“You’re boring” is the answer I was given when I asked why Maddy wasn’t interested in dog training with me this past week. Not just me apparently, all owners are boring. Now I make a living playing with dogs so I must say I was a little offended by this statement. Then I looked again…
People are predictable. We don’t take the time to sniff the flowers, fallen logs or whatever else dogs find fascinating. We tend to just walk along in a very predictable fashion sometimes chatting with friends more often than not checking our phones. Being complete bores to our dogs!
Meanwhile your dog is running, sniffing, playing and having the time of their life! Take a page from your dog. Enjoy the moment, enjoy every moment! When out walking or training with your dog engage with them. Be more interesting than what their sniffing. Be unpredictable. If your dog has tuned you out, tune them back in by doing something so out of the ordinary for you that they just have to check in to see what happens. I spent the better part of a week running around like the kid from Home Alone when Maddy continued to tune me out. Guess what? Every time I did she ran over to see what the heck I was doing.
Take off running in the other direction, hide behind a tree. Pull out a tug toy or a ball and randomly start to play with them. Your dog will quickly become very interested in what you have to say or do. When your dog finds you more interesting suddenly they become better doggy citizens. You won’t worry about them wandering off, annoying that dog on a leash that’s approaching you or be off eating something tasty in the bushes (most of the time).
That’s not to say its fail safe. If you have a dog with behavior issues and you are out in public it is still up to you to provide a safe environment for you, your dog and anyone you may come in contact with. However it does create a better bond between you and your dog. Your dog won’t see training or walking as that boring activity that the human makes them endure. They are now that special time where you and your dog get to bond. You’ll find that you enjoy those times infinitely more as well. Your dog should find these activities so much fun that they are begging you to take them heeling or recalls or dumbbell retrieving.
Your dog knows how to have a good time, let them show you how much fun playtime can be!