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6 habits to learn from the furry guru!

New Year is a time to look back at all the good things in our life and of course plan for the next year. Our pooches make our life beautiful…there’s never a dull moment when they are around. So, this New Year, let’s recollect the good habits we learn from them.

Sridevi with Bruno

Sridevi with Bruno

My pet dog Bruno (a Beagle), who is now five years old, has been with us since he was just 32days old. The five years of life that we have lived with him are undoubtedly the most amazing years ever for us. A lot is always said about the unique and unmatchable companionship that a dog extends to a human’s life. With my five years of experience with my dog, what I wonder apart from being a great companion, how excellent teacher is this living being.

1. Forever young
It is said that you grow younger if you have a dog. The 30-40 minutes’ walk for Bruno, both in the morning and evening is compulsory for Bruno. This has made us more disciplined; he wakes us up in the morning for his walk. If one of us (me and my husband) is already awake, he would go and wake the other person up. Unless not possible, we try that both of us go for a walk along with him. That walk time is so relaxing and playful for us also, we get the fresh air in the morning and exercise in the evening, and we have some fruitful discussions over the walk which gets missed out during the usual times, due to our work schedules mostly. Besides, it keeps us physically fit and younger.

2. Tolerance
We are a nuclear family and both my husband and I go out for our respective works in the morning and come back in the evening like a usual office day.
Bruno is alone at home throughout the day. He has got used to the fact that he has to stay alone at home; I think he somehow knows our routine and the fact that we are going to come back in the evening. The amount of tolerance he shows in understanding us and adapting to our routine is commendable.

3. Unconditional love
The best instance when we get to know about our Bruno’s unconditional love is when we get home from office. One evening, my husband called me from office that he would get late and I didn’t like it since we had planned for the evening much earlier. Bruno waited at the door for more than three hours for my husband and finally when he came home, Bruno pounced on him with much more enthusiasm than usual and it was a grand welcome that brought a BIG smile on my husband’s face. Needless to say, my response was not that happy.
Bruno can sense our emotions like an expert. He can sense when we are happy, angry or sad. At these times he is constantly around us to check if we are fine and communicates his love in a million ways. He will not sleep until we sleep, if we are working late, he will sit with us and not go to sleep in the bedroom.
I love the way he sits outside the kitchen as if he has been waiting for me to make food for him for long. And finally when I give him the food, he finishes it and cleans the entire bowl nicely in the blink of an eye. That very moment is an enormously precious one for me.

4. Pass smiles around
When I walk around with Bruno, I see a lot of people (kids and elders) smiling looking at him, some come closer to pat him; some adore him from a distance. The kids adore him. This 5-10 minutes of joy that he passes into those kids’ lives and those 2-3 seconds of hearty smiles that he brings in people who adore him from their respective places, is unmatchable. There is an unexplainable connection between kids and dogs.

5. patience
When Bruno was small, he used to pounce on me when he knew I was giving him food and had developed a tendency to snatch the food item from my hands. I taught him to sit down if he wants something. It took five minutes for me to teach him ‘to sit’ and this learning he has himself extended. He just sits down if he wants anything, he will just sit and stare at us for all his wants.
The amount of patience he shows is remarkable. Under circumstances especially not in our control, we tend to lose our patience but he has taught me to keep cool and be patient to see things going right ultimately.

6. Be a child
A dog is after all a child who never grows up; you become a child with the dog and remain a child till he is there with you as a companion!
There may be many many more things which we learn from our pooches everyday…let’s all bask in their love and companionship all the year round. Happy New Year!

Bite the bad habits

Perhaps two of the most annoying habits of our pooches are digging in the garden and begging for food. Here’s how to handle these behaviours.

Digging…a chore!

Many of us would have tripped in our dog’s latest backyard excavation, or had our carefully tended vegetable Dog Traininggardens destroyed. All this is due to the digging behaviour of dogs that is sometimes annoying and destructive.

There are a number of reasons a dog will dig, and most of them are easily fixed. These include:

  • The most common reason for digging is boredom. Dogs dig because it is highly entertaining when they have nothing else to do.
  • Sometimes, the dog has lot of pent-up energy, which he burns while digging.
  • They may also dig because of anxiety, in an attempt to escape, or to cool off in hot weather.

Exercise…a cure!: The first step in preventing digging is to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. Many dogs will become destructive if they are not mentally and physically stimulated. Provide plenty of activity that includes human interaction – take lots of walks, play ball, or go for a swim at a dog-friendly lake or beach. This satisfies your dog’s need for attention and burns off excess energy, meaning he’ll be more likely to behave when left on his own.

Alone…but not lonely: When you have to leave your dog alone, provide plenty of toys that will stimulate him, and take them away when you come home. A Kong toy stuffed with treats entertain and keep them busy for a long time.

Bad habits…die hard: If your dog continues to dig, here are a few preventive measures:

  • If your dog is only digging in one area, such as your flower garden, try putting up a barrier that keeps him out of your prized petunias.
  • Turn on your sprinklers. Dogs don’t like to be sprayed, and yours will learn to stay out of the garden if he gets wet every time he goes near it.
  • Offer him his own sandbox or a corner of the yard, where he can dig to his heart’s content. Hide treats below the surface to encourage him to use his own area.
  • Make sure your dog has ample shelter and plenty of cool water to drink as he may be trying to escape the heat by digging.
  • As a last resort, you can place solid dog waste into the holes he’s dug, especially if he returns to the same spot time and again. It may not be the most suitable solution, but it will prevent him from digging there any further.

Begging… who taught it?

There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting down with the family to enjoy a meal, only to be interrupted by your dog’s whining as he begs for food. But begging is not a natural doggie behaviour. It is taught entirely by well-meaning humans who do not realize they are doing more harm to the dog than good. We feed our dogs table scraps to satisfy our own emotional needs, not realizing how damaging it can be for the dog. Yes, he appreciates the morsels of food you throw his way, but in the long run, these well-intentioned treats hurt him. Knowing he can beg for food – and get it – only encourages your dog to continue the behaviour. It is extremely bad also for his health and weight.

Table manners: In order to get your dog to learn some table manners, you must stop feeding him from the table altogether. Or from your plate or the kitchen! He must know he cannot eat what the rest of the family is eating. If you give into him just once, you only keep his hopes alive and encourage further begging.

Human food…unhealthy for pooches: Not only does eating human food encourage your dog to beg, but also many foods are dangerous for him to ingest. Chocolate, grapes, and raisins are all human food items that convert to a toxin in your dog’s system. Effects of eating these foods can range from stomach upset to death. Not all dogs react the same, so as a rule, it is best to keep these foods out of your dog’s reach altogether. Besides, a dog’s stomach is not designed to digest most human foods, either. Too much of an unfamiliar diet can lead to nausea, diarrhoea, and even skin and coat problems.

Early training…a must: If you are raising a puppy, start him out right and feed him only high quality dog foods and treats designed for dogs. Teach him from the start that his food and your food are not the same. If he never eats from your plate, he’ll never know to ask.

Ignore those pleading eyes: If, however, you are trying to fix a begging problem that has already been created, you will need to stand firm in your resolve and not give in to those desperately pleading eyes. It’s hard to do, but it really is for the best. Stop giving him any human food. Don’t even put it into his food bowl. Make him eat his dog food. Teaching him to eat his own food will keep him from begging for yours.

Thus, a few simple things can make your pooch better mannered and of course healthy for life!