Robin and I were visiting an old client in Dawsonville last weekend to check in with him and say hi to his great Collie, Martin. Martin was still doing great and our client had been keeping up with his training instructions. The rest of the family had also taken an active role and all the issues of misbehaving, stealing food, running out the door, and jumping up on guests had pretty much disappeared. As we were talking, our client mentioned, “The Holidays are just about here and with all the extra things taking up my time, I just don’t have as much time to spend with Martin. Will this be an issue or can I just fix it by buying him a bunch of great gifts?
Unlike me, you can’t bribe your dog. If you think that getting your dog a whole lot of great gifts is going to make up for not paying any attention to him, you are wrong. Dogs are social creatures and have to have companionship to sustain the bond between you guys that is so important in your relationship.
If you don’t properly interact with your dog to maintain your relationship, your dog will begin to test you to see “what he can get away with”. An example of this could be if you had previously taught taught your dog that it is not acceptable to jump on people. Your dog will start to challenge you by doing a few “test jumps” to see what will happen. If you are not paying attention because you are with house guests, you probably won’t correct his “breaking of your rules”. You have now shown your dog that he can start to do whatever he wants. If there are no consequences to breaking the rules, there really are no rules!
When you leave your dog by himself at the house or in his dog crate for longer than normal, he will build up more pent up adrenaline and energy that will require more interactive play time. If you can’t be outside with him playing catch or going for a bike ride means that he will have to find other ways to get rid of his pent up energy. That normally equates to more of a crazy dog in the house and more bugging of your house guests and you. Since you are already busy with all the Holiday things, you will probably put him outside by himself or in his crate.
With no bonding and interaction, your dog will have to ramp up his actions to, “in his mind”, continue the bond you had previously created. This often means that he will begin grabbing things things, showing them to you, and then run off as you chase and yell at him. This is not the sign of a good leader and caregiver. Your dog is starting to take over and making his rules for you.
I hope you can see we are not going down the right path. If you simply pay no attention or minimize the play and bonding time between you and your dog during the holidays, you will have an annoying holiday and a dog who thinks he is your boss as you start the new year. You still have the power not to have this happen.
You can solve all these issues through a little organization and planning. It is important that you proactively organize your time to get your work done, attend to your guests, and give the proper attention to your dog. We hope these suggestions will help:
- Write down your weekly schedule. Include your work, shopping, family obligations, church, parties, etc. Next, you need to find forty five minutes every day (broken down in fifteen and thirty minutes) that you can use to totally focus and bond with your dog. If you have to take some time away from another activity, you must do it.
- Make a promise to yourself and your dog that you will not miss your daily bonding appointments.
- Those times are only for you and your dog! Do not be throwing the ball while you are on texting on the phone.
- After each play time, make sure that your dog is still with the family. He should not be in the crate all the time.
As your dog’s leader and care giver, it is your responsibility to maintain your bond to show safety and stability. So many of our clients always give us the excuse of “But I am so busy with this, I am so busy with that!” My constant retort to my clients is if “this and that” is more important than their dog who gives them unconditional love and is always there for them? There is only one right answer.
You can contact us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Dawsonville Georgia. You can get our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Dawsonville Georgia.