I was in Buford last week with a new Home Dog Training client and her quite precocious nine-month-old Aussiedoodle named Bullet. Bullet was a little bit “over the top” when I first arrived. He was not providing my client with any sort of respectful focus and loved to steal anything within his eyesight. From my initial discussion with my client, I discovered that Bullet was her first dog as an adult. It was quite obvious that we needed to get Bullet to understand that my client was now his leader and “the boss of the house”.
It only took a few hours to transform Bullet’s behavior into one of a well-behaved and respectful dog. My client was extremely pleased with what we had been able to achieve and was looking forward to following the lesson plan that I had laid out for her. She was positive that Bullett was going to turn out to be a great companion and family dog.
As I was wrapping up the lesson, I asked her if she had any other questions. She pondered for a moment and then said that there was one more question on her mind. Her boyfriend was out of town and would not be back by Valentine’s Day. Since he wasn’t there, she thought it would be fun to have Bullet be her Valentine. Dogs are (normally) very different than boyfriends, so she wondered what sort of things would be fun to do with her “canine Valentine”.
I began my conversation by reminding her that Bullet has no concept of “Valentine’s Day”. He simply sees it as another day that she is spending with him. Although she is aware of the tradition and celebration associated with February 14th, he has no preconceived notions surrounding this day.
My client should understand that, when it comes to Bullet, the focus on Valentine’s Day isn’t “Valentine’s stuff”. The focus should be on building a strong relationship between Bullet and herself. With this said, I offered some suggestions:
- Have a “Pet Spa Day” with Bullet. I know that there probably aren’t a lot of “Pet Spas” near my client, but she can use “the next, best thing”. Take Bullet to the groomer but include a bath and a blow-dry. Include extra play time or goodies while he is there. He will leave clean, calm, and serene.
- Take Bullet somewhere new that he likes. This offers a great, uniquely happy experience for Bullet and will strengthen the bond between both of them. An example would be to get a cabin in Blairsville and spend the weekend there. My client and Bullet can go on walks, sit on the porch, or just hang out by the fire. We have found that there are many “dog friendly” cabin rentals. Many times they don’t even charge extra for pets.
- Be active with Bullet. This can be as simple as going on a long walk with him. While on the walk, my client should consider stopping and having a little picnic at a park along the way. Social proximity, well-regulated exercise, and healthful nourishment are all great tools in building a strong bond and strengthening her relationship with Bullet.
- If Bullet is not the “athletic type”, maybe it is time for a shopping day. Go to Petco, PetSmart, or any other pet store with him. Make sure that the isles are wide and that it isn’t packed with people. Let him “pick out some stuff” that my client and Bullet can play with once they get home.
- Stay home with Bullet, enjoy a dinner comprising of his “favorite stuff”, and watch TV. My client can have some popcorn and provide Bullet with little pieces of his favorite doggie snacks while both enjoy the show.
- I know that this isn’t a “Valentine’s Day thing”, but my client could also mark Valentine’s Day as the time she takes Bullet into the vet for his check-up. Having a healthy dog is critical in allowing her to establish a strong and lasting relationship with Bullet.
It truly doesn’t matter what my client may come up with to “spoil Bullet” on Valentine’s Day. The crucial thing is that both my client and Bullet enjoy the day together.
Please call or text us at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. You can also email us at [email protected]. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over nineteen years. We have trained over 6,000 wonderful dogs and great families and are ready to help you.