Spring’s here (almost), the weather’s improving, the mud’s drying, the morning’s are getting lighter and the day’s longer and you just feel better. So why not use this time to think about how you and your dog work together? It’s a great time for positive change!
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, we all live busy lives and time is always of short supply. Dogs love to use their extra special senses to good advantage, so think about where’s local that you haven’t explored yet – you might be surprised at where you can go. Even one or two extra walks in new places add so much more new sensory information and new opportunities for a dog to use his sniffing skills, which is so enriching, so give it a go.
NEW MEET UPS
If your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, see if you can arrange a few meet ups and play dates for him. Perhaps there’s a gathering for dog walkers in the local park or your friends might be up for letting their dogs have a play with yours or do a few walks together. If your dog is social with other dogs, then provide these opportunities where you can. If your dog is not so social, does not enjoy meeting new dogs or people, or is a little more reserved, however, remember not to force him into situations he is uncomfortable with as you may make his anxiety worse and increase his stress levels. You could instead consider some positive reinforcement training or additional mental stimulation to boost his confidence.
Why not use the time to read up on new advances in doggy areas you’re interested in such as training or behavior or maybe canine sports. Canine related professions are a fast moving industry and things don’t stand still, so make sure you’re up to date with everything that’s going on so that your dog doesn’t suffer with antiquated techniques or husbandry – knowledge is power!
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Dogs love to learn and they thrive on it. If there’s always something you’ve wanted to have a go at, go for it! It doesn’t matter whether your dogs brilliant at it or less so, as long as he or she and you enjoys it. Take a look at opportunities for canine sports in your area or why not investigate another canine related theme that might help your dog such as complementary or alternative therapy.
TIME TO SORT OUT ISSUES
If there’s something that you’ve been meaning to work on, then now’s the time to do it! Winter is a hard season to work on problems, it’s cold, wet and muddy and you just don’t feel like putting in the hours. Spring is the perfect opportunity to set your goals and work towards a conclusion – you’ll have all Summer! Make sure you seek guidance from a qualified behaviorist you will help you reach those goals.
Sometimes we don’t spend enough quality time together with our dogs – life is hectic. Make use of the extra daylight hours to set aside what time you have to do something with just you and him/her. Maybe it’s a play in the garden, a groom, an extra walk, session with an activity toy, but something to increase or develop that bond.
RE-EVALUATE YOUR METHODS
Are you happy with how you and your dog work together or could there be changes? Think about how happy your dog is to engage with you, does he/she respond because he has to or because she wants to? If there are aspects of that relationship you are doubting, then maybe it’s time for a re-think and a change to the positive.
Add in some mental stimulation. There are so many brain game toys on the market now, toys that make dogs think. Some are far better than others and will suit some breeds and individuals better than other, but start incorporating these more into your dog’s day.
It’s so easy to become ‘stuck in a rut’ for reasons such as modern day living, time, convenience etc. but use the catapult of Spring to bounce you and your dog out of that and into a fresh way of thinking – your dog will thank you for it!