this one article, I would like you to try to imagine you
are your dog. As a dog you world's experiences are limited
by the humans who take care of you. You cannot open doors
for yourself, feed or get water for yourself, you can't
even decide on the times you have to go to the bathroom.
You are solely dependent on the people that you live with.
Since your life revolves around those people, you are constantly
watching them for behavioral cues that might include you
in what they are doing or that might be directly related
to your needs. Also since you are on constant vigilance
as to their movements and emotions you have become an expert
at judging their moods.
us look at an average day for you being a dog. You are relatively
tired from getting bad nights sleep. Why? Because the house
was to warm or it was too cold and you could not change
the temperature on the thermostat. Nevertheless, morning
rolls around and you are woken up and told its time for
you to go to the bathroom. A door is opened and you are
let out. No real hugs and kisses, or playtime, just a cursory
good morning (like you hear from a retail sales person saying,
"have a nice day"). There is a lot of dew on the ground
this morning, your feet are soaked, and due to a little
brisk wind, you become chilled. However, no one will pay
attention to that. The door is opened so you can get back
in and your food is thrown down on the floor for you to
eat. While you are eating, your owners are getting ready
to go to work. You have finished eating just in time because
now that door is open again. You have to go outside to relieve
yourself because if you do not for the next eight, nine,
or ten hours are going to be very unpleasant for you. After
a hurried few minutes outside, because your owner is standing
by the door impatiently yelling for you to come in, you
go back in the house. Your owners are now going to be gone
for the next eight, nine, or ten hours. You are alone, bored,
unhappy, feeling unloved and with nothing to keep you stimulated.Then,
not to deviate from this line of thinking, you live in a
house where there is anywhere from a quarter of an acre
to 10 zillion acres. The door that is opened for you to
go out to go to the bathroom is closed on you with you being
on the outside. You cannot get real rest because you have
been left out to the elements and the other distractions
that are out there that you cannot control.
hours go by slowly and since there is absolutely nothing
for you to do you sleep. Waking up every so often to either
get a drink or nibble on some dry commercial dog food that
was left down for you. The one ever so dismal highlight
of your day is when the mailman comes. It gives you a couple
of minutes of allowing yourself to express your thoughts,
but with the mailman just as your owners, it falls on deaf
after eight to ten hours your owners come home. One of your
owners is in a hurry because that owner has to go to some
kind of meeting and he is yelling at the other owner about
something or other. You cannot make out what that owner
is saying but you know one thing from being so observant
and watching their moods, you know that that owner is angry.
Now you are afraid because you do not understand what is
going on and you think that the anger is directed at yourself.
That owner finally leaves and the other owner is now upset
and angry. Finally, that owner lets you out to go to the
bathroom, if that owner remembers. You are now supposed
to forget the goings on in the house and relieve yourself.
This has always been hard for you to do because once you
become upset and scared from the house-goings-on it is difficult
for you to do anything but be afraid. Again, it seems like
seconds have passed, that infamous door opens up and the
same old yelling begins for you to come into the house.
When you get in waiting on the floor is your dinner. The
other owner is crying and upset which affects you but you
have to eat because if you don't the food will be picked
up and you will have to wait all night until the morning
before you are fed again.
evening is no different from any other evening. You lay
around with very little attention paid to you because the
owner that is home is catching up on all the things that
have to be taken care of. About three hours later that owner
finally sits down in front of the television and puts a
hand on top of your head acknowledging that you are there.
The other owner finally comes home and lets you out through
that door again. Moreover, just like clockwork after a few
minutes you are being yelled at to come in the house again.
Both owners then retire and another day has passed in your
to say this is not a blueprint for every home but after
visiting thousands upon thousands of homes doing dog consultations
almost 99% of the homes do not deviate very much from the
TO MAKE YOUR DOG HAPPY
above rendition has been given to you as a foundation for
the advice that I will now give you. The only way to take
your dog out of the devastating abyss that you have placed
him in is exercise. Exercise stimulates the mind, the body,
and makes for a happier and healthier dog. But what is exercise?
You are about to tell me you have property big enough for
him to exercise in. WRONG!! Picture yourself going to the
same place every day from morning to night for 30 days.
The same place (your backyard) is not exercise because your
backyard becomes commonplace and claustrophobic for your
dog. Nothing is new, nothing changes, it is what the old
timers called "CABIN FEVER".
you are about to tell me that you do care for your dog and
you religiously take him out for a walk every night or every
where you go in the car you bring your dog. Neither one
of these constitutes exercise. The walk at night is boring
and does not allow your dog to be a dog. The car trips are
worse because not only is he not allowed to be a dog but
he is now confined in a area that is "cabined fever". However,
my dog is happy going for his walks and riding in the car
- bologna. He has a choice between his mind-destroying cabin
fever of every day or having a substitution of other stimulus,
which is better than the latter but is still mind destroying.
So what is the answer?
dog should be taken a minimum of three times a week to a
strange field. Before you go to this field, you construct
a lead made out of clothesline. For dogs less than 50 pounds,
the lead should be 50 feet long, for dogs over 50 pounds
the lead should be 100 feet long. Always make sure their
are two collars on the dog that are attached to the lead
- one collar should be a choker the other can be a flat
collar. The live link on the choker and the link on the
flat collar should be attached to the lead you have constructed.
If he slips the flat or the choker, you will not loose your
dog because it is highly improbable that both collars would
be slipped. You then go to the field and let your dog run
his butt off. You walk with the dog so he always has enough
of the lead to keep investigating and running in his new
surroundings. I go by the three lay-down rule. When the
dog has lain down three times it is time to take him home.
Remember always have fresh water available to him to he
does not get heat prostrated.
second week you find another field and do the same thing
as above. Each week you try to find a new field to give
him his exercise. If after three weeks you run out off fields
start over on the first one again. It is your responsibility
to find as many fields as you can so he does not get cabin
fever. Now what do you think is going to change in your
dog's personality doing the right type of exercise program?
HE WILL BE MORE RELAXED IN THE HOUSEHOLD
2. USUALLY AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS EXERCISING THE NUISANCE
BARKING AND OTHER ANNOYING HABITS STOP (OR IF THEY DON'T
COMPLETELY STOP THERE IS A MAJOR DECREASE IN THEM)
3. IF YOU HAVE A DOG THAT JUMPS THE FENCE OR TUNNELS UNDER
(GEE NOW YOU KNOW WHY HE WAS DOING THOSE THINGS) USUALLY
THOSE BEHAVIORS STOP
4. HIS COAT MUSCLES, MIND, AND ATTITUDE SHOWS DEFINITE POSITIVE
5. IF THE DOG IS GOING TO BE TRAINED THIS EXERCISE PROGRAM
BECAUSE OF ALL THE POSITIVE CHANGES MAKES THE TRAINING EASIER
NOT ONLY FOR THE DOG BUT THE OWNERS
line here is that exercise is a win-win situation for not
only the dog but also the owners. You cannot talk about
it you have to do it. You as a dog owner have the responsibility
to make sure that your dog's life is as physically and mentally
comfortable as possible. Now you know a way to do that.
Now it is up to you.
by Neal Seaman