Afternoon, how you all doing? I hope you are all keeping well...
After a short break for the bank holiday weekend and my birthday, we are back with another tip to keep your dogs amused during lock-down.
During my week off (I know that sounds stupid at the moment!) I spent loads of time outside in the garden enjoying the beautiful weather. I started a project to make the back garden more dog friendly: Minnie had killed the lawn, so that all came up and a new paved/gravel garden laid down. I also made the current pond bigger (and deeper) and re-homed a load of tadpoles to go in it too! Quite a productive week over all! Its something I have been wanting to do for ages, but life was just way to busy.
So that's a positive to this lock-down! I think many people are finding positives in this situation now the initial shock has subsided and we've all settled into our new routines. People have been saying how cleaner the air is, how much more wildlife they are seeing and have commented on the sense of community this has given us. In fact a recent survey suggests only 9% of Brits want things to return to normal after this pandemic is over. (You can read the LBC news report on this, here) Looking back over the past 3 weeks I think I have to agree! Yes they have been tough adjusting to the new routines but seeing the good in the world and how communities have banded together to support the vulnerable and help each other out has been great. The one good news story that I have to mention (there are loads though) is that of Captain Tom Moore, the 99yr old war veteran who started walking 100 lengths of his garden to raise £1000 for the NHS. I am sure you have heard all about him, but as of right now (20/4 @ 14:40) Captain Moore has raised £26,894,782 - You can check on the current total and donate on his Just Giving Page This is an awesome achievement and shows how amazing people can be. I don't want to loose that!
Another positive I have noticed is strengthening of the bond between Minnie and I. We've been playing games in the garden, I've made meal times fun, she has learnt some new commands and we are currently working on her playing catch! She is useless at it: The ball either hits her nose, falls a few inches short or she forgets to close her mouth if she does catch it and it falls out! She is loving having me about though and having a great bond between you and your dog is vital for future successes. As humans we are more likely to follow the advice of someone we know and trust - Dogs are no different. The more they like and trust you, the more willing they will be to follow your commands. It seems obvious when you think of it like that doesn't it? However there are loads of dog owners who don't realise how valuable this bond can be and try to control their dog through fear or bribery. Neither will work for long... A great bond really is the way forward.
How does one create a great bond with a dog?
Its easy really - But just like building any relationship, it does take time!
All you have to do is engage with your dog. The more time you spend together playing, reinforcing good behaviours and rewarding when necessary the quicker the bond will grow. Cuddles and fusses work well too as does following the other tips in my blogs. You want your dog to know that you are always there with some fun and cuddles and for them to enjoy being with you.
One of the new services I was planning on introducing in April (which is currently on hold!) are Puppy Classes. These were going to be socialisation and play sessions teaching owners how to play with their dogs and teach them new things through play based learning. Lesson One in that 5 week course is "Bonding" - It really is the basis for any dog/owner relationship. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on these when things return to normal.
You've probably all noticed changes in your dogs behaviour recently, especially if you have followed some of my advice. Again I've had some great pictures and messages following my previous blogs so please do keep them coming in!
One final note - Our dog park is still open!
If your dog has lots of energy to burn off and isn't great off lead, we've got you covered. Our secure 1-acre site in Bretton offers Private bookings from just £7.50 each which gives your dog plenty of space to run around and play! They will thank you for the opportunity... Trust me on that! You can make bookings and get more information on our dog park here
So until next week - keep well and stay safe