Hi, and welcome to July. A fun fact: Did you know that July is dog training month? Based on that happy news, let’s use July as a checklist for you and your canine companion.
Do you take your dog out for regular walks? Twice a day?
Do you take your dog to classes specific to their breed? Finding a person who has sheep for the herding breeds and agility for high energy dogs ? Both of these activities channel the breeds natural instincts for herding. These activities also keep the dog focused and attentive to their handler.
The person who has a poodle might say they don’t need activities. Wrong. Did you know that I have seen poodles work in obedience training in the highest level of obedience. I have also seen a poodle work in obedience—their handler being in a wheel chair. These dogs are believed to come from retrieving backgrounds. Smart and versatile.
Swimming anyone? Most dogs can swim. Not just the Labs—yes and I know of Labs that are afraid of water and Pit Bulls that love to swim. A dog, like a human, can be taught to swim in a calm and gentle way.
Portuguese Water Dogs have tests for swimming—according to the AKC, the highest level of a training test is jumping off a boat and retrieving a net. After all, these dogs were bred in Portugal to work. Their job is to help fishermen send messages between boats and of course retrieve fishing nets from the water. They were often “paid” with a ration of fish!
But let’s not forget the terriers. Terrier comes from the word "Terra" or earth. Yes there are Earth Dog trials where they pursue what they do best-go “to ground” —you don’t need me to tell you how they love to dig!
Did I mention the sled dogs? Malamutes, Siberian Huskies—all you have to do is watch the Iditarod and you know these dogs love to work.
My point is: All dogs were bred to DO something. Even if it is like my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel—to sit on a lap. A happy dog is one that is challenged.
A challenged, well-exercised dog is a pleasure to live with. Any breed loves to work—just ask them!
If you're interested in an upcoming class with Julia, please see this link.
Julia Levitt is the founder of In Harmony Dog Training and Ann Arbor Animal Hospital’s “Miss Harmony” for dogs! She is available to help your dog be a better canine citizen, and answers questions about Canine Behavior here on our blog from time to time. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 734-645-4707.