Many behavioral issues that I see and that I read about come from anxiety and pent-up energy that is not drained. It’s not that the owner doesn’t love their dog; it’s just that they aren’t sure how to love them the right way FOR THE DOG’S SAKE.
When the formula of Exercise, Discipline, and then Affection is used, your dog is fulfilled… yes, it IS that simple! But “The Walk” is a mental exercise for most breeds. Small dogs, those with shorter legs, and those that are low energy do not need strenuous exercise every day and The Walk can provide the draining of energy that the dogs and owners need. Other breeds, and certain aged dogs, need to have their energy drained differently – if you think you can keep up with most any high-energy dog on a run, then you are delusional! Even the fastest man alive has trouble breathing the dust of a greyhound! A bike, roller blades, skateboards, or learning the correct way to put your dog on a treadmill are excellent ways for everyone to get their daily exercise.
Another way for them to truly be fulfilled is allowing them to social with other members of their species. Dog parks, beaches, simple walks, can all contribute to their socialization and makes you a stronger pack leader. Remember that your energy – negative or positive – will dictate the outcome to any meeting. If you are nervous, anxious, fearful, frustrated then guess what your dog will be feeling? Being confident, self-assured, calm, assertive, in control of yourself and your emotions – in other words, characteristics of a leader even under fire – will assure that your dog will respect and follow that energy to the ends of the earth.
Most people in leadership positions in the human world are unhealthy and unhappy when they micromanage everything an employee or a subordinate does. They don’t enjoy the ride, so to speak. I’ve worked for people like that and I’m sure you have, too. Well, the same goes for Pack Leader behavior – are you enjoying the ride/the walk/ the exercise/being with your furry companion? If you aren’t, I guarantee the dog knows… the dog always knows because he or she is more attuned to us than we are to them. They watch, they study, they just KNOW through instinct. Ever been really upset and have your pack member try to comfort you without being asked? They know…
Lastly, make sure that your dog gets to do something you know they enjoy, just for them. A favorite chew, an interaction with a particular dog or dogs, etc. For Koa, it is holes at the beach and it doesn’t matter what size. We may be on a pack walk, but for his sake, and sometimes for mine, we’ll seek out holes for him to lay in and enjoy life and the creations around us. This is one that we found and it gives you an idea of how large it was… he completely disappears from view!
This week our family is going to Sarasota to visit family but also where Venice Beach has an off leash dog park, also known as “The Happiest Place on Earth (for dogs!)” (Sorry, Walt Disney). Therefore, that is where Koa will spend part of his (and my) time. Until the next time, enjoy the ride and fulfill your pack members – all of them!