Heather & I walk dogs every morning Tuesday through Saturday. Most have walked on the same day with the same group for a number of years and they know each other very well. They’re a band of happy wanderers, sniffing around every tree base, along every fence, stopping to dig here and there, generally keeping up with the leader, Heather and myself.
We don’t walk these long standing groups on leads, and we don’t rush at fast pace along a footpath, its more a gentle meandering around the edge of a sports ground, along a well trodden river foot path, beside the golf course or through the park. Exercise for these dogs is getting out of the house, smelling the richness of the day and another dog’s pee trail. Its all about social interaction, having time with other dogs,running without knocking over a table, a vase, or sweeping a coffee mug off the coffee table with a tail.
The Christmas puppies have all reached that stage where they’re eating the socks, pulling the washing off the line, and sometimes still having an ‘oops’ moment and peeing on the floor. They’re bored and the office hours their human’s work seems more like weeks not hours. We’ve taken on a number of these dogs recently, some we walk some spend time in the house with us. They want company and someone to talk to just like we do. I might not take out my boredom by tearing the lounge cushions to shreds though I did get very house bound when I broke my ankle.
So whats the answer to keeping your dog content and happy. Getting out for a walk is first on our list, running, barking, playing, sniffing, interaction with other dogs is one of the simplest ways to keep you dog from being bored. And you want to be interactive with you dog, chasing him, throwing a stick or a ball. Dogs love spending time with people and they love getting your attention and your praise.
Alex wasn’t much into dog toys and I envied friends who had chewed soft toys, scraps of blanket, bits of cotton rope, chewed rubber chickens. And then the first puppy came to stay and I had an excuse to buy a dozen toys and a bright basket to keep them in. We fill Kongs with minced chicken and freeze them mmmm what fun the dogs have, spending hours getting all that yummy meat out bit by bit. We also fill them with dried chicken necks broken up and stuffed in really hard to amuse the dogs for ages. You can use any food really and they just love them. Most dogs will have a game of tug of war with a cotton rope, a long rubber bone, a dead tree branch. The trick is to present a new toy from the toy box each day by rotating a dozen toys over a week. And of course most dogs love a ride in the car. Alex will happily sit in the car for hours on end while we shop, do pet sits, have meetings with new clients or a quick coffee. As long as your dog is included in the family happenings he’ll be happy.
A dog that gets exercise, stimulation and positive attention is less likely to find his own amusement by ripping the feathers out of your favourite lounge cushions.
Esme with a frozen Knog!