It’s that way at the dinner table, too. I cook generously, and there is enough to go around.
As a pack leader, I should be considering everyone’s needs, not just my own. Those that don’t share food with their dogs are a strong contingent, I know. They are quick to discuss order and discipline. I don’t find that sharing my food leads to anarchy. Quite the opposite. I guess I don’t find a need for that much structure, and I’m pretty sure that my dogs agree. What Is your experience? Do you share food or not?