Let’s face it, life is pretty hectic.
There’s so much to do and so little time. Our to-do list grow by the minute and the days seem to slip by with wild abandon.
We try our best but things get left out, prioritized down and forgotten. We try to keep some focus on the really important stuff but it doesn’t always work out that way.
One of those items we may neglect in the rush of daily human activity is our dogs.
Many, like my Hayley, are so tolerant of the lack of attention that they go under the radar. It’s a shame that the “bad” dogs usually get more attention than the well mannered ones because their behavior can not be ignored. However, even though your dog may be good, they still deserve our time on a daily basis.
And all those trouble maker pooches may just be crying out for more attention. Their needs are not being met and they’re not shy about letting us know.
Whatever type of dog you share your life with I think we all could use a kick in the butt to make us more aware of our furry best friends each and every day.
To help us accomplish this I’ve created this simple checklist to keep us all on track and to never forget our ever loving poochy pals.
Your Daily Dog Checklist
Morning Hug – I think it’s great to start every day with some gratitude and that includes your dog. Give him a big hug and thank him for abandoning his wild ways and agreeing to live among us crazy humans.
Giving the Grub – Feeding your dog is an ideal check point for resource control. Make sure he’s eating on your terms (no free feeding!) and make him say “please,” which for me is just a pause and eye contact. This simple exercise can really fortify your relationship.
Morning Walk – This is probably the most important walk of the day, and yet it’s the one most often rushed. You dog has been snoozing all night and in addition to doing his business, needs to stretch his legs a bit and start the day off with a little stimulation. I recommend a 30+ minute stroll. It’s worth getting up a little earlier every day – trust me, you both will benefit from it.
Daily Stimulation – Dogs left idle with nothing to do all day can get bored and destructive. Even if your dog is good at home, not doing anything exciting is a pretty dull way to go through life. Our dogs deserve some fun on a regular basis. Try some interactive toys, bones, games, whatever – just find some fun things for your dog to do while you’re off being human.
Praise Like Crazy – Who out there doesn’t like and appreciate some positive feedback? Even the worst behaved dog is good most of the time so don’t be shy, tell your dog what a good boy he is throughout the day. When he’s lounging quietly, when he’s waiting patiently, and when he’s NOT eating the sofa. Look for all those regular simple good behaviors that you take for granted and show him the love.
Evening QT – I know your tired when you get home and all you want is a cold beer and your feet off the ground, but try to remember that your dog has been home all that time you were at work. Waiting. For you. He’s probably been chilling all day long and is jam packed with energy and would absolutely love some quality time. Go for a nice walk or run, play fetch or just attack a squeaky toy together. How long you interact with you pooch depends upon you and your dog. Don’t over think it, just do something.
Short Spaces of Training – Working on some training with your dog helps your dog become a well mannered member of your family, engages him mentally and you learn to communicate with him better. Simple stuff like a sit, a down or even just a moment of eye contact can really make a difference. The cool thing about practicing these skills with your dog is that instead of blocking off an hour, it’s best done in short bursts more often throughout the day.
I like to use life rewards for this. Before your let your dog out the door, before you throw a toy and before you let him up on the couch ask him to do something. Simple, yet powerful over time.
Say Good Night – The last thing I do before I climb into bed every night is to find my dog and kiss her on her ear, tell her how much I love her and wish her sweet dreams. Think about it. Your dog is always there for you, never judges you, sits when you ask – even when he’s not remotely tired, and gives you unconditional love. That’s pretty awesome – so tell him.
At the end of every day for the next week, look back and go down this list and see how you’re doing. Try to check as many things off and you’ll be on your way to taking better care of your best friend. He’s doing his part and he’s counting on your to make an effort. Don’t let him down.
Do you have anything else on your checklist? Let me know in the comments below.