Read body language
If you look after your dog’s confidence your dog will be able to handle life in a better way. Know when your dog needs your help. They don’t always like a scenario that you think will be fun, a visitor or a pub dinner or a walk with other dogs. For us they may seem normal and fun but not all dogs are happy with these meet ups, don’t be upset by them. Notice them. Read subtle signs, a gentle look, a lip lick, maybe a worried glance or a soft help me sign.
Guard the optimism
Optimism is something you will know as a person, some days we feel more optimistic than others, and that’s okay. Guard your dog’s optimism, don’t let them stress or worry beyond what is essential. Let’s say your dog doesn’t like loud noises try to have music on in the presence of noises to soften the sound or try to give them a safe space to be. Let’s say your dog is worried by a certain type of dog, try to give them maximum space when out and about, or maybe forgo the walk if you sense your dog’s optimism is in need of a boost. Guard the optimism – its liquid gold in your relationship and a very special quality in a dog.
Play with rubbish
This sounds nuts hey? Well we know that many optimists can lose their optimism and many pessimists are game to grow and learn be that human or dog. So we LOVE this game. Take some old cardboard boxes and any recycling that’s safe. Scatter food amongst the rubbish, let your dog explore and boost optimism at the same time. Recycling and optimism go hand in hand – remember no pressure and keep it easy! Recycling ROCKS!
Make body contact FUN
Make handling part of your day time games. We love a dog who loves to be handled. Make it part of your everyday life, intertwine it and ensure it’s not forgotten. It’s a basic yet invaluable and often forgotten skill. Start slow and build as you go, the bonus is it develops an awesome relationship at the same time as building confidence.
- Gently stroking ears
- Lifting paws
- Checking pads
- Looking under their tail
- Cleaning their eyes
- Stroking the length of their bodies and limbs
You really can work with whatever works for you and your dog and remember to guard the optimism. Only work within what you and your dog are happy with!
So, how can you make your dog more FLEXIBLE? Let’s look at just a few options: Change the following:
- The way you feed. Interactive feeding is the way forward. Please make sure you look at our ditch the food bowl eBook!
- The way you exercise. Think different locations, on lead or off lead, staying at home and doing all round fitness games, figure eight in the supermarket car park. There are so many options.
- Your training routine – how long, how short, where and when – mix it up.
- Your comings and goings on a day to day basis. Human life is usually set to the clock, think creatively about when you leave, what you wear, where you eat your breakfast. Seriously, the possibilities for flexibility are endless.
- How you use objects in your dogs environment. Take a simple stool. Can you get front paws on, rear paws on, head on, head under, a sit on the stool, lean against it, wrap around it? The possibilities are endless. Can your dog do multi behaviours with the same object? Now that’s flexible!
3 Minute Games to build Confidence
Grow and intertwine three minute games into yours and your dogs lives. It’s simply the best way to get your dog to engage and learn at just the right level. Name and list your favourite three minute games…..three minutes of magic, three minutes turn to miracles…..
Grow CALMNESS and Rest time
Not only is it important to ditch the routine and improve flexibility, it’s also super important to give your dog DOWNTIME. We find that this is so under-appreciated in an everyday dog’s life!
Time for calming activities: to chew; to find food in a snuffle mat; to investigate a stuffed chew; or to find scattered food in the garden and, of course, time for quality rest.
Our dogs’ lives should NOT be all about go, go, go, high arousal games and activities. We need to make sure we include great downtime! We would like you to try to mix calming activities into your dogs day and you’ll find your dog is much more able to perform as you need and think smarter. These activities are so super for developing your dog’s ability to make good choices – you just need to get started.
Build on your strengths and the weaknesses gradually take care of yourself
List over the last two weeks three of your strengths. It’s human nature to find the weaknesses we want to hear about your can-do moments, for we believe that success comes in cans, not can’ts.
Need help with building your dog’s confidence – head on over to: www.devondogs.co.uk or, if you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to combine a holiday with dog training, check out our training packages HERE.
Check out more of our Thursday training blogs HERE.