Managing - Your Dog’s Social Calendar
by Mary Sellaro
Several years ago, a very good friend jokingly, but with some seriousness, mentioned her dog’s social calendar took more time to manage than her own. When asked for specifics, she gave me of an example of the dog’s upcoming weekly commitments- pet therapy visits, being the “demo” dog for an obedience class, playing Frisbee, a doggie play date and finally, a birthday party. This was a slightly heavier scheduled week than most; however, this Border collie and her human mom were a busy team.
Is it Really Necessary?
So, is it really necessary for a dog to have a social life? And is it really that important to keep a dog busy? The answer to both questions is a resounding “yes”. The reasons can be found in the most common spiel of a dog trainer: dogs need a job and a tired dog is a good dog, while a bored dog is an accident waiting to happen. In addition, it is important to research and understand the purpose of your dog’s breed or breeds and their energy level. For example, going back to my friend with the Border collie, she clearly understood the needs of a high energy dog and took on the responsibility of providing the caliber of activity and stimulation her dog needed.
No As Difficult As It Sounds
Finding a job for your dog is not as difficult as it sounds, however, it is not a simple matter of heading towards the Help Wanted section of a job site or newspaper. A variety of dog sports and activities are available, so it is reasonable to find one compatible to fit the dog’s suitability and your schedule. The Internet is a helpful resource to research opportunities in Agility, Herding, Dock Diving, Treibball, Competition Obedience, Carting, Earthdog Trials, Field Trials, Flyball, Lure Coursing, Fun Nosework, Tracking, Rally Obedience, Musical Canine Freestyle and Hiking. It is highly recommended to ask your trainer for a reputable referral to classes or sport specific groups. Keep in mind, every sport or activity has age and suitability requirements; consult and partner with your veterinarian to help determine what is in the best interest of your dog health-wise.
Maybe your dog is a good candidate for Animal Assisted Activity or Therapy? Volunteering with your dog is a very rewarding and positive experience for all involved. Check out local pet therapy group’s websites for temperament and health requirements, temperament testing information and the orientation process.
There are some dogs that are happiest at home and in familiar surroundings due to a lack of socialization, anxiety or aggression issues or a rough start in life. These dogs still need an outlet with a purpose to help develop confidence and build trust.
While having a dog with a busy social life can be hectic at times, there are rewards for their human partners. In the words of a busy dog parent, sharing her dog with the world lead to her to have new experiences, make friends and deepen the appreciation of her dog on a different level.
Mary Sellaro has been training dogs since 1990. She has taught group and private lessons from puppy through advanced. Mary has also worked with dog owners on behavioral issues, including aggression. She developed and implemented a training class program for Retired Greyhounds as Pets. Mary has been the temperament test evacuator for the Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Pet Pal Program since 1997. Mary is now the Director of Training for Pooches Paradise Daycare and Resort in the Waldo area of Kansas City. Mary is a certified American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen evacuator.