Friday, December 31, 2010

Be Your Dog's Best Friend:
Living Life to the Fullest

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Training Your Dog
Provides a Lifetime of Good Behavior
Think about your own daily routine for a minute. You rise early and eat breakfast. After a few preparations, you head off to work where you get mental stimulation, a chance to solve problems, and an opportunity to socialize--most of us anyway. Even if you work from home like I do, you probably have ample opportunities to get out for errands, meetings and appointments. You meet friends at Starbucks or have dinner out. You shuttle kids to dance and baseball, visit the library, the mall, and your friends.

Now contrast that to the life of the average dog. Most dogs get a few short walks a week, and generally are left to fend for themselves while their owners head off to work. My pack is lucky to have a work-at-home leader. But what about others? 

Can you imagine the boredom of being left behind 2 walls for the entire day, with only a chew bone and a few toys. Think about this from the dog's viewpoint. He wants to play, but with who? He wants to chew, but knows he'll be reprimanded when his owner arrives home, if he does.After an hour of pacing the house, checking all windows and doors for possible escape, Fido drops for a nap, mostly out of pure boredom. No wonder he is so happy to see you when you arrive home!

Have I described your dog? There is something you can do about it. New Years is coming and along with it that Resolution you always consider. How successful have you been with achieving those goals? Maybe this year's resolution could revolve around your Rover. Try one or more of these on for size:

  • I will walk my dog for a total of 1 hour or more every day, so he will get to see the sights and smell the smells of the world's smorgasbord.
  • I will create some Busy Bones to freeze, and leave one with my dog each time I depart for more than a couple of hours.
  • I will shop for some safe, mentally stimulating toys to help my dog enjoy problem-solving activities to work his brain and tire him out.
  • I will rotate toys so that each time I offer one, it will seem like a long lost friend.
  • Knowing that many dogs will not eat or drink while their owner is away, I will assure Fido is fed and given an opportunity to eliminate before I leave. I will always leave an adequate amount of fresh water available.
  • I will evaluate my home's dangers to my dog and block access to these or remove them, if possible.
  • If my dog is in the house-training phase, I will arrange sufficient bathroom breaks and walks with a neighborhood friend or petsitter, to help my puppy learn good house manners.
  • I will provide training to assure that my dog is well-behaved and not a danger to others.
  • I will socialize my dogs with both humans and other dogs from an early age to assist him in learning good manners and having healthy relationships.
  • When I leave for a long outing, I will assure that my Fido is fed, tired from activity, and ready for a long nap to pass the time.
  • When I return after a long day, I will reserve time to exercise and practice training or have playtime with my dog, to continue the bond and expend his pent-up energy.
© Carrie Boyko
Mentally and Physically Stimulating
Activities will Bring Out the Best in Fido

Which Resolutions would suit your dog the best? Think about him when planning your New Year's Resolutions. Remember that this relationship is one that will give back more than you put into it, for many years to come. Build the bond!


Dawn said...

Great tips! For those who can't do a one hour walk every day, how about a shorter walk and/or a game of fetch? Or how about a trip to the off-leash dog park? Not all dogs (or people) can do a whole hour so commit to what can be done.

Kelley said...

Great post! Many times people forget to consider how bored their dogs get. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to be happy.

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