Dog training should be a life time commitment. Training isn’t only on sit and down commands. Your dog should listen and behave all the time even when they are having fun. Once you have that kind of control the skies the limit. Training and fun should go together, so let’s have some fun with our dogs. You don’t have to be too creative to find ways to have fun with your dog. I love going out on walks with my dogs. I don’t mean walk out the front door, down two blocks and back or the two mile walk/run. I’m talking about loading the dog in the car and driving to a destination the dog has never been. Now that is exhilarating and fun for the dog. Seeing, smelling, climbing, walking in a new environment will tire and stimulate your dog more than you know. This week for Road Trippin we are traveling to Fallasburg Park just north of Lowell. If you have never been, it is a beautiful rolling hill park, along the Flat River with its own Covered Bridge. The views are breathtaking and your dog will love it.
You do not have to have a high energy dog to have fun. Does your dog like treats? Play “hide the treat” game or purchase some interactive treat dispensing toys. If your dog like’s treats and I mean really loves to eat, you can help him/her develop their olfactory senses and sign up for a nosework or tracking class. For those who do not know, nosework is similar to the detector dogs the police use to find narcotic odors. The difference is we teach the dogs to search out and alert on Birch, anise and clove. Dogs love it and you will too.
I believe all dogs should have a dependable recall (come when they are called). If your dog will not listen during distractions you can take them to a fenced in area, baseball or football field. I always keep a long line on the dog too. The long line should be 15 – 20’ long. If you have a dog that likes to run from you instead of coming when called the long line is a great tool. All you have to do is when the dog flies by or takes off away from you, is to step on the line. This will stop the dog and you can real him/her in. I start all my dogs by dragging a long line behind them when outdoors. Long lines are great tools when teaching control.
I’m not a fan of dog parks and I will tell you why. You never know what you are going to run into. One bad experience can injure your dog psychologically and physically. Now I’m not saying the dog will be scared for life. People always use excuses why their dog has behavioral problems. He was attacked, beaten, starved, and mistreated and so on. Don’t make excuses for your dog, seek out some help and learn how to help your dog. So, I don’t do dog parks. In fact I could care less if my dog’s played with other dogs.
I own dogs because I love them and want to interact with them. I want them to pay attention and play with me not some strange dog. I want my dog to think I’m the best thing that ever happened to him/her. I want them to enjoy the walk, hike, ride in the car, surf, snow shoe, bike ride, you name it. I love it when we get close to Grandma’s house and they can smell the lake. Oh how excited they get. They know I’m going to cut them loose. They will tear down the hill to the lake as fast as they can run and wait, somewhat impatiently, for me to join them for a play of fetch. We don’t compete in dock jumping but it’s still fun to dive off the dock for their ball.
Now my dogs’ are spoiled. They get to come to work with me every day. Every day they lounge in the office, play a game of fetch and some days we do some protection training. Once is a while we go tracking. They help me teach dogs to be well mannered. My dogs love to come to work with me. Their minds are stimulated and at the end each day are exhausted with a belly full of food. A dog’s life can be such a wonderful thing.