Thursday, 29 December 2016

My dog is not interested in food!



My dog is not interested in food is something I sometimes hear from new clients.  When I look down I often see a well feed or overweight dog looking back at me.

Food is a biological need for all of us including our furry friends. 

What owners usually mean is their dog is not interested enough in the food they are offering at that moment in time. 

Most puppies start their life with us enthusiastically eating what is put in front of them but over time some realise that if they wait us out then we will give them something “better” e.g. a little bit of gravy poured over their dry kibble or even a tin of wet food.  As time goes on they may wait for some fresh chicken to be mixed in.  We have then created a “fussy eater”.

 It could be time to get your dog weighed and reduce his food a little if necessary.  It’s great if you are spending time training your dog with treats but you may need to reduce his daily food allowance a little to compensate.

We may ask our dog to come back in the park and when he does we give him a dry biscuit.  The dog may have run back from playing with all his friends and so is a little disappointed and therefore next time does not bother to come back.  You could try mixing in a little bit of chicken or sausage with his treats as a special surprise to make his recall worthwhile.

Perhaps you have a nervous dog and when friends visit you ask them to offer him a biscuit but he still keeps away.  In this situation the dog does not want the treat enough to risk the meeting the scary visitor.

Your dog may not like travelling in the car so you try to lure him in with a treat but the fear of the car journey outweighs the pleasure of the treat.

Treats are incredibly useful for training your dog in a positive way but the benefit for him has to outweigh the cost. 

If you are worried about your dog not eating enough then please get him checked out by your vet to rule out any veterinary problems.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any help with your dog’s behaviour.







Thursday, 22 December 2016

Proprioception – what’s that?

Most dogs love their walks  They get to run around at full speed and play with the other dogs in the park.  Once they get home they sleep for hours until the next walk... right?

Some dogs, no matter how much “exercise” you give them still have energy to burn.  Border Collies come to mind.  Breeds of the “working” variety e.g. working Cocker Spaniels or working Labradors often don’t have an off switch either.

Perhaps the exercise they are getting is just half the picture?  The organ that uses most energy is actually the brain so how do you work that part of your dog?

Lord Nelson

Opening your eyes is the first step.  I recently went to St. Ann’s Well Gardens with a client with a high-energy Springer Spaniel cross.  He loves to run around but also loves to be with his human.  As we walked around the park we looked for things to do.  There is a long log that is on its side on the grass.  We lured Lord Nelson onto this with a treat which he was happy to take and then jumped off again.  He jumped off because he didn’t have the balance to stay on and was also moving quickly.  On his second attempt we used a second treat to keep him there.  This was great fun for all of us.  Next Nelson was asked to sit on the log, his back legs quivered as he did this as all the small mussels worked together to control this delicate manoeuvre. 

We then set off to the next adventure in the form of a tree trunk.  Nelson was asked to jump onto it which he was happy to do but did so at speed but then flew off the other side.  The next attempt he took it a little more slowly and managed to stay on.

Around the park we found an upturned tree with a 30 degree incline which Nelson happily trotted up but then had to work out what to do at the end.  He turned his body around slowly, a little unsure of what his back legs were doing, but managed it without falling off!

The next obstacle was the well itself.  Nelson’s task here was to jump on and slowly manoeuvre around the edge.  This was a tricky task since it was very narrow.  Another great success for Nelson.
When we got home Nelson crashed out on his bed struggling to keep his eyes open.

This brings me back to my original question “Proprioception – what’s that?”.  Proprioception is knowing where your body is in space.  Anyone who has practiced yoga may understand how difficult it is at first to control our body slowly.  With practice comes improved strength, flexibility, and balance.  Slowing down so the mind has awareness about what their body is doing has similar advantages for dogs.  The added bonus for a dog that has used his mind and body is he may then crash out after his trip to the park.

I call these training sessions Urban Agility since you use whatever your local park has to offer to mentally and physically work your dog.  I can train these sessions with you or as part of my Groundwork service where I work your dog for you.

Have fun with your dog!


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