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  • Writer's pictureCheryl @ BrightPaws

Choices and changes... 🐾

Hey everyone, I hope you’ve all had a good weekend so far! The sun is shining again in Argyll today, so it’s a day for relaxing after a tough couple of weeks as we said goodbye to my beloved Gran! 💔 It has to be said that Luna has been a great comforter in the last couple of weeks with her cuddles and also making us laugh with her terrier nonsense. ❤️

This week’s blog is all about giving our dogs more choices and keeping their lives interesting by providing small changes.


Choices:

As humans we make so many decisions a day based on the many choices we have in life (ok, maybe not as many right now due to Covid 😂🙈) ... but do you ever consider how much choice you give your dog?

Who decides when they get fed? Who decides where they walk? Who decides where they sleep? Who decides when they do their training? I’m guessing the answer to most of these questions is you...?


Sometimes it can be convenient for us to make those choices for our dogs, for many reasons, but we all want to make our dogs the happiest they can be right...?


Being able to make choices gives our dogs confidence in our world and can ensure they live happier lives where they can relieve stress and anxiety in ways in which they choose to, such as sniffing.


There are many ways we can give our dogs choices in their lives including:

  • Walks - now and again when you are out walking, allow your dog to choose the direction to walk... you never know what beauty spots you may find together!

  • Food/treats - allow your dog to choose the food/treat they would like...e.g would you like a bone or carrot stick...? Luna would definitely choose both! 😂

  • Sniffing - where do you want to sniff and for how long? Save these walks for the days where you have unlimited time!

  • Sleeping - give your dog a choice of where they’d like to sleep... in their bed (Luna has a few to choose from) or in the kitchen or living room... dogs like to be comfy and cosy too!

  • Meeting other dogs - if you’re at the park to meet friends and their dogs, allow your dog to decide if they want to play with them or not... they might want to go home... don’t force them to interact if they don‘t want to!

  • Training - if you’re dog is game and enthusiastic, that’s fab news, keep going! If your dog isn’t interested, try again another day, an unmotivated dog will be very difficult to work with... we all have lazy, ‘I can’t be bothered’ days, including our dogs, so let them chill if that’s what they want to do!

  • Pet shop - are you looking for a new toy or treat for your dog? Maybe it’s their birthday or they’re just being spoiled a little... ☺️ if you are taking your dog to the pet shop with you, you could let them choose their new toy or treat!


Changes:


Most dogs love new, novel and exciting experiences/places and you can make that happen for them by making a few small changes throughout their lives.


Try changing up things now and again to keep them ‘on their paws’.

Here are a few ideas...

  • Walk with your dog in a new environment - you could challenge yourself to walk somewhere different everyday for a week. Try it and look out for the differences in your dogs body language... I bet they are a lot more enthusiastic and excitable in a new place.

  • Change where you feed your dog - place your dogs bowl in a different place in the house or outside now and again to give them a different experience and keep it interesting.

  • Change how you feed your dog - you could do this once or twice a week to keep feeding time interesting and motivating - dogs were born to scavenge for food...try feeding them in a different bowl, from a Kong wobbler, by scatter feeding or by hiding their food around a room and asking them to find it.

  • Change your dogs toys selection - have a small selection of your dogs toys out to play with at a time and change this up regularly so that their toys can be kept ‘new and novel’.


This weekend we walked with Luna on a track we’d never been on before to change things up. Below is a short video of us practising some ‘ping pong recall’ on her walk! 😊


Try making some small changes to your dogs routine and give them a little more choice to add to their happiness - they will love you even more for it!



Have a great week everyone and as always happy training! 🐾🧡


Cheryl x

Photo credit: Victoria Stilwell dog training academy - positively.com

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