Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A word or two about group walking

Dogs can be adrenalin junkies, waiting for their next hit, longing for that chance to really let fly. Can you imagine if you could have that all the time.....argh brain overload, what would end up happening is they would require more and more hits, harder play, faster running and more edge to their play. Its up to us to provide that adrenalin fix with control and balance.

Lola( Across a crowded floor, they worked from 8 till 4) couldn't sleep after her walk on wednesday, in fact she couldn't even come down from the ceiling! Instead of putting herself to bed at 7pm she was still doing the chacha at 10pm. So I thought now was a good time to talk yet again about frustration control amongst other things.

Now parents should know all about teaching your kids that they can't have every sweet in the shop and who can forget that fantastic advert where the child has a screaming tantrum only for the mother to scream back with her own tantrum, classic. Does this mean you should fling yourself on the floor everytime your dog is having a wobbler? Yes ( only joking although I would just LOVE to see that).

So using Lola as an example (at the copa co copacabana)I will try and explain what we have to try and achieve.

So we start very simply at the house.
Calm means collar goes on, same for lead
Then we start walking, no pulling means we continue to head for the van which is the transport to the fun place.
In the van no shouting, digging or chewing means we continue to head towards the fun place. Dogs coming and going in the van all helps towards teaching her patience.
The van stops we are at one of the many fun places.
Dogs come and go, will it be Lola or will it be Vinnie?
Lola is excited and starts squeaking, Vinnie yowls so we give the newbie a chance to get it right....the second she is quiet I lift her out and see if I can calmly put the lead on.
Now the dogs are on the lead off we head, only Lola just cant wait shes jumping about and diving on anyone in close range.
Stop. Using treats I show Lola what I want from her, the quiet dogs are asked to sit and wait.
Off the guys go whilst showing Lola we want calm.
Lola manages to be calm enjoying her treats that distract her.
A good sit and shes off

So you can see how there are many oppurtunity to show her what we want with rewards all the way. Even when she is off we will put her back on the lead intermittently so she doesn't presume its all free playing. Somedays she wont get to free play, or she may get to play with only one. Its all about her understanding there are rules.

So what has this got to do with Lola not being able to sleep? Well she obviously found the free play so exciting she couldn't wind down, bit like a child after a trip out to the fair, they are so tired but can't sleep due to the excitement. This is where you help to teach her how to wind down. Go through the usual routine preparing for bed, make sure she is fed, toiletted and then pop her in the cage or where she normally sleeps. Yes this time she may not manage to settle straight down but by going through an established routine she will soon learn to wind down.

Although this makes sense for puppies, it's also the same for older dogs, they can't just run with wild abandon everytime or the expectation will be there causing a great deal of frustration when they don't get it. Just think of it from our point of view, we turn up at work and we grab a cuppa, get our work together and then have a quick look at the computer, a moment or two on facebook with everyone laughing at whats been . Only one day you go in and the boss stops you. Today you cant go on facebook, the coffee is off the menu and you feel frustrated. It's highly likely you will try and sneak on when no one is looking and even have a sly coffee whilst nipping to the loo.

Dogs do the same, sneaking off to go play with a dog, or pinching food of the bench if they dont get their usual treat.

Well enough of the sensible stuff I'm off for coffee!

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