From High Value to Humdrum – Living up to the Expectations of my Dogs.

20 Mar

I love spending time with my dogs.  I have fun when they have fun. I feel like I can’t get on with  my day until after they have all gotten some one-on-one attention, training and exercise.  I cook for them. I am always looking for more new and

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

more “exciting” rewards and treats for training. The latest toys from Clean Run and Sit Stay. Dog friendly cabins and beaches. Local dog friendly activities and outings.

I was out for dinner with my husband a few weeks ago at a restaurant that was full of kids. They were either on their iPhones playing video games, running around, yelling, jumping, and generally annoying me. I said to hubby “Man, those kids just need to be constantly entertained, I wouldn’t want to be those parents” and he replied “but we are.” And he was totally right.  I am a great example of trying to provide fulfillment and stimulation for dogs gone overboard.  What used to be enough to tire out the pack for days is now just a “ok” somewhat boring day for them.

First, my husband is home during the week, so the dogs are rarely left alone for more than a few hours at a time.  When he is home the dogs is kept busy playing doorman so they pack can choose inside or outside lounging at their leisure. A “typical” week usually includes: Agility, Obedience, Nosework Classes, Nosework practice, daily training sessions, Nina Ottosan games, Bully Sticks, Stuffed Kongs, Raw bones, walks, runs, hikes, runs on the unlocked ballfield, playing in our 1/3 acre yard, Doggy Daycare, spending the day at the office with me. Weekends may also include Schutzhund practice, Swimming lessons, Agility, Terrier and Nosework trials, trips to St Simons Island or Dog friendly cabins, and visits to dog friendly bakeries, shops and farmers markets in the neighborhood. Already planned for this summer is a weeklong “Dog” vacation in Vermont at Camp Gone to the Dogs (will be my 3rd time there driving from ATL). Their first Barkbox arrived yesterday.

Meals consist of part kibble and part anything else fresh and healthy including meats, veggies, salmon and supplements.

Although providing this for my dogs on an ongoing basis is fun and something I enjoy, I have also created a huge problem for myself.  Of course dogs need the proper nutrition, exercise, stimulation and play, but I am now  having a hard time satisfying my dogs with any amount of anything.

No longer is anything High Value – its all become “the norm” because it happens almost every day.

Sheep Chasing in Vermont

Sheep Chasing in Vermont

When I get home from work I make everyone have a calm greeting with me – no attention if you are going nuts. But then things go rapidily downhill from there.  They all watch to see what I am going to do from the moment I get home.  Ren stares and follows until I show a sign of what might be in store for the evening (like pulling out her Nosework kit).   My 14-year old “retired” Whippet Simon whines and paces hoping we are going to go for a car ride. If I leave my tailgate open, he will go jump in his crate in the back of me Element and just wait. Wyatt paces between me and the bully sticks drawer.  Ivy grabs her Nylabone and rests it on my foot to chew it -moving with me as I move around the house and replacing it on my foot.  They usually then get fed and calm down a bit.

If I head into the bathroom and pick up my brush – they know I (and probably one or more of them) is going somewhere.  They all join me in the bathroom and start to jockey for position close to me – demanding to be the one(s) who get to go out for the evening. Ren then usually starts her double-paw rapid digging on my leg just to make sure she has my attention.  Then we all pile in the Element and go do whatever class or outing is planned. If I am taking Wyatt and Ivy on a long walk, after that outing I return and take Simon and Ren on a short walk just so they don’t feel left out.

Last night at Ivy’s obedience class she got some roast beef as a reward, and was about excited for it as she would be a piece of kibble. So where do I go from here??

Doggie Detox is starting today.

No outings, activities, training, treats, presents, dog bakeries, or massages until Monday (The exercise and walks will continue though) Will be good to give the puppy a training break anyway. I need to hit the reset button. I need a trip to the Farmers Market & Dog Bakery to be a fun special event – not just part of the expected and demanded routine. I need Ivy to care that she is getting Roast Beef instead of kibble.

Should be an interesting experiment. Looking forward to see what if anything changes. The first few days are going to be very interesting.

The BarkBox is going to have to remain unopened for a few days…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: