Wags Blogs – Behavioural Series – Setting your Dog up for Success
Throughout the following series of blogs we will be exploring behavioural issues that owners frequently experience in respect of their Dogs and the various methods and techniques, which can be employed in order to help resolve them.
Resolving a behavioural issue in Dogs can be difficult. It often requires a significant amount of time, patience and commitment from the owner. As with any problem in life, it is far better to proactively prevent a problem from occurring then to try and fix it once it has. As such, in this the first blog in our behavioural series, we will look at how owners can help to do this by setting their Dog up for success
What do we mean by setting a Dog up for success?
As we have frequently made reference to in previous Blogs, however close the bond between humans and Dogs, Dogs are ultimately a different species with a very different way of experiencing the world. We simply cannot expect them to navigate our complex human society without providing them with guidance and support.
In short when we talk about setting a Dog up for success we mean doing everything possible to give them the best possible chance of coexisting happily with their families and with all of the other humans and animals they are likely to encounter within their lifetime.
So how can we set a Dog up for success?
The answer that the vast majority of people would reach for would be training. Although, training is undoubtedly important and can play a fundamental role in developing a Dogs’ basic life skills as well as enhancing the bond between a Dog and their owner, it is actually only part of a much bigger picture.
In truth we must start on a far more basic level.
As our understanding of Dogs develops we are beginning to understand that diet can play a big part not only in a Dogs’ state of health, but also in their behaviour.
Looked at simply, food is fuel. By giving a Dog a balance of the vitamins and nutrients they require, we put them in a much better position from which to cope with the world
Sadly a huge proportion of the Dog foods available in today’s market contain very little nutritious value and due to clever marketing many Dog owners fail to realise that their Dog is just not getting the fuel they need to thrive.
Doing even a small amount of research about exactly what your Dogs’ food actually contains and how might affect them can make a very big difference
At Wags Dog Day Care we have nutritional experts who can offer you support if you feel you need it.
The physical abilities of Dogs are simply incredible. We must remember that many Dogs are built to roam over huge distances and have huge amounts of stamina and energy. Many owners recognise that their Dogs need walking, but in truth this is just one form of exercise.
As with anything we do for our Dogs, it is much wiser to give them a balance of physical activities. For example, walking, running, swimming, digging, agility. When we actually consider it, there are many physical activities we can offer our Dogs, it just requires some thought. However, as with any other aspect of caring for our Dogs, putting a little thought into offering them variety in this area can go a long way in making sure they live a long and happy life
Giving our Dogs enjoyable mental challenges is not only a great way of helping them to drain their energy, but also one of the best ways to help them become confident problem solvers.
By giving them a chance to exercise their mind and learn we can in fact encourage them to think rather than panic when presented with a new experience. This will make it far easier for our Dogs to cope well with new situations and makes it far less likely that behavioural issues will arise.
There are lots of ways to give Dogs the opportunity to use their brain, but the best way is through playing games with them on a one to one basis for shorts periods as frequently as possible.
There are lots of good books out there which help owners to use things they already have at home to create fun little games for their Dogs to enjoy and learn from.
For those owners who prefer to buy games for their Dog they are available at relatively low cost.
Once again the Wags team can offer advice in this area to those who would like it.
Dogs beyond any other species on the planet seem to be able to read our emotional state with a great deal of success. They are very responsive to our moods and the emotional environment in which they are in. It sounds simple, but dealing with our Dogs in a calm manner gives them a sense of security which allows them to respond in a calm way. Of course this is only part of the equation.
Dogs seem to thrive when they socialise. This means in order for them to be happy and balanced they need to be given lots of opportunity to do this.
Our Dogs should be given the opportunity to socialise with as many different people and animals as possible as well as the chance to explore new environments
Playing with other Dogs is a great release and gives Dogs a chance to build upon vital social skills they need to live a happy life
Having read all of the above one thing should stand out: This isn’t rocket science
In fact, setting our Dogs up for success is actually reasonably simple. Our Dogs need balance. A balanced diet, a balance of physical mental and emotional stimulation, a balanced approach from their owner
If we provide our Dogs with balance, we set them up for success!