When we adopted Hogan at the age of 18-months-old, he was a very scared, abused puppy who desperately wanted to play and be loved. We realized early on that he had fears of flashlight, touch, and men with boots on their feet and hats on their heads. Developing his self-confidence was paramount in rescuing his self-confidence and daily happiness. Our goal was to get rid of the things that scared him. But... knowing that these scary elements would always show their ugly heads somewhere, we focused on developing his self-confidence so he wouldn't be frightened any longer.
Exercise was essential. As I have repeated many times, "A tired dog is a good dog." We took him on aerobic walks at least twice a day for a minimum of twenty minutes each time.
We found things that Hogan liked doing. He loved to run so we lunged him on a long line until we were able to move to our new home designed just for our pups. The lot is over five acres and fenced for safety. Then, we set up a lure course for him to chase his beloved "bunny," - the plastic bag!
Massage worked wonders!! Hogan learned that touch can be gentle and loving, and he came to trust our hands and the hands of others.
A mini agility course was built in our yard for him to jump, walk across, maneuver with great success. We could actually see the smile on his face at the end of each run.;
The more activities, the better the self-confidence. Our dogs developing good self-confidence is no different than our children! When they feel successful and are applauded, they soar. We were amazed at how many different things that Hogan loved doing. Not all dogs will like the same things, and that's OKAY! The best activity for some is walking. Yep! Just walk, and be sure to let your pup take in all the smells along the way.
By the way, like children, dogs need and want boundaries. A well-behaved, good-mannered dog makes going anywhere much more enjoyable. And... they feel good about being balanced and in control of their behavior.
Enjoy! Play! Walk! Read to! Hang out! Take drives! The list is endless.
Another great reward for having a well-balanced, happy, confident dog, is that they find a wonderful place in their forever home and are typically not returned to shelters.
"A righteous man cares for the needs of his animals."
We'd love to hear from you:
- What are some of the things that you do with your special dog to have fun and enjoy time together?
- What activities does your dog enjoy, and you can tell he or she is having a great time?
- Do you see increased self-confidence when your dog is successful?