Every dog’s daily routine must include four essentials in order to keep them calm, happy, engaged, and well balanced. With all four elements consistently included in their daily routine you will have a dog that is interested in learning, finds a variety of experiences rewarding, and will rely on you for the next great thing – rather than seeking out unwanted stimulation from distractions.
Without these four essential elements, a dog becomes bored (destructive), frustrated (reactive), distracted, and even aggressive. Do any of these sound familiar? Then read on to start turning things around for you and your dog!
Your dog needs REST. Every day your dog makes countless choices and engages in a multitude of activities. Your dog expends energy making their choices and the resulting activity. As we get tired, we don’t always make the best choices or react as we should – the same is true of our dogs. Rest takes many different forms, the Rock Solid Dog incorporates all forms of rest so they can respond at their best throughout their day.
WORK keeps your dog from getting frustrated, bored, or anxious. Never mistake letting your dog wander aimlessly in the back yard for work or exercise … it is neither. Work is physical AND mental challenge, focused and directed toward a reward. Anything that is readily available to your dog (like a toy that constantly sits in the corner) has little value to your dog – but something unique carries great value so working for a reward that can only be obtained from you becomes a win / win for both you and your dog!
The things your dog wants to do would meet your dog’s definition of FUN. And if you want your dog’s attention, response, and affection – you had best provide them with opportunities to go sniff, to run off leash, to chase a tennis ball, swim, whatever safe activities they desire. The key is to be your dog’s gateway to the fun, not an opposing force against the fun. If your dog trusts that you will give them the opportunity to have fun, they will willingly work for that chance. Training through this program, you will acquire a bundle of games that are not only fun for you and your dog, but will also help you to encourage the desirable behaviors you want from your dog.
Finally, your dog needs to be filled with the joy of SUCCESS in order to remain confident and relaxed in any situation. If your dog has a long history of great experiences with you, they will approach anything new with a more positive attitude rather than cowering and getting defensive. Think in terms of greeting people and other dogs appropriately, walking on different surfaces for the first time or entering new surroundings. Dogs that are happy and confident because of a positive history with that person on the other end of the leash succeed more often and that’s how success breeds success.
So how do you incorporate all four of these elements in to your dog’s routine? Well that’s a bit more than we have space for here.