Posted by Colleen Fitzpatrick
I know that walks are important for physical and mental health
When our family is between dogs, I hardly ever go walking just for pleasure or exercise. I am not what you would call an outdoorsy person. I am more of the indoorsy type and I prefer shade over sunshine any day. That all goes out the window when there is a dog involved. As soon as I get a dog, I am outside walking that pooch like we are training for the Olympics. A good walk can really be a bonding experience. It can also calm your dog down, expend energy, move his bowels, be mentally stimulating, and can introduce your dog to things he wouldn't ordinarily see just at your home. Walking is really the best thing going.
I know that excessive sleeping can mean my dog is bored out of his mind
In the absence of any mental or physical stimuli, dogs can and do become bored. Doing the same thing day in and day out can really make anyone go a little nuts and dogs are no exception. I used to have a dog who liked to go around the house trying to shut all the doors when he got bored. He also ended up locking himself in the bathroom on more than one occasion. Of all the things that dogs do, I think the saddest thing that happens when a dog gets bored is that they sleep a lot more than usual. Excessive sleeping can be a sign of depression in your dog so please be mindful of your dog’s regular sleep patterns.
I know when to leave my dog alone
We all like our ‘me’ time and so do our dogs. Let’s face it, there is only so much togetherness one can handle before it all goes south. If you are trying to play with your dog and she isn’t having it, then let it go. She may just need some time to decompress. Don’t we all?
I know when to feed him
Feeding time is really consistent in our house and it’s the same routine every time. Given our daily schedule, it works best if I divide up their daily allotment so that bathroom time is consistent as well. Because as we all know, what goes in must go out. A well-timed meal can make the day go by so much smoother, don’t you agree?
I know the signs of stress
Licking of the lips, yawning, tension, shaking off, and sideways glances are just a few of the signs that your dog demonstrates to show he is under stress. It is up to us as dog owners to know these signs so that we can properly intervene. If your dog is displaying these signs, he’s in some distress. Take control of the situation immediately to diffuse the problem.
I know that making him do tricks or work for his snacks works his brain
I try not to give my dog a snack food just for the sake of it. I want him to earn it. Making him follow a few commands before he takes food from me let’s him know that I am in control. He is eating because, I, Queen of All Things Awesome, is allowing it. Because he does not want to displease the Queen, he completes each obedience task.
I know that hitting my dog isn’t a good idea
In fact, hitting your dog is a terrible idea. If you think you have behavior issues to deal with now, hitting your dog into submission or for punishment will make them worse. A dog who has been hit will learn to associate touch with pain. It can make a dog extremely fearful and that fear can turn to aggression in a heartbeat if the dog feels he is threatened. If your dog is making you crazy, put yourself in a pet parent time-out and approach the problem when you are more calm. Ask yourself how you can help the dog be a better and happier pet instead of getting mad at the bad behavior and wanting it to stop ASAP. You will get results if you are calm and think it through.
I know what is fun to do if you are a dog
Throwing a ball, playing hide and go seek, fetch, teaching a new trick are all things that dogs like to do. Playing isn’t just about goofing around with your dog. Engaging in play provides physical as well as mental stimulation that he needs to be healthy. Here’s a tip: don’t allow yourself to be your dog’s Entertainment Center. Fun is fun, but you decide when the fun time ends or you will be inundated with doggie requests for relentless games of fetch. Your dog shouldn’t be the one that calls the shots with play time.
I know that I must be the one to lead our pack so my dog feels confident
As any boss can tell you, being in charge can be stressful and there are times when you really don’t know what the right decision to make is. Dogs don’t want to be the boss but will step up if you aren’t doing what you need to be doing as a pet owner. This is when problems arise because dogs make terrible bosses. Take charge of your pack. Lead by example. Your dog will be relieved that he doesn’t need to be the head honcho anymore. If you are unsure how to be a good leader with your dog, then by all means learn. Take some classes. Reach out to your vet and a dog trainer with a good reputation in the community. You owe it to yourself and your dog to do so.
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About Our Guest Blogger
Colleen Fitzpatrick is a former dog groomer turned writer from Upstate New York. She loves all dogs but is particularly fond of basset hounds. She is passionate about animal rescue and hopes to foster dogs once her children are a bit older.
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