There is so much to think about when raising an animal. I think it's human nature to get hung up on what we don’t like - the dog digs, the dog barks, the dog chases the cat. And, it's part of our modern culture to want it fixed yesterday. For this activity, I'm gonna ask that you slow your roll and step back to take a mountain top view of your life as a dog parent.
To do this, we're going to dig into the 8 Dimensions of Wellness from the dog parent perspective. With each dimension, I recommend writing down your thoughts. After, take a second pass through your notes and highlight a dimension or even some topics that you'd like to improve upon. You'll notice overlapping, which is perfect! Taking small steps to make little changes has a ripple effect.
As always, share with me if you'd like the accountability or additional resources!
Next Up: Making Change
Emotional Wellness - This dimension is all about relationships, coping with ups and downs, and your feelings.
Plenty in Life is Free - Kathy Sdao
How Dogs Drive Emotional Well-Being
Spiritual Wellness - This dimension is all about the here and now. Use this opportunity to reflect on what having your pet brings to your life in this moment. For fun, what do you bring to your dog's life in this moment. Is time spent with your dog split between scrolling social media or working at your desk? Does your dog have moments where he gets all of you?
Bones Would Rain from the Sky - Suzanne Clothier
Environmental Wellness - There is no denying that bringing a strange species into your home changes your environment - what have you done to change the environment to best suit your dog? Many common behavior concerns can be addressed with well-managed space and having a plan to set you and your pup up for success. Think about what works and doesn’t work in your home and outdoor environment.
How to Keep Your Dog Calm When the Doorbell Rings
How to Train a "Crazy" Dog
Physical Wellness - Fitness needs to be a part of a dogs' everyday life. Like us, most American dogs are getting too little. The amount of physical activity required will vary based on breed and age, but in general dogs need 30 - 60 minutes (more for high energy breeds) of purposeful activity each day. For many dogs, a neighborhood walk or solo mosey in the backyard just won’t cut it...but it’s a great place to start. What is your dog’s current physical activity program?
Financial Wellness - Having a pet is not cheap. Knowing what you spend each year on your dog’s healthcare, food, play, daycare/walking, and dog training is important for understanding your overall financial wellness. It can also (and should also) be of great value when considering adding another animal to your home. Take a few moments to create your 2020 pet budget.
Intellectual Wellness - Training should be a part of every dog’s life, not just when your dog's behavior bothers you. On the flip side, when you commit to caring for a dog, you'd better put in some effort to learn about that species
Don't Shoot the Dog - Karen Pryor
10 Reasons Your Dog May Develop a Behavioral Problem
Vocational Wellness - a bored dog will make up their own activities and it's unlikely you will enjoy what they come up with. Chewing, digging, and barking are all fun pastimes for dogs and likely something that you call a trainer like me to help with. When considering vocational wellness, we don't need to think about a job in a traditional sense, but what meaningful "work" can we give dogs on a daily basis to encourage them to engage more.
Does Your Dog Require a Leader? If So, What Kind?
Check out the Facebook group - Canine Enrichment
Social Wellness - Your dog is a social creature and you are her social director. So, what’s on the schedule? Each dog has difference preferences and those preferences should be a priority when it comes to providing social outlets. Who does your dog enjoy spending time with? Does your dog get to explore new spaces? How frequently to you provide these opportunities?
January is National Train Your Dog Month, so what better time to amp up your training skills? We're kicking off with a winter training challenge and this one...has a twist.
Human behavior change is my jam. I spent the majority of my professional career working in fitness as a department manager and fitness trainer. My role provided me with the opportunity to teach and certify up and coming fitness pros, supervise a big, energetic crew, and supply thousands in my community with the opportunity to get fit, have fun, and learn new skills. It's an important piece of why I love dog training - I like training with YOU.
It's Not Working
We have all had that moment, or likely many, many moments, where we feel like training isn’t going as expected. It's not working, we say. It’s very easy to blame it on the dog - she’s stubborn, he doesn’t work for food, he only does it when he wants to - and then we get frustrated. That frustration can lead us to look for new solutions and quick fixes.
While this may not be a bad thing (I love creativity!) there is a good chance that you are throwing in the towel before giving training, real training, a fair shake.
Training Works Like Training, Not Like Magic
Dog training is technical. It's creative. It's scientific. It's mechanical. And, it involves a learner who has their own things going on. So, here's the thing: if you find that force free training isn't getting the results you hoped for, there is a really good (like, really, really good) chance that you’re doing something, and quite possibly, many somethings, wrong.
Ouuuuch - I know it stings to hear that you're doing not-so-good, but get over it because we're going to get better. I will hear your frustrations, I will empathize with you that it sucks when you aren't seeing results, but for the love of dog, we have to assess and fix your skill set. You're raising an entirely different species. This is not easy.
So, don't jump ship, don't say that force free training doesn't work, don't quit, and definitely don't look toward electric or pokey devices to solve your problems.
Let's Up Your Game
We're starting with you because there is important work to be done before you strap on the treat bag.
Your dog (say hi for me) gets to kick back and reap the benefits. Woof.
Challenge 1: Quality Leadership
Want accountability? Share your challenge responses with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch For It - Next Challenge: Self Assessment
Local Dog Adventure Blog
Join me and my 3-dog crew as we share our stories of training and adventure. Whether you're a newly leashed dog guardian, veteran handler, weekend warrior, cuddle on the couch sort, got yourself a fancy AF purebred or filthy, little mudblood, all are welcome in the Local Dog Tribe. If you want your pooch to think you're the coolest thing since sliced hot dogs, read on!