Keeping a diary of activities is interesting, at least at first. It allows us to write down activities (walks, nosework games, places to explore, self-help games, …), but also the reactions of our dogs (excited, serene, hesitant, fearful, responsive, …).
We can check can keep track, on one hand that activities are varied (different places for walks, encounters with strangers, variations of games and hiding places, …) and on the other hand, that the evolution of our dog is respected (he is not jaded / he is able to manage the progression of difficulties).
No matter the offered activities, it is important to let our dog:
- observe and analyze with all his senses,
- take initiatives and decisions,
- pause if needed,
- face difficulties.
Observe and analyze with all his senses
Any activity activates his senses. A walk means: smelling every pole or blade of grass; watching a butterfly fly or a car passing by; listening to birds sing or the wind in the tree leaves, feeling the different floor coverings with their pads, tasting the water of a puddle of or chew a piece of wood. To be able to analyze and memorize each element of his environment, it takes time.
Take initiatives and decisions
During the walk, for example, let us our dog walk wherever he wants around us. Maybe the fence of a garden or an electric pole will be very interesting. And if this tree had an unknown smell … let us our dogs explore at their own pace, stop, explore again and leave.
If a dog finds it interesting to explore our laundry mane or the underside of a piece of furniture? As long as the dog’s safety is not threatened, let it go. A curious dog is a healthy dog!
Take a break if needed
During the walk our dog may need to take a break. Stopping, nose in the wind, and watching the world go by is a rare pleasure.
The same goes for a self-help activity: it is useless to insist that the dog continues. Can we force someone to focus? No ! On the other hand, to take a break to better resume afterwards is the ideal solution. Let us do the same for our dog.
We tend to protect small dogs, we take them into our arms and we take them from one place to another. These dogs know our arms, our neck and our chin perfectly. But what do they know about the rest of the world?
A fearful dog makes us feel pity and, to protect him, we keep him away from what puts him in difficulty. If we organize activities, making sure that we give enough time and space for our fearful dog, he learns for himself that he is capable of doing things. Each small victory is then a reward for our dog, who gains a little more confidence, each time he manages to overcome a challenge.
For the activities and games that we organize, it is important to assess the level of difficulty by adapting the challenge to the abilities of our companion: too difficult exercises lead to failure after failure and we might loose our dog’s confidence, while too easy exercises lacking challenges, can frustrate our dog. It’s up to us to choose what suits him best, physically and mentally.
- Keeping a diary can help us organize adapted and varied activities;
- Vary the pleasures, respecting the evolution and the rhythm of our dog;
- A curious dog is a healthy dog;
- Breaks are allowed and beneficial;
- Balanced activities for a balanced dog.