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My Dog & I: Take Me With You – Janine Lazarus

Having a dog means adding a new member to your family…We have all heard that…but…making space for that new member in our daily patterns is often not included in our plans.

We bring home, bring in and shop for these new additions without truly understanding that this new being will want to be included in our “pack” and our daily activities.

This article was inspired by a question from one of my clients…

This article was inspired by a question from one of my clients about what to do when she had ballgames and events to attend with her kids and had to leave her young dog at home. “What should I do, then? Take him with me?”

I have many clients who now include their pets when they shop, work and visit friends.

My answer was “Yes!” and why not? If your young dog is regularly exposed to a soccer field and excited parents and kids all over the place, he will think it is normal. If you take your dog with you when you go to Lowes to shop, he will learn to be comfortable walking beside you at Lowes. If you bring your dog to the office with you and ask him to hang out in a bed or crate while you work, it will become part of his daily routine.

Of course, this cannot be the case for everyone and sometimes ballgames are held inside with a “no dogs” policy but you would probably be surprised at how dog friendly the world has recently become and if your dog is polite and well behaved he will often be a pleasant addition to the party.

I have many clients who now include their pets when they shop, work and visit friends. Of course, this refers to “kids” that are “raised right” but “training” a dog to be a good buddy is not just a job for professionals.

How many of us took parenting classes before embarking on child-rearing? It did not take a professional to tell us that our children need to have nice manners and take heed of their parents for their own safety. We did not have to be told that our children would suffer consequences if they behaved badly. The consequences may differ from species to species as do the expected behaviors but the idea that life lessons must be taught is the same. One of the worst things that can happen to a pack animal or in our case, a family member, is to be isolated from the group. Yes, this is a HUGE consequence! The separation from his “family” for even a few hours, can result in personality damage, neurotic habits and even…”BAD BEHAVIOR!!” Imagine… How else are you going to let your people know that you feel anxious, marginalized, bored and isolated? Acting out? You bet. And what do we do with our badly behaved pets?? We leave them home, put them out in the yard, confine them to their crates and call a trainer…

@hashtagwv Who’s up for a pup cup? (get it @manicespresso) #lewisburgwv #wv #doggytreat #coffeeshopviral ♬ Them Changes – Thundercat

What do we expect from our dogs as they accompany us while we move around our environments?

But do not despair… A solution is in sight. So, what do we expect from our dogs as they accompany us while we move around our environments? Let’s talk about some easy ways to bring everyone back together, starting with the lowest hanging fruit on the tree…90% of bad behavior can be fixed with a regular medium length walk…”What is medium length?” You immediately ask, trying to figure out how much time you need to add to your already long list of daily chores…Weeell, that depends on your dog, your environment, and your willingness to make time. Note, I do not say your physical ability because I clients in wheelchairs who take their dogs for a long run every day while they negotiate paved paths at one of our wonderful green spaces.

If you own a Teacup Yorkie (the most notorious house-pee-ers in the dog family) your walk needs only to be about a half hour and you may need to wrap her up in a coat, but I promise, it will cut down on the yapping, destruction, neurotic behavior and house soiling almost immediately.

If you are the proud owner of a seventy-pound German Shepherd, I will assume that you are aware that this dog will need a daily walk of at least forty minutes which will include a long run and turning him out in the back yard to “exercise” simply will not cut it…Similarly, Brittany’s, Dobermans, Weimeraners, Weslers and today’s current favorite, any Doodle… This is absolutely the easiest, quickest and cheapest solution to fixing the “crazies” and only takes a portion of your day.

The second “quick” fix for dogs that are bouncing off the walls, stealing food and destroying shoes in the house is to “take them for a ride”

Although this is not physical exercise, the action of “going out” with their owner gives them a different point of perspective and engages their minds while feeling as though they are accompanying their person on an important mission. I understand if your dog leaps around in the car and if you have not had time to implement the aforementioned “walk” figure out a way to crate, confine or control your dog while she is traveling… she will quickly become accustomed to the protocol and will feel “involved”. I know several young mothers who take their dogs to pick up the kids from school and this is often a high point of the day for both the kids and the dog!!

More and more folks are recognizing the benefit of the dog in healing and retirement environments and more and more people are asking for certification for their pets as “therapy” animals or “service” dogs. Frankly, the road to certification as a service dog involves a great deal of time and money and really, some good basic manners are often all that is required before our dogs raise questions about whether they are welcome in public.

Does your dog walk nicely beside you? Does your dog wait, patiently while you are involved in another task? Will he greet strangers politely, dogs and humans? Will he refrain from unwanted behaviors when asked? Will he come to you immediately when called?

These are a good beginning for any companion dog and if you don’t want a companion, why invite “Man’s Best Friend” into your life?

If all of these suggestions are not within the scope of possibility at the moment, do consider calling in a professional but at the risk of shooting myself in the foot, a Trainer can only put your dog on the right path…You will have to continue the work once he returns home in order to keep him there and No, you will not be able to “skip” the walk!!!

Your dog’s favorite thing in the world is to hang out with you…A “Ride Along” dog is the happiest dog in the world, so don’t throw your hands up in the air and complain about your dog’s behavior. Start right away with your “shaping”, don’t confine the dog that doesn’t know how to behave but be aware that he must be “taught” and if you really do not have time in your day to take your dog out into the world…consider acquiring a Hampster.

– Janine Lazarus, Hashtag #139 February 2022. For more dog training tips, follow Janine at Goodladd.net and on facebook @goodladddogtraining

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