I’m definitely engaged! Yes sir, every morning with our lab Sammy and he doesn’t sport a diamond ring on his finger or his collar.
Now before you think I’ve gone off my rocker let me explain what I mean.
Every morning as Sammy and I walk, I see so many dog owners walking their dogs or, rather their dogs are walking them. The owners are very disengaged with their dogs and pre-occupied. They are not participating in the walk. Again, give me a minute and I’ll explain.
Here’s what I mean.
• They are talking on their phone.
• They are texting on their phone.
• They are ear bud equipped and on their iPods.
Their dogs seem to be resigned to doing their own thing – walking separate from their owner while still connected, but only via the leash. Once the poop walk is over its back home and off to work the oblivious owner goes.
Or at the dog park, owners are throwing a Frisbee with one hand while chatting with friends on the phone in the other hand. They are disengaged with their dogs. They are doing the mandatory walk or Frisbee throw then pay no attention to what the dog does next.
I already know what you’re thinking. Yeah, maybe that’s true BUT, at least they are exercising their dogs.
Your dog has been waiting for you to come home with the expectation of spending quality time with you doing something he likes to do – run and play outside with you-even train with you. So go get that Frisbee or ball and engage your dog. Don’t just put him in the back yard, give him a courtesy toss and leave him out by himself.
Owners with dog problems have one thing in common: They do not truly exercise their dogs. Their dogs are not walked at all or not enough to provide their dog with a good cardiovascular workout.
It is a fact that most all dog behavior problems are stress related. Another fact is that exercise can reduce stress and become a major contributor to a well-mannered dog. But you have to step up to the plate and engage your dog.
So, if you walk away from your game of fetch, your dog won’t continue to play. Why? The most important component is missing: YOU.
Here are 3 amazing benefits you can get when engaging in activities with your dog. You can’t just do it for a while. It’s a lifestyle change that will change your life in a great way – forever.
Benefit #1: “A tired dog is a good dog.” That funny statement has more merit than you may think.
It’s been proven that aerobic, rhythmical exercise done at the same time every day with your dog – even to just a moderate intensity, can be a huge buffer for stress, create emotional calm and greatly improve your dog’s confidence. This is great for those high energy, young adolescent dogs – especially the bossy types!
Don’t be surprised if your relationship with your dog improves to levels beyond your expectations.
Benefit #2: Playing with your dog at the same time every day – games like fetch, tug-o-war can build your dog’s confidence and also improve the relationship between you and your dog by consistently adding positive activities in your lives.
Playing games creates positive emotional responses so that your dog can’t feel stressed or anxious at the same time. Play with your dog should always have rules. Here are some guidelines:
• Always require your dog to sit to start the game.
• Always require your dog to take the tug toy on cue.
• Always require your dog to release the tug toy on cue.
• Always end the game by requiring your dog to sit – then game over.
• Any tooth-to-skin contact immediately stops the game.
• Always put the interactive toy away until you decide to play again.
Tug-o-war is not always appropriate with all dogs depending on temperament. You know your dog and how comfortable you are with him. This should be an adult-only interactive game. It is a good way to burn predatory energy.
Game playing can be paired in with dog obedience training. Once your dog does 6-8 sits and downs he then gets to fetch the ball. This becomes a win-win situation and is a step in the right direction to wean him off food treats. Train with your dog but make it fast and fun. Remember, training doesn’t have to be limited to dog obedience. You can have fun with your dog teaching him tricks.
Benefit #3: Teach your dog to do a down. Once he is lying down, begin massage-like stimulation with light to moderate pressure in long, slow strokes and kneading motions.
Massage like this can help your dog to relax and relieve himself of stress. Good especially if you do this every day at the same time. Your dog will begin to look forward to this time with you.
The benefits of investing time in these ways could produce nothing short of a miraculous transformation from mischief to manners. It doesn’t cost a thing, yet ironically many fall short of devoting enough quality time to their dog.
If you commit to this investment in time with your dog today, you can expect to receive immediate dividends that will compound for you every day, every week and every month. It will not only improve your relationship, your dog will become a much better listener and – for all the right reasons. He wants to!
So, let me know below—-are you REALLY engaged with your dog?
We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from.
I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. I’m here to help.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.