The Daily WOOF!

by Susan on Sunday, February 5, 2012

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in Making Your Dal Happy

Two Dals waiting for their humans

Waiting for Mom and Dad

Does your dog spend most of the day waiting for you to come home?

We all know that dogs are social animals who need, above all, to spend time with members of their own species, as well as with their  humans. Too many dogs, alas, spend many hours alone with little to do but wait for their people to return from work, the supermarket, or a human-only version of entertainment.

We owe them more.

I came up some years ago with an easy-to-remember checklist of things to do every day for each dog in my household. There are only five items on it, in increasing order of importance (for the dogs, as far as I can tell):

  1. grooming
  2. training
  3. play
  4. walk
  5. WOOF!

We will take up the first four items in subsequent posts. I want to begin with number 5, as it is the most important and requires the most imagination on the part of the human. And, even on those days that we somehow do not manage to get to numbers 1-4, I believe we should make a special effort to make number 5 happen.

What is the Daily WOOF!?

It is an expression of joy and delight, the doggie equivalent of  WOW! COOL! AWESOME!

How do we make it happen? By providing unexpected and exceptional moments of bliss.

Why is it important? It is the foundation of comfort, contentment, and well-being.

The Daily WOOF! may be produced in conjunction with any of the items 1-4: a massage after being brushed, an extra yummy treat while training, a new toy for the play session, a walk in a new place full of fresh scents. Or it can be triggered by an experience entirely apart from the other activities: a ride in the car, a trip to the pet store, a visit with a special friend.

Different dogs will say WOOF! for different things and it is up to you to find out what makes your dog tick. This may take some experimentation on your part. If you need some help, take a look at The Home Spa Book for Dogs: Nose-to-Tail Treatments to Age-Proof and Soothe the Soul of Your Canine Companion, by Dr. Jennifer Cermak (Quarry Books, 2005).

When Davey was first adopted, he was not very toy-motived, most likely because he had never had toys to play with in his previous life. When first introduced to toys, he was not particularly impressed. Many humans would have assumed this was a permanent state of affairs, but Davey’s mom and dad did not give up. They bought more toys. Soon, Davey had chosen his favorites. He moved them all over the house and lined them all up in the sun for nap time. Now, Davey has an entire collection of toys, at least thirty or so. One of the things he loves most is to lie in the center of floor while mom and dad toss his toys in his direction one by one, until he is entirely covered by toys! Davey has found his WOOF!!!

Davey and His Toys

Davey loves being buried in his toys!

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