I woke up this morning, started my coffee and reached for my phone to check for any messages that had come in during the night. While unlocking it I accidently managed to open an article about Cesar Millan. His ability to manage and work with people and their dogs is fascinating to me. He makes a huge and positve change to the lives of so many dogs and people. Rather than close it and move on to my messages, I started to read what all he had to say. I am going to share part of the article here but if you are interest in reading the full article, you can will find the link at the bottom of this blog.
1. EXERCISE FIRST
The first thing many dog owners do in the morning is out the kibble and feed their antsy dogs, maybe let them out to pee for a few minutes and then race off to work. But that's not the dog needs. When your dog wakes up in the morning, the first thing it needs is to stretch then walk, not eat.
"Imagine sending all the kids in the world to Chuck E Cheese first thing in the morning, and then ask them to behave." he said. "If you give me Chuck E. Cheese in the morning and leave me alone, I'm going to destroy your entire house, because you left me excited, not tired.
By walking your dog first, for at least 45 minutes, you are giving your pet a chance to expend it's pent-up energy, stimulate its mind and "earn" it's food, Millan said. Breakfast come after the walk - "you feed them because they earned it; you're giving them their paycheck.
2. WHO'S THE BOSS
Taking a walk is also a good time to establish that you are the leader of your pack. This means teaching the dog that it stops when you want to stop and walk next or behind you, instead of pulling or yanking you along. The trick is in controlling the dog's nose, Millan said.
Using a leash like the Gentle Leader will keep the dog from sniffing everything as it goes along, until you say it's ok to stop and sniff or relieve itself. If the dog can stop and sniff at will, "you've lost them. If humans lose the nose, they lose control."
3. WORK THEM WELL
Millan recommends at least 45 minutes of morning walking for older, lower energy dogs and up to two hours for high energy dogs. What if you have a combination of both? Millan used to have 65 dogs at his Santa Clarita ranch, and he learned that the high energy dogs needed extra weight to slow them down so they didn't leave the slower ones behind.
So if you have a high-energy dog, give it a backpack to wear during walks, filled with something soft, life rice, dried beans or sand, that is the equivalent to 50% of their weight. (So a 22-pound dog would carry 11 pounds). "That way, a one hour walk turns into [the equivalent of] a two-hour workout for a high-energy dog.
4. KEEP THINGS CALM
When you return home at night, don't immediately jump up and down with your dog. start a ritual of calm. "If that's how you welcome your dog every night, with him jumping on you and barking, he going to do that with everyone wo comes in the door," Millan said. Instead, when you walk in, let your dogs smell you but don't acknowledge them, touch them or make eye contract for many minutes, until they are calm.
"By practicing calmness, he's learning how to read people. He has all that eight to 10 hours of accumulated boredom, anxiety and frustration from being inside all day, but he an learn how to meet people in a calm way. And once he relaxes completely, then you can hug him, give him a treat and go back to being calm."
5. CHOOSE TOYS WISELY
This shouldn't be a news flash to anyone who's been staying home the last three months, but things can get pretty boring when you're home alone all day. Boredom and anxiety can lead to less-than desirable behaviors, such as incessant barking or chewing up the furniture. The trick is finding toys that stimulate a dogs mind such as Nina Ottoson Puzzle games and other "brain toys," and changing them up regularly so your dog doesn't get bored.
Avoid squeaky toys, which can cause dogs to go into a frenzy, Millan said: "Now you're brining the animal out. To them, it's the equivalent of hunting, so they're killing and not playing anymore. We want to have toys that bring out the domesticated stuff, where the dog regains its calm and surrender, its happy-go-lucky state of pay."
I encourage you to go and read the full article. It is a great read, written by Jeanette Marantos. Once you get to the article there are links that will take you to the recommended toys and leashes. I did go take a look and the prices are a lot more affordable than what I expected.
If you don't have the time for the atricle, though it does have a lot of information I didn't post, here are the links for the toys and leashes just in case.
Nina Ottoson Treat Puzzle games
Gentle leader leashes