you are part of a pack, and if you are not doing the thinking and training, Your dog(s) is! This is a very interesting and dynamic opportunity to redirect behaviors that are unsafe and/ or annoying. Here is an example;
I had done obedience training with 3 or 4 dogs before I had kids.. so I kinda knew what I needed to do to live happily with dogs.. Through horses I met a little Jack Russel Terrier named “Bud”. Best darn farm dog I had met.. short and stocky with up ears and a brown patch over one eye on his otherwise all white body. When “Bud” became a dad, my husband had an opportunity to barter for a puppy.. and so “Jack” came into our household.
As a puppy Jack was easily over stimulated and often wide open, and full grown at 12 pounds, totally portable.! Jack became an important part of our family and went where ever we went. Like his Dad, Jack loved to fetch and if I had a ball, I had Jacks attention. Jack quickly had me trained to throw his ball through his insistent barking. Stall cleaning, the quiet reflective chore that it is, became constant barking.. he had done it.. he barked, I threw the ball… over and over.. Finally, I realized what I had become, and that I was trained..! I knew I needed to fix this and teaching him to not bark was not happening.. I needed to teach him something else. I noticed that occasionally he would push the tennis ball with his nose, and when he did this he was not barking.. Jack quickly learned what “push it” meant, graduated to soccer balls, and went on to become a star soccer mascot for my sons soccer team, but that is another story. Jack taught me if you have a dog that is motivated, teaching is a breeze. Jacks motivation was a ball.
Dealing with bad behavior
Barking was just a small part of Jacks annoying behaviors, and living with a Jack Russel Terrier is not a task for the lazy. Jack was the smallest dog I’ve ever owned, but he had the biggest heart and garnered respect where ever he went. Never mean or aggressive, but always ready to take on the biggest foe if necessary. Jack could of been a difficult dog, but because we were an active family, and he was able to go with us, he got a lot of exercise.
Exercise makes dogs happy, and happy dogs make for happy owners.
No matter where you live, the size or breed of your dog(s), or the weather, there are many options for getting your dog a little physical and mental stimulation while benefiting yourself as well.
Doggie day care facilities, swimming pools for dogs and dog walkers
There are dog parks and retail outlets that allow dogs.
And all kinds of cool sports and activities that people are doing with their dogs, from dock diving, nose work, agility, fly ball and barn hunts…
And the best thing about getting out with your dog(s) is the people that you will meet. I highly recommend starting out with a obedience lesson at a couple different facilities if possible. Meet the people, watch a class or two before you register and learn a bit about their training methods. Many times we become so compliant At home with our dogs, we don’t even realize how alone we are. If you allow your dogs to give you a reason to get out and explore new adventures, you will be amazed at the camaraderie, support and new doors that will be open for you.
Remember, in a multiple dog household, try to find something that each one of your dogs enjoys, and spend a few minutes of your time daily enjoying life with your dogs using the motivation that your dog enjoys most.