The Essential Three Things Every Dog Needs Daily
We often get asked, as trainers, what our dog’s day normally looks like. To most people, you’d see a collection of herding breeds relaxed and chilled out and think, they must exercise their dogs for hours every day to have them be as relaxed as that.
The truth is, we don’t have time for that. We work full time and exercising for hours daily is definitely not our cup of tea! There are however, three essential things that our dogs get every single day, which although busy minded, enables them to be relaxed when we need them to be:
Every dog deserves a chance to leave their yard, every day. Exercise is not only a great way to keep in shape but is also a fantastic opportunity to allow your dog to ‘smell the roses’ as such; smell new things, stretch their legs, bond with you and work on some training. Exercise is proven to lower stress, increase endorphins, and balance mood and emotions in people and dogs alike. Even if you have a herding breed that could probably run 20km with ease, just getting out for 20-30 minutes is a great start to the day. If you can venture further afield on a long line, even better! We regularly include hikes and adventures where ever possible for our pack of dogs.
Sometimes, depending on the dogs you have and their individual training requirements, you may not be able to walk your dogs together. If this is the case, it is important that you still ensure each dog has the ability to go for a walk each day.
Something to take into consideration is the innate desire dogs possess for conflict. This desire is going to vary slightly from breed to breed, and even between individuals within the same breed, so it is important to acknowledge exactly what is typical of your individual dog in this regard and how you can provide it to your dog safely.
When we think about conflict, it does not mean that our dog is out looking for a fight. Think more along the lines of problem solving like getting food out of an enrichment toy or playing tug of war. If we do not provide them with appropriate outlets for conflict, our dog will create their own ways of meeting those needs, often this will be expressed through inappropriate behaviours.
Providing varied toys and enrichment is important for keeping our dogs satisfied and out of trouble throughout the day, especially when they are an intelligent individual with a busy mind. Enrichment activities are also biologically fulfilling which makes for a more satisfied and well-balanced dog, which will have influence on overall trainability. This is something as trainers we provide to our dogs on a daily basis. Training can also provide an aspect of mental stimulation and problem solving per day. Even if it is a quick as 3 minutes.
Play is hands down one of our all-time ‘go to’s’ and we can honestly tell you, every single day, we play individually with each one of our dogs. Toy play, personal play and even food play are all excellent ways to build the bond we have with our dog. It is also a fantastic way to biologically fulfil our dog’s needs and engage in behaviours that are natural to them.
At That Dog School we value play highly and it is one of the larger components of our courses. Some people think again, that play has to be 30 minutes long. Sometimes our games last as quick as 30 seconds! We are always leaving our dogs wanting more.
It’s pretty simple
If every dog got the opportunity to walk, problem solve and play every day as a bare minimum, there would be fewer problematic dogs and more dogs that are well adjusted and balanced. If you are looking to make a change with your dog’s daily routine and want to work with us, touch base with us and start helping your dog live their best life.