Dogs want consistency, rules, leaders, exercise and lovin. Most the time the lovin part isn’t the issue but the lack of exercise, rules and structure is. Let’s first go into what lovin entails. Lovin is anything that pleases the dog. Lovin can be food, water, butt scratching, ear rubs, playing chase me, and even talking to the dog. Loving can be attention. A dog that gets plenty of lovin, but lacks in rules, and structure maybe constantly asking for attention. Think about it. I would like a back rub every night. Do I get a back rub every night? Ah that would be negative. Once every three months if I’m lucky. If I pester my wife about back rubs she would tell me, No and go to sleep. However, when the dog is constantly nudging or jumping on us we pick them up, pet or give them some sort of attention. Go lay down is not in their language. So, people come to me to learn how to speak dog.
Somehow through consistency, patience, and praise we need to communicate with the dog what the rules are in the home. One time a couple came to me who had a multiple dog household and two of the dogs were fighting and seriously injuring one another. I asked what the rules in the house for the dogs were. They had a puzzled look on their faces and said, “There aren’t any”. No rules means out of control. Not necessarily bad dogs, but dogs that don’t know any better. We may refer to them as bad but, they don’t know well from back, they are just trying to establish leadership. Since the human isn’t establishing leadership and making the rules the dogs are doing it. You have to take control. Tell the dog to sit, don’t ask.
Part of what I do is train dogs, but I also have to train the human and build their confidence. If you are stressed or worried about what your dog is going to do, that runs down the leash and into your dog. Dogs are experts at reading emotions. If you are not confident with your dog, they know it and will take advantage of you; jumping, barking, stealing food, running away, leash pulling. The one in charge is the one in front. Ever see dogs dragging their owners around? The dog is in charge. If you want to live with a dog that’s in charge that’s up to you but you will also be crating or locking the dog in a room when company comes over because you cannot control your dog. Control = Freedom.
If you want a happy healthy relationship with your dog, you got to have control. Everyone wants a happy dog that walks next to them, is calm, and can lie down and chill while you are having a conversation with the neighbor. You can have this but you have to have control.
Once we have control we need to follow up with EXERCISE. Throwing a ball in the back yard for a half hour is good but we need to do more if you have a herding or working type of dog. Some experts recommend 90 minutes of exercise a day for herding and hunting breeds. It’s not unusual for a dog not getting enough exercise, finding their own way to burn off excess energy, which could include digging, barking, and chewing. So how do you give your dog 90 minutes of exercise when you work 8-10 hour days? By the time you get home from work you’re exhausted and a 30 minute walk isn’t satisfying your dog. Doggie day care can be an answer. My day care owners love their dogs coming home tired after playing with dogs and our staff all day. Our day care is different from others, because it is a structured day care. The same rules at your house apply at ours. There is no jumping, nuisance barking, mounting, or counter surfing. The dogs also get down times to relax and calm down. They are like children. Too much time chasing, biting and rough housing gets out of hand and they get on one another’s nerves, so a time out is in order. After 30 minutes they are back at it. The dogs go home eat and promptly fall asleep. Doggie day care is a great option for the busy family.
So the recipe for a happy well-adjusted companion includes consistency, rules, exercise and lovin.