This past week has been extremely busy for me, and while i’m getting a lot of things done that I need to get done, i’ve not been spending as much time exercising the dogs, and it’s showing.
As a trainer, the most valuable skill I have is my assessment of a dog, which gets better with more experience. Being able to understand not only what the dog is doing, but why they’re doing it helps to narrow down the source of behavior we don’t want, and how to correct that behavior. In this case, the issue I kept facing was lack of obedience, specifically lack of timely command response. In moving to make corrections, Kirby has a tendency to just flop down, Scout will work on melting into the floor, and Amp tends to take off, seeking the comfort of his crate. That last one is a big problem, especially when he has muddy feet, and doesn’t let me wipe them off before traipsing all over the house, so i’m working on getting him into the habit of wiping feet.
However, rather than punish for this errant behavior, because I understand they’re anxious, and dealing with some pent-up energy, I chose instead to back off a little, gently make the needed corrections, and then go wear them out at the dog park.
We’ve been twice this weekend so far, and it’s been wonderful to see them run (except Kirby, he’s on restricted activity), play, and explore. Scout, of course, is happy to be the ‘bullet dog, fastest fur-missile in the land!’, while Amp is happy to simply wander along, occasionally breaking into a trot.
Giving them an hour or so at the dog park is a great idea, one to aim for every day, but at least once or twice a week. Generally speaking, if your dog is ‘acting up’ or ‘acting out’, your first stop should be to the dog park so they can burn off some energy, and make sure you stick around after they get tired so you can give them a second chance to run if the wind kicks up.
Getting back to the mutts, Kirby is doing alright with his ‘trick knees’; he’s taking painkillers to help him relax, he gets help going up stairs or onto elevation (i.e. getting on the bed, his favorite place to be!), and he’s getting ready for surgery.
Amp is still enjoying life, working on his manners, and is slowly getting used to be handling his paws. We did get to teeth brushing for Amp this week as well, and while he was not a fan, he suffered through the ordeal, and was quickly enjoying pearly white teeth…. chomping on chicken jerky.
Scout is doing fine, still happy to tell me that ‘boys are dumb’, and occasionally stirs stuff up among them to get someone to chase her, but they all get along well.
I’m looking forward to getting Amp into a home of his own, preferably with two kids that want to play with him a lot, and to getting Kirby into surgery one of two (they’ll work on one leg at a time to ease the overall burden for him) for his knees.
Stay tuned for more adventures of the mutts!