Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Inside Looking Out

I often get calls from people with dogs that seem to have behavior problems.  I will then ask the owners what they do with the dogs exercise wise.  Much to my dismay I find that the response is something in the way of, “Well I’m really busy, I don’t have much time to do things with him.”  At this point, I start looking at the dogs’ prospective from the inside out.  Have you ever really looked at your dogs’ world from his angle?  I’ve often wondered about it until I read a book by Merrill Markoe called, WHAT THE DOGS HAVE TAUGHT ME.  The Dog Diaries chapter had me rolling as she followed her dogs around one afternoon.  It also inspired me to look at my dogs’ world from the inside out.  Yes, through the writings of Merrill I have found myself rolling on a bug with my Chihuahua mix Pitiful Pearle. Interesting as she loved the fact I was taking pleasure in her kill, weird as I was hoping none of the neighbors could see me.  Today all four of my dogs have a new respect for me since I’ve had the freshly killed bug scent on my back.

I have talked to prisoners in the past and found that the monotony of the day is often the sad thing about being in prison.  Imagine, chow at such and such time in this room only, yard time, room time, lunch time, yard time, room time, dinner time and if you were good common room time.  Think about the chow, nothing special, but enough to keep you healthy.

Many of our household dogs are lucky enough to have it so good.  Many don’t get the in home experience; they stay out in the back yard 24/7 year after year.  Exercise, you need exercise?  Many dogs are lucky to get a pat him on the head as the owner walks past.  Food, can you imagine eating Captain Crunch for every meal for the rest of your life?  GACK!!  Now I love Captain Crunch but every day, every meal for the rest of my life is a different story.  I’ve gone as far as to photo the views that my dogs see from the inside out.  It is in deed very sad.

Dogs with a monotonous day often find things to entertain themselves.  Eating things in the house, chewing the tree, getting in the trash are all things that dogs do when they don’t have guidance and plenty of stimulating exercise.  These dogs are bored and are looking to something, anything to add stimuli to his day.  He is not a bad dog, he is a seeking an outlook to boredom.

Speaking as a trainer I hate to say it but, training can be boring!!  Sit, down, stay, bla, bla, bla…COME!   I see boring training take place all the time.  Dogs need to be socialized, experience different things, new sights, smells and even textures.  Have fun in training.  I know TABOO!  But training can be both stimulating and fun.  Sit stay on rocks; heal on benches, bleachers or logs.  Stay on a bridge over stinky, noisy water, or in front of a grocery store with carts and people with great smelling things in bags.  Now we are talking!  This type of training is not only stimulating but it is fun and exhausting for both dog and owner. Get out, half an hour each day!  Have fun exploring, sights, smells and sounds with your dog.  You will enjoy finding challenging places for your dog to sit, down or stand on just as much as he will enjoy working in different places.  Many neighborhoods have this in walking distance.  Make it fun for both of you and you will enjoy your outing.  Change it up and most of all have fun.  Happy training from my pack to yours!
  •  Sit or a down on a rock can be a challenge.  This was taken about a block from the dogs home. 
 Sit and watch a childrens football practice is very stimulating.  Found this place within a 1/2 mile from the pet owners home.
Walking on the bleachers was very stressful and stimulating for this young dog.  We were only on the first row of seats and she fell off!.
So....we lightened things up with some play ground equipment.  Be creative, have fun, and challenge your dog with your surroundings and you will have a well rounded, well socialize and most important tired dog.  Happy training!