Dogs like people are not perfect. Each dog has his/her individual personalities just like people and we need to love them just the way they are. This doesn’t mean we need to make excuses for their behavior, “Oh sorry he bit you he just doesn’t like men” or “Sorry about the nuisance barking he’s just excited”. If you have behavior issues the dog needs to learn how to act appropriately. All dogs should quiet on command, not jump and if they don’t like strangers they still need to behave. I think sometimes people want the perfect dog and after they have seen some great progress from the training and rehabilitation, they want more. Sometimes more is not possible. Be happy your dog is under control and comes when they are called.
I don’t do dog parks but people come for help with their reactive dog and want us to fix it so the dog can go and play appropriately with all the dogs in the dog park. You know there are people I don’t like. The people that I don’t like maybe demeaning, loud, know-it-alls or just grumpy. I don’t want to be around people like that and I’m certainly not going to invite them over or go play a game of golf with them. Dogs are the same way. If your dog isn’t comfortable around dogs or doesn’t play appropriately don’t let him/her interact with dogs. If you need to exercise your dog find other avenues, not the dog park. All you are going to do is get your dog in trouble because you want to take him to the dog park. My dogs get plenty of exercise but we go hiking, swimming, sledding and play fetch. People get dogs because they want a companion not so the dog can go and play with other dogs. You got yourself a dog to spend time with. Teach your dog to run on a treadmill if you’re too lazy to exercise your dog. Figure out something, but reactive dogs don’t belong in dog parks. We can teach dogs to behave around dogs but you never know when a trigger is going to occur and your dog is now acting inappropriately with another dog.
It seems now a days everyone wants their dog to be a Therapy Dog. If your dog is nervous and lacks confidence I don’t think this is a good idea. Something will happen where the dog tries to flee or reacts because something scared him/her. Some dogs are just a little nervous around people. Dogs need to be totally relaxed and very obedient all the time to be able to go into hospitals, senior living, schools and so on. The West Michigan Therapy Dog program does an excellent job training and weeding out the dogs that really shouldn’t be there. Even after the initial training you have to follow another dog handler around kind of like field training. The training is intensive and it should be. One of our clients made it through the whole program and now is a certified Therapy dog. His name is Chip and his owner, Holly, works a lot with her dog. Chip is a calm well behaved dog and he is that way because Holly has done all the hard work to get him there. I know Holly and if Chip did not made it through the program she would have been, “Oh well we tried, now let’s go out for a hike Chip”.
I recently heard from Holly and one of the games Holly and her husband plays is calling chip from one end of the house to the other. One maybe in the basement and the other on the second floor. Chip loves this game because he knows he’s getting paid with a yummy treat each time. Another fun game is hide and seek while out hiking. What kind of games do you play with your dog?
It’s not about going to dog parks and passing this test and that. It’s all about having fun with your dog. People get too focused on the end result and forget about what they got a dog for to begin with. We have dogs for the companionship and the funny things they do. Our dogs get a kick out of chasing a laser pointer around. It’s an easy game that our kids can play with the dogs. The dogs get a work out and we laugh at how excited they get over a little red light that moves around. It’s fun stuff. What fun things do you do with your dog?