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Don't Overlook Your Easy Dog

Discussion in 'General Dog Discussions' started by Vicki, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Don’t Overlook Your “Easy” Dog
    By: Alex Andes

    Have you ever seen a parent in the supermarket with two children - one perfectly behaved, and one throwing a tantrum? Which one is typically getting the attention while the other stands quietly by? Years ago, before breaking into the dog training and behavior world, I worked as a nanny. And I can tell you that the "easy" kids typically take a backseat to their more behaviorally challenging siblings and peers (and understandably so).

    I'm aware that I am overly generalizing, and I'll be using the word "easy" in an especially generalized way, so I'll preface with this - every dog and every child, regardless of his or her behavior challenges and personality quirks, is inherently wonderful in their own unique way. But let's also be realistic - it's a fact that some children and some animals require less "parenting" than others. So my point is this - don't forget about your "easy" dog while you're busy tending to your more difficult dogs.

    We have three dogs in our home. One is my boyfriend's working dog, a Belgian Malinois. He's the canine equivalent of a teenage boy jacked up on Mountain Dew, testosterone, and methamphetamine. One is our boxer mix who is highly sensitive to any new environment, can be leash reactive, and is wary of strangers. And then there's Daisy, our highly social, former therapy dog who is phased by nothing. Can you guess who's throwing the doggie version of the grocery store tantrum and who's standing quietly by?

    So yesterday, I took Daisy for a walk by the river - just the two of us. It was peaceful, we passed by people and other dogs without issue, and she couldn't have been happier. It was also nice for me to be able to go for a walk without having my dog training brain in full gear. And I realized how much Daisy has been missing out on because I don't spend enough one-on-one time just with her. Since I retired her from therapy work, she has gotten less individualized time with me. And because she's the "easy" dog in the house, her individual wants and needs can easily be overlooked if we don't make a conscious effort to give her that time and attention she deserves.

    I can't be the only one out there who struggles with making special time for the "easy" dog in the house, right? So I've come up with a few quick & easy ideas for spending quality one-on-one time with the "easy" dog in your home:

    Go for a walk together. You'll be amazed at how calm, peaceful, and stress-relieving a walk can be, especially if you're used to walking with a reactive dog. If you can carve out a few minutes of your schedule to give your "easy" dog a one-on-one walk, it could be beneficial for both of you.
    Have one-on-one mini training sessions. Training in a multi-dog household can be chaotic, which is why I'd recommend training your dogs separately as much as possible. (If you have a certain behavior that requires participation of multiple dogs, build up the behavior in each dog individually before adding the additional distraction of other dogs being around.) Take just a few minutes each day to work with your dogs individually - you'll be amazed how much easier it is when you're working with one dog at a time!
    Participate in a dog sport together. You don't need to be a dock diving champion to enjoy a sport with your dog. Take a few classes at your local positive reinforcement-based facility and see how much fun your dog can have at agility, nosework, or another canine sport that fits your dog's personality.
    Allow them special privileges. This one will vary by household. In our home, Daisy is the only dog allowed to greet visitors at the front door. She's the one dog in our home that truly enjoys meeting new people, so we allow her that privilege.
    Play a favorite game. Different dogs prefer different games. Some like to play fetch, while others like to find their way through an interactive toy. Find what your dog enjoys and give them some special time to do their favorite things.

  2. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog

    I wish I could find a way to play with Tonka?
  3. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    The hose?! I remember that adorable video of Tonka at the park with the water fountain! Hehehe Does she like fetch or anything like that? Roxy loves it when I run along side her while the ball is thrown/rolled. She's faster than me though, I rarely ever beat her.
  4. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog

    She liked the hose a lot. I had to bring her to daycare a couple of weeks ago because I couldn't find anyone nearby to watch her, and when I called to check on her they said she was playing with the hose. Maybe she would still like it?
    Pamela Bates and Capt. Roxy like this.
  5. Capt. Roxy

    Capt. Roxy Good Dog Premium Member

    Lol awwww, I bet she would really like it if you turn it on and off. She'd go crazy trying to catch the water. Lol I can totally picture her doing that! How does she do at Day Care?
  6. phillysmom

    phillysmom Good Dog

    Thanks for posting. This is a good reminder for some of us!
  7. TWadeJ

    TWadeJ Big Dog

    Good article. My Buddy is the good, easy one. Going to go give him some love.
    Pamela Bates and Madeleinemom like this.
  8. BCdogs

    BCdogs Good Dog Super Moderator

    Ah, so true. I love walking Pig for this reason, she's just so damn perfect. As much as I love Squirt and how he challenges me to be a better dog owner, I do often think how my life would be so much less chaotic if I just had Pig. :p
    Pamela Bates and Madeleinemom like this.
  9. Kit

    Kit Good Dog

    Frankie is my easy dog. She was a super easy puppy to train, she loves everyone and everything and is always happy to do anything.
    Rikki is getting extra training for agility right now, Marshall demands his evening walk. Rosie insists on going with Marshall on his evening walk.
    Then there is Frankie. This time of year, I run out of daylight before she gets a turn outside. At least she has her weekly agility class.
    So, I try to make time in the evening for her to just come melt on my lap. (for a big dog, she is the BEST lap dog ever!)
    Rosie isn't getting quite as much attention as she used to get, but DH spends some one on one time with her, and I try to get her out for a little agility practice a couple times a week.
    Pamela Bates and Madeleinemom like this.
  10. Good read and agree with the point that find what your dog enjoys and give them some special time to do their favorite things.
  11. Madeleinemom

    Madeleinemom MS Bites, My Dog Didn't Staff Member

    Great article. And - for me - a reminder of our trio when all three were with us. And Esperanza was the good dog who - on rare occasions - got a bit shortchanged because of the BBMs needs. At the onset of the BBMs' "relationship issues", she took a backseat at times, for simple management/safety issues. I have memory snapshots of her trying to stay out of the way, but looking a bit concerned, confused. She was always so polite and very aware of everyone's mood and feelings. Once we got the crate-and-rotate down for the BBMs, she got more of the attention she needed and was the wonderful, big sister to both, as they were rotated out.
    Pamela Bates likes this.
  12. Pamela Bates

    Pamela Bates Little Dog

    Baby is the easy dog of our trio. We used to have her in one kennel while Tank and Bella shared the other one, but since the pups are too big to share a kennel anymore, Baby had to be moved outside :confounded:. She likes interacting with us so we could have her join us when we have to burn wood from the trailor we are demolishing :rolleyes: .
  13. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog

    What did I take away from this article?

    We need another dog!:)
    Vicki, Capt. Roxy and Madeleinemom like this.
  14. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    The great thing about dogs is that they won't recognize any "special privileges" one gets over another they way children would. :coldsweat:
  15. Sarahp12

    Sarahp12 Puppy

    Thank you for posting this. We foster.and rescue and also have our own clan members. I am so very busy with a Korean jindo that was a feral dog meat market dog rescued from a dog meat farm that my little dogs of my own have taken a back seat. We have our foster and also a newer American bully I am integrating as well as a Rottweiler and a shepherd. I am so focused on helping the fosters and being a responsible owner of the rott and shepherd that I often overlook our little dog.
    Madeleinemom likes this.

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