I believe that all pet parents speak dog-some are quite fluent while others are just learning-even if you think otherwise. Once we have lived with a dog for a while, we figure out her likes, dislikes, and quirks. In the above picture, all of them are in the traveling mode. Easy to see and figure out.
Roxie and Charlie (from left to right) wearing a Gentle Leader or Halti.
What do you think about the above picture? Come on, give it a try! They are both alert and relaxed. This is the body language and state of mind that you want to see in your dog. Anyway, dogs do not come with a manual, and even if they did, dogs are individuals so that manual will only get you so far. My advice to you is to enjoy your dog. Celebrate the little victories when you can, and don’t be too hard on her and yourself when she is not at her best behavior. And when you really don’t know what to do with her, hire professional help. Stay safe.
Let me start this post by saying that there is no such thing as a perfect dog. I could see pet parents red with anger, but allow me to explain. Just like humans, dogs are a work in progress, and that’s ok. But I believe that there is such a thing as the perfect dog for you, the pet parent, and that is a completely other post for the future.
I decided to post about Charlie’s progress, but it dawned on me that I should also post about Charlie’s antics. Why? I want pet parents to know that they are not the only ones feeling lost, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc.
This past weekend we took Abby and Charlie to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD for a nice long walk, and well this is where our odyssey started.
During our walk, we introduced Charlie to water, and being the Sheprador that he is he seemed to enjoy it. We continued our walk, and brace yourself, he saw a squirrel, and although he is doing better when seeing squirrels, he lost it. He barked, pulled, whined, etc. In other words, he put a whole Broadway production for us. I had to hold on to that leash for dear life. Then, after a short period of walking nicely, he saw a bird and wanted to go after it, but with less intensity than with the squirrel. We finished our walk, almost an hour long, gave them water, and put them in the car.
Charlie is a little over 2 years old, and there are times when he walks beautifully even if a bird-he ignores birds for the most part-or squirrel show up, and there are other times like our outing this past weekend when he just goes bananas. What I am trying to say is that your dog will drive you nuts and he will certainly keep your life interesting and unpredictable, but take my word for it when I tell you that this too shall pass. One day, your crazy dog will be a well-behaved dog, and you would say to many people, “My Charlie is the perfect dog for me.” Yes, you will! When? It depends on the dog. Our Abby calmed down around 4-5 years old. I’d say Charlie has another 1-2 more years of craziness in him.
Dogs are not perfect, but who would want a perfect dog? It would be boring. Until your dog matures, he will-many times-misbehave and surprise you. You are just going to have to have patience, be consistent, and remember that life is full of surprises, and so is your dog!
Charlie is doing better every day, so much so that I was able to take him out to the deck-no leash or collar-and let him hang out with Abby while I had some work done outside the house.
By the way, at the beginning he didn’t know how to stay in bed while I was in the kitchen doing dishes, or in the living room watching TV, but lately he has been able to fall asleep and has allowed me to do my chores while he snores. Yes, you read it right, allowed me.
Seriously speaking, sometimes we think that we train our dogs, but I am starting to think that they train us. Oh well! You know what? It’s never a dull moment when you share your life with a dog, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Take care.
As you can see in the above picture, Abby and Charlie take their job seriously. Our routine is to drop off the garbage, sometimes we have to do 2 trips, and pick up our mail.
Charlie’s separation anxiety is slowly starting to disappear. He no longer screams murder when left in a room alone. We’ve been able to go shopping without a problem. Also, Charlie no longer goes bananas when we put Abby in the car first. He gets excited, which is normal, but even that is manageable.
I realized very early on that Charlie needed to get exposed to everything and that’s exactly what we’re doing with him. It helps that Abby is there to lend a paw to her younger brother. To those pet parents out there dealing with a variety of issues, we all have issues by the way, don’t give up and work hard. Our dogs are worth it. Enjoy your weekend!
When a dog gets sufficient mental and physical stimulation, she will be well behaved and balanced. The majority of the “issues” pet parents encounter with their canine companions is due to a lack or inappropriate amount of mental and physical activity.
There are many ways to exercise your dog, these are just some suggestions: running, walking, swimming, kayaking, etc. However you decide to exercise and stimulate your dog with, please start slowly. How do you exercise/stimulate your dog?
Yes, I do believe that most, not all, dog owners are healthier people than those without dogs. I remember a couple of years ago when my Alex was injured and unable to walk with me, I went out by myself to walk, and I still remember how boring it was.
I never did it again. What was the solution? I started to offer dog walking as one of my services. Regardless of your dog’s breed, go out and take him for a walk. A dog will keep you active, and – this is the best part – he or she will surely enrich your life.
If you don’t believe me, ask any pet parent about it, and they will be glad to talk your ear off, and show you an amazing amount of pictures of their fur babies. For those without dogs, give it a try and foster a dog and see how much your life will change.
I’ve met countless of pet parents that are unable to walk their dogs regardless of the dog’s weight, age, breed, etc. My most popular behavior modification class is, Loose Leash Walking with Your Dog. Depending on the dog and handler, getting a dog to walk properly could take one session or a few sessions. Why? Because we will be working on changing a dog’s old bad behavior – pulling on leash – by modifying his behavior and doing so takes time, patience, consistency, and repetition.
Champagne, Abby, and Bentley (L to R)
The cuties in the above picture range from 31lbs., to 119lbs., and they’re all walking with me. If I can do it, so can you! Walking is a great exercise for you and your dog, therefore if you can’t walk your dog properly, find a professional that can help you with this.