Anyone ever think about having a dog as a companion and protector being part of the Paleo lifestyle? (Or whatever you want to call it.)
The book Neanderthin, which I maintain is highly valuable for its first several chapters on hominoid/human evolution, talks a lot about humans’ development of a close relationship with wolves, which led to the evolution of dogs, and it was only because of the combined hunting efforts of dogs/wolves and humans that we were able to kill big animals like [mammoths?].
I never realized that my relationship with my awesome viszla/pit mix, a hunting and fighting dog, is potentially bringing me more in sync with this way of being. Anyone have same experiences they can share?
(Separated this from an earlier question that didn't go together)
My dog eats raw meat on the bone, and loves to gnaw on deer skeletons, innards and whatnot. I knew when I got her that she was meant to be a carnivore, so feeding her kibble or some commercial food was out of the question. I was a vegetarian at the time, so you could say that she was eating a paleo diet long before I was! This is the diet she is meant to eat, I would explain to people.
When I started reading about the paleo diet, I realized that paleo is the way I am meant to eat, so I switched. Immediately. How could I give my dog the species-appropriate diet she deserved without doing the same for myself?
I love my dog and she brings much joy and delight to my life. She is also my incentive for spending 3-4 hours in the forest each day - even if I feel like staying home and reading one day, she does not, so off we go. Once we're there, it's magical.
My dog is a 5 year old Shiba Inu. He is a part of my family and makes the place I live more like a home. His smell calms me.
I love him dearly. I call him my rescue dog, not because he came from a rescue, but because he rescued me. He was a last gift from my beloved late husband who gave him to me shortly before he died unexpectedly. While my friends and family were there for me, having a puppy was something that kept me going.
But I don't see it as part of my lifestyle. I see my dog as a part of my life.
By nature I'm a sedentary person; in a traditional tribal setting I'm pretty sure I'd be sitting in the shade all day chewing leather or weaving or something. Buster (a lab-dalmation mix) keeps me active. I walk him every day, and often go on long hikes with him on the weekend.
We also eat pretty much the same way, except I cook my meat, and seeing his health and well-being is a great spur and reminder to me when I feel like slacking. In fact, the only time he gets (slightly) porky is in the fall, when he gorges himself on the fallen plums in our backyard (he's even gotten a little inebriated occasionally as they ferment, so I have to really keep an eye on him when he's too quiet in the backyard). His coat is gorgeous, and his teeth are still sparkly white at almost four years old, an age when our friends' dogs' teeth have long since turned yellow and brown from kibble.
On the more woo side of things, I sometimes feel he teaches me about what's important in life. He's a pack animal and really doesn't like to be alone for too long, and I can be quite reclusive, so he shows me the importance of contact even when I don't feel like it. And he has the canine gift of living completely in the moment; he doesn't brood on past insults or engage in pointless arguments with invisible dogs in his head. But he's not completely clueless about planning; he buries bones to rottify, forestalling current gratification for later delectation. But he's not obsessive about it; sometimes he gnaws the bone right away.
Overall, I think he's got a pretty good handle on living life, and I hope someday I'll be as non-neurotic as he is.
Its good advice to get a dog that matches your personality and exercise needs. I hate seeing active dogs in fenced yards-never walked. I really wanted a high energy and loyal dog, one that I could take hiking and she would stay with me. So I got a red colored Kelpie. Lina is so incredibly smart. My husbands black lab will be barking her butt off at the front window (as she does all day every day). I will look at Lina and say, "go see" and she will go and check whats going on. If its a stranger on our porch she will start barking, if its anything else she will calmly come back down. She is my constant shadow and best friend. It's as natural as breathing to know that Lina is always around. I always have people comment on how well she listens and they are amazed that she almost seems to understand regular speech (vs dog talk like just sit, stay, etc). I definetly think that dogs are a natural part of being a human. Lina is fierce and would defend me if need be. One time a wild coyote came up to us in the mountains. I wasn't sure how she would react. We both just held very still and had a quite moment with a very big but non-threatening coyote. It was pretty cool. I feed her gluten free, but not totally grain free, but I include lot of extras like meat and eggs. (Honest Kitchen: Keen) When I put her on a paleo diet, she seemed really low energy and downtrodden. I have included a pic of her, hiding in my friends kitchen, through her dog door. She didn't want to come out and frolic with the pesky labs. She is very put off by the way most dogs play. She loved to wrestle with a red heeler we used to have though. Its a bit more noisy and teeth filled.
Interesting timing of this question as I was just writing a post about my dogs and had a similar discussion with Mr. Grain Free last night. I know from previous experience that I just don't function without a dog in my life. I now have two, and was discussing with Mr. Grain Free that when it's time for these two to cross the bridge, I know I would want two more - preferably with the calmness of my male dog, not the high energy of my female (unless of course my life changes drastically and I become a marathon runner or something). I love her to pieces, but she totally tricked me on her energy level. I adopted her because I thought she was calm. Turned out she was just scared to death of the shelter. Live and learn. At least she gets my butt off the couch :)
I lasted exactly 3 weeks between the time my last dog died to when I adopted the first of the two I have now. It was a rough three weeks. I just can't be dogless.
Funny, I just opened the computer after settling in our new dog - we have an ex-racing greyhound, Jolie, and foster for the local Greyhounds as Pets charity. Our latest foster is a beautiful grey and white girl called Abby, who was an epic fail as a racer because she wouldn't chase!
Yes, our dog(s) contribute to our paleo life - they remind us to play, can't tolerate whole days inside while we focus on the various square screens, and totally live in the moment. They'd also rather fast than eat non-food crap! (except for shoes, bedding etc, but that's not for nutrition it's for fun).
I love this topic! My dog surely reminds me to live the way I was meant to. I was given a Dogo Argentino, which is a breed bred specifically from fighting stock to hunt pumas and wild hogs. He used to live with my brother up in the mountains about 20 miles of dirt road from "civilization" if that's what you can call it. Anyway those dogs were bred for their courage and he routinely protected the property from all manner of wild beasts and has the scars to prove it. He's retired and living with me, sadly restricted to chasing the racoons out of my yard now, but he simply couldn't handle the cold up there. Anyway, every time I take him for a walk I think about how he'd rather give it all up chasing a bear or cougar away than languishing in my backyard, and I have to bring him home some raw soup bones or ham-hocks to take the place of his horrid dog food. I'll share the bounty of raw meat covered bones from my deer carcasses with him but it isn't enough for the entire year. I definitely enjoy his companionship but seeing how much joy he recieves from doing what he was bred to do helps me to appreciate the enjoyment I recieve from participating in the activities, like harvesting game and salmon, that my family has done for millenia.
Once I had settled onto primal/paleo, I realized my 3 dogs and 2 cats should be too. I was very tired of trying to find grain-free food they liked and that agreed with their systems (the dogs are toy breeds.)
The cats hated the switch and it took about 3 weeks for them to surrender to no more commercial food, which really surprised me as they're only 12 months old. The dogs loved it from the first minute but my Chihuahua starting gaining weight and my Boston Terrier started losing weight--and then I noticed that the Chi was following the "first one done helps the others" rule. Now I stand and watch them and we're back on track.