But [Master Sgt. Eric] Haynes said they're careful not to let their affection interfere with good training. Treating Gina like a human—for example, comforting her when she's frightened—can leave her thinking that her handler is pleased when she's afraid.Coincidentally, my sister, who lives in a multiple-dog household, sent a piece from the César Milan Web site on dealing with grief in a dog pack.
"She's just gorgeous and I love her, but you also have to balance it with—you have to do what's right," he said.
The writer, dog trainer Martin Deeley, notes that dogs will miss a long-time companion, but at the same time, we should not project our emotions on them:
Dogs cannot speak to let us know what they are thinking, so we have to read their body language, behavior and general demeanor to know how they are feeling. Of course, we can misread what they are thinking and feeling, and sometimes they can simply be reflecting our own feelings and emotions. Therefore, you may think their emotions stem from the loss of companion when really they are reacting to our exhibited emotions.(Cats, on the other hand, sometimes seem pleased at the disappearance of other cats in the household. "More for me," they must be thinking.)