Most of us have crazy schedules that seem to occupy all our time and energy. We all love our dogs and they are an irreplaceable part of the family. But because of busy schedules, many times, the dogs in our lives are given walks during the day and belly rubs at night, but are lacking something in between. What is lacking? A job and purpose in the family. Many times our dogs show us this lack of purpose through behavior issues such as excessive barking, chewing, or anxiety.
To treat this, for a week or two concentrate on including your dog in family activities. For most of us the challenging part is to find activities in which our dogs can participate. Good News! A long drive to the dog park is not always necessary. To your pooch, even the simple act of holding a sit while you do the dinner dishes can make her feel as if she is helping you and performing a job. Here are other ideas:
At first, have your dog on a 5 or 6 foot lead while you are teaching her how to play and showing her what is expected of her.
Dishes or Laundry Game: Play this game with the entire family. Whoever is washing the dishes or folding the laundry, gives the commands. Give each dish or article of clothing different basic commands. For example:
Your goal for the game will depend on your dog’s skill level. For a puppy you will pick up a glass and ask for a sit. Once Stella sits – praise, reward, and release. For 6 month-old Walter, who has been practicing his stays during workouts, you will ask for a Sit, Stay, and don’t release until you are finished washing the glass.
Keep in mind that these are your goals. Your dog is not going to know how to play the game until you practice and show him the rules. When you first begin, you might only get half of the cup washed before you have to remind Walter that he is in a sit. Further, little Stella is a rambunctious puppy. It might take a few seconds before she stops bounding around long enough to think about sitting!
Check the Mail:
Instead of checking the mail on your way into the driveway, get Walter and work on his heel or loose lead walk to the mailbox. Have Walter then hold a sit a couple of feet away from the box. Step away from him to check the mail. Go back to Walter, praise, and release. Have Walter heel or loose lead walk all the way back to the house. Have him sit – praise and release.
Lastly, don’ t be discouraged if your dog or puppy has trouble focusing. Remember that your dog looks to you for direction and guidance. With practice you will get more confident with your training and your dog will become more confident performing his commands. Your dog is proud to accomplish tasks and please you – give him the chance to do just that! The key to games and working with your dog is to always expand on what your dog already knows. So as you go though your day, ask yourself if there is a way that your dog could be included in your task!
Let me know you how you do.
Katie’s Dog Training offers private, in-home training sessions so that you can experience the loyalty and companionship that a well balanced dog offers. Even though she has graduated numerous training schools, the dogs themselves tend to be her most beneficial teachers. She and her husband share their home with three wonderful dogs, Luka, Jazzy and Honey as well as a crazy cat named D’Angelo.