Are you doing too much with your dog?

Do you ever wonder if you might be doing too much with your dog?

Recently we had an off grid mini holiday in The Scottish Borders. There was no running water, no electricity, just a campfire and big teepee and a gas stove.

A friend of Ash’s has created this camp in a little piece of private woodland backing onto a babbling stream.

For four days we did nothing. And I mean nothing. I took a couple of books and didn’t even pick one up.

Our very busy days involved:

-Collecting up some wood – sorted into kindling and different sized logs.

-Building and tending a fire.

-Listening to the sounds of so many different birds.

-Watching the bats flying around in the evening.

-Fending off the midges.

-And looking at the fire – relaxing and hypnotic at the same time.

I don’t know how we fitted it all in 😆

We did go out exploring locally once, to give us a bit of a change of scenery (and buy some more drinks 🥂).

I can’t remember when I’ve ever done nothing. Or when we’ve done so little with Bodie.

Complete freedom, choosing to chill

Bodie was able to be off lead the whole time. We didn’t do any training games. Or scent work. Or structured enrichment. The environment did all that he needed.

When I went off to collect some kindling from the forest floor, he trotted along. When I went down to the river to rinse something, he have a bit of paddle in the stream.

The odd sound of a mouse caught his interest and he’d tried, unsuccessfully, to pounce on one in the long grass.

Like me, he mostly lay around doing nothing. Resting, looking around, snoozing. We couldn’t have done any less if we’d tried.

Normally Bodie’s day will consist of a combination of 45-60 minute walk, plus some training games or scent work or free work, plus his physio exercises and some simple play like tug. It’s probably no more than around 2 hours of activity (including the walk) split up as our day allows.

I wonder if this seems like not very much compared to you? Or may be that’s more time? There’s no right or wrong here. It’s what’s right for you and your dog. Every dog is an individual.

By coincidence, on a recent members’ Zoom Q&A session, one of my members said how incredible it had been to see big changes in just a few weeks since they had been doing less with their reactive dog.

Less walks, and less training.

I think it’s so tempting to think that more is better. But sometimes, slowing things down can be hugely beneficial.

This might look like less walks. Or shorter walks. Or shorter training sessions. Or just 2-3 repetitions of a game.

Warning: Possible positive side effects

I do need to issue a warning 😉 at this point. Side effects of doing less can include:

-A more relaxed dog.

-Less barking.

-Less action prompting.

-Less reactivity generally.

It can take some courage to do less. And it’s important what you do do. This approach is definitely not, “do nothing, and everything will sort itself out.”

You want to make sure your dog remains fit and active, and mentally fulfilled.

If your dog is used to doing a lot, I definitely wouldn’t recommend going cold turkey and drastically cutting back without working with a professional to help.

With all the best intentions, could you be doing too much with your dog?

You might like to experiment by swapping a walk out for calming but tiring brain activity at home.

If you think you might be doing too much (or too little) with your dog – let me help

I’d love to welcome you into the Pup Talk The Pack. It’s a monthly membership packed with awesome people doing their best for their dogs and supporting each other.

My promise is that you’ll feel completely supported, accepted as you are, and able to start making positive strides towards the life you and your dog deserve together.

Learn more about Pup Talk The Pack HERE.


Other Resources – Clickable Links

STOP! Walking Your Dog – the bestselling book

How to help your dog bounce back from being scared – the free ebook

My YouTube channel @stopwalkingyourdog


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