It’s Chinese New Year and it’s the year of the dog!
Lets take a moment to celebrate our dogs. Let’s take a day out from trying to “fix” them.
Let’s just enjoy spending a day having fun with our dogs.
I invite you to spend the day doing what they enjoy doing! Now there’s a question! What do they enjoying doing?
Have a think about what your dog enjoys best and allow them to do just that.
Maybe have a think about how you ascertain what your dog enjoys doing best, really think about this……….. Is your answer just a preconception of what you think your dog should enjoy doing?
I will give you a personal example that may be familiar to some of you.
I thought my dog loved to run and play on the beach, to be honest I just assumed all dogs would love to run on the beach. I think it’s fair to say lots of dogs do love to run on the beach, but when I really stopped to observe and listen to my dog it became clear she did not love the beach! This was particularly difficult for me to come to terms with as I love to walk on the beach. If you saw her running around on the beach you might even be fooled into believing she does love to run on the beach. I know I thought she enjoyed it when she first came into our lives. However, when I took the time out and started to really observe her behaviour. I realised that from leaving our house to walking on the beach, she chose to choke herself, she often barked at passersby, and when we got to the beach she chose to run and ran and ran and ran, then she would obsess over birds and chase and chase and chase, which would mean swim, swim, swim all the while barking and barking until she was totally exhausted. Her recall was wonderful in the house and garden, but on the beach nothing, no response! its like she could not hear me. I realised that this was not the behaviour of a happy relaxed animal. This was the behaviour of an animal in a panic.
Some days I like to work with her to help change her mind about choosing to choke herself and some days I work with her to help her overcome this panic on the beach, but today in honour of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dog I am going to allow her to have a relaxed day. For Fudge this involves staying at home, lying in front of the fire and playing with her favourite bunny. I know she likes this, because her body is relaxed, she does not choose to bark excessively and her recall and responsiveness to me is perfect.
Happy year of the Dog!