How to let your dog be a dog!
by Angus Healy // April 2018
How to let your dog be a dog!
To say that we love dogs here at the Dog School Surrey office would be the understatement of the century. Regardless of breed, age, size, or fluffiness, we find our hearts melting at every furry friend that comes along to our classes.
From the wonderful weirdos and the cheeky chappies to the polite princes & princesses and slobbery sleepers, the range of personalities and traits that I see in dogs is endless and will forever fascinate me.
I could go on and on about the pure brilliance that are our faithful dogs, but I fear I would never stop, and that’s exactly the point, we love dogs for all their quirks and wouldn’t change their different personalities for the world!
That being said, there are plenty of things that a dog does that may be less than desired, and while some of these can be helped with a bit of training, there are some that a dog actually needs to do, and instead of trying to stop these traits, perhaps the answer is instead to manage them appropriately…
Chewing and Mouthing
Chewing and mouthing are often associated only while the young pup is teething, however many canines get a huge kick from biting down on a brilliant big ol’ bone (or absolutely anything in the world that can be chewed on). In fact, many dog brains will release a ‘feel good’ chemical whenever a good old chew is occurring. So chewing and chomping actually makes dogs cheerier, that’s scientifically proven (arguably the best kind of proven), therefore it’s so important that we give dogs great things to chew, (thus saving our slippers and skirting boards in the process). Dogs are also great at finding the best way to rip apart the brand-new toy you give them in minutes. Although our first reaction may be to not give them those kinds of toys, in fact, the fact they destroy them shows how much enjoyment they’re getting out of the toy!
Always make sure you’re helping your dog chew the right things by giving them appropriate chews, and removing any items you wish to remain intact from their joyful jaws!
If your dog does get hold of anything you don’t want them to have, do make sure we are swapping the item they have for an item they find just as rewarding (treats or toys) instead of just taking it away from them, in order to prevent any resource guarding!
Billy here absolutely adores a good chew!
Dogs can dig for a number of reasons. Some breeds like to dig to create cooling holes on particularly warm days, others can pick up on vibrations and smells in the ground and simply wish to investigate. Regardless of the reason, we can all agree that a dog digging in the garden is often cause for concern, especially to any budding horticulturalists out there (pun definitely intended). The answer to this confounding conundrum can be as simple as installing a small sandpit in your garden. You can then show them how much better the sandpit is to dig in by partially burying some of their favourite treats and toys in it, and teaching them that it’s the best place in the garden to express excavation.
As a social animal, many dogs will enjoy the interaction with other dogs and people. In fact, for many dogs, the attention that we give as a show of how wonderful they are, is often the best thing in the world (I know it certainly is for my pupper). But as previously stated, all dogs are different, and therefore the way dogs will interact may be entirely different. Some will love to play, others stand and watch, and some may prefer the company of other people or dogs more than the other.
In any of these situations, it is important that we make sure all dogs and people involved with the interaction are comfortable in the situation. If anyone is showing any signs of worry, you need only move away with your dog and make sure everyone gets plenty of praise and reward for doing so!
It is also important to note that some dogs may not enjoy the interaction that much and if so that’s fine. Always look to gradually reintroduce anything that worries your dog at a very gradual pace, and never be afraid to take a step back if your dog shows any signs of worry.
The gorgeous Red and Bella having some great interaction with a toy!
Call it the great unknown, a sense of adventure, or even the smells and sights of a significantly strange yet stupendous space, the art of exploration is an exciting experience to many of our four-legged furry friends.
Giving your dog a fresh new environment can really help with stimulating their brains as they use all their senses to investigate this amazing area that they’ve been brought to, and so often end up having more fun and using up more of that seemingly endless energy than they do on their usual walk. I’ve certainly found that my darling dog conks out more in the evening if I take her on a new walk that day!
Juno loves to explore beautiful beaches!
So let your dog be a dog, and give them these wonderful ways of expressing some of their favourite behaviours, and the powerful bond between you will only be stronger for it! Whenever introducing your dog to something new, be it people, places, dogs or objects, make sure you’re doing it at a pace the dog is comfortable with and watch for any signs of worry to ensure that your perfect pooch remains completely calm and content!