Last Wednesday I was in Lawrenceville working with a new Home Dog Training client and his one year old Bernedoodle named Eddie. Like all Bernedoodles, Eddie was just a happy and go-lucky dog. At one year old, he was rather big. My client had never given Eddie any formal training, so he was just a crazy, somewhat out-of-control luv-bug. This was all well and good, but “out-of-control and big” aren’t two characteristics that work well together.
After a few hours, Eddie understood that jumping on everyone, stealing silverware from the table, and never obeying when told to come inside were wrong. He easily listened to my client and became very calm and respectful. Needless to say, my client was very happy with the results and excited to continue the educational program. As we were finishing up, my client had another question. Eddie was now a lot calmer, but didn’t he need a lot of play and interaction to be happy?
I explained the situation to my client in the same manner that Robin and I have counseled our clients over the years. Just like people, some dogs need more of an adrenaline release than others. This is not necessarily due to a particular breed, sex, or even age age. Although “happy” might not be the perfect word to use when discussing Eddie’s needs, It is not an inappropriate word. We would probably use the word “fulfilled” when making sure all is well with Eddie.
The important thing for our client to understand is his role, responsibilities, and actions required as Eddie’s leader, caregiver, and provider. How do “play and interaction” come into focus when successfully building the appropriate relationship with Eddie?
To answer this question, we review your dog’s basic need of entertainment and the bonding portion of your relationship. You can think of these as “your responsibilities to create happiness”. Here is what you need to focus on:
- Entertainment: It is your responsibility to provide your dog the exercise, social interaction, and mind-stimulating experiences he needs. Being alone at home most of the day will not necessarily provide these needed activities and environments.
- Bonding: This gets back to socialization. You and your dog need to engage in mutual activities where the actions require mutual focus, trust, and respect.
All dogs are different and the amount of ongoing entertainment and bonding will be different for each. It is critical to remember that you must observe your dog to determine if you are providing these things.
So you now have your responsibilities. That is a wonderful thing to know. Now you must find a way to effectively meet those responsibilities in a way that will create a positive and long lasting response from Eddie.
Robin and I would like to offer two alternatives that have been very successful for a great deal of our clients. The first option is simple and can be started right now. The second option requires a larger commitment on your part.
- Doggie Day Care: So many of our dog clients who have taken their dogs to Doggie Day Care have raved on the great improvement in their dog’s “crazyness” within a few visits. Robin and I recommend that you take your dog twice or three times a week. Also, take him on the same day and at the same time so that he can build relationships with “the regulars”.
- Another Dog: From observation and personal experience with our dogs, having a “doggie friend” can be a great way to provide the social and adrenalized stimulation your dog may require. All of your dog’s “nuts” can be focused at the other dog and not you and your friends. You are still the leader because you have provided this great experience for them. We have seen many “single dogs” who were just crazy all their lives calm down within one day after being placed in a “multiple dog” social structure.
These are just two options to to help provide fulfillment for your dog. There are many other solutions, to be sure. The important thing to remember is that your dog needs to be entertained and socialized.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over sixteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.