Today’s post was inspired by my friend Donna over at Donna and the Dogs.
I opened my google reader this morning and was greeted by this, When Did We All Become BAD Dog Owners?
It seems Donna’s been noticing a trend of people (including yours truly) who feel guilty about the amount of exercise their dogs have been (or not been) getting.
I feel like it’s important to know your dog and know what your dog requires for exercise AND to try different things to find the perfect fit. Not every dog needs the same kind or amount of exercise.
When we got Sampson at eight weeks old, he didn’t get a lot of exercise. I started taking him for walks after work but as he got bigger he became more and more of a punk, so I stopped walking him.
We tried to play fetch with him, but it wasn’t his thing. He would chase the ball once or twice and then lay on it as if to say, I’m done.
He did like puppy play group which took place one day per week, and of course we did the standard obedience training. That was it. We had a really laid back, low-key lifestyle and Sampson adjusted to it.
When he was a bit older we started hiking on the weekends and quickly realized this was something he loved. The hiking stopped for a while when Delilah joined our pack but I’ve recently taken it up again.
What I’ve discovered from Delilah’s addition to our pack is that in terms of quality and quantity of exercise, I have two vastly different dogs.
Sampson really, really loves his walk. If he never got another lick of exercise in his life as long as he had an off-leash walk he’s quite content.
Delilah LOVES to play fetch in the water and can do it for hours, Sampson hates it.
Delilah is also very happy to take a walk, but she has a different level of energy and she also needs some mental stimulation, which is why I started taking her to agility class.
Sampson HATES agility.
Delilah, I’m not so sure, but I’m working on finding different things to try with her.
I’m always amazed at the dogs participating in our Thursday night agility class. Last week we had an Alaskan Malamute, an Akita, two Labs, an Australian Shepard, a Pittie mix and two other breeds I’m unsure of.
Two weeks ago, I watched the Pittie’s mom struggle through the course using bits of food for motivation, it seems Brisco only wanted to play with the squeaky ball. Sara suggested instead of treats that the mom use the ball as a reward. Brisco had a much better run.
This past week I happened to be next to her in class and I observed the two of them together, she was still struggling. This guy has a LOT of energy, he’s actually quite a hoot to watch. I wondered as I stood there, if maybe agility just wasn’t his thing.
But how do you say that to someone?
When we had each completed our runs I asked her if she had considered fly ball for Brisco or Treibball. She had never heard of either so I quickly pulled up a Treibball video on youtube and let her check it out and explained as best I could what flyball was.
I don’t ever want to discourage anyone from interacting with their dogs, but I also believe that not all dogs are cut out for all things. If you find something that your dog loves to do, then you should do it.
It shouldn’t matter if your neighbor next door takes their dog running every morning, it might not be YOUR dog’s thing.
Find something you and your dog both like and do it, don’t worry what anyone else is doing, the important thing is that you are BOTH enjoying it.
Just Be The Dog.