Monday, February 14, 2011

Play with your dog!

Yesterday I had my first session of our new "activity class" - the "scent class". This 3 week fun course is all about playing games where your dog can use his/her nose. To say the least, it was way more fun than I had even anticipated!

But, the moral of this story is this. Dogs love to play with us. Yes, we need to be the leader, we need to set and enforce the rules. We need to set boundaries and do all the right training, etc. However, don't forget to play with your dog. Playing doesn't mean wrestle mania - which alot of our male counterparts like to do! I mean setting up a game where they can use their body, their eyes, their nose. Watching my students "play" was fun. They were so happy, that even the dog that was a bit worried loosened up. We all clapped for each other dogs - we smiled...Alot! The dogs left with their tails wagging and their heads high. They had fun, plain and simple.

Games are whatever you come up with. With my basset Gus, his favorite game was the "pick-em-up Game. It included food, which for a basset is really what's life about. His job was to go find toys and bring them to me. For each toy brought, he would get a cookie. I could get a lot of toys on my lap by the end of our "play"! He had to go "find" them (they were usually just on the floor or in the toy box), but he enjoyed his "search" as he was particular about what he brought. He would RUN to get his toy and RUN to get back to me. I laughed, he laughed, and he ate. A good world for both of us!

So, loosen up a bit, get silly and laugh with your dog. Your games should be something personal and fun. No rules on how to be creative - the only one is have fun!

Enjoy smiling with those pups!

Deb Schneider
Everee, Corky, Eli

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