A little lovin’

All beings deserve to love and to feel loved. Unfortunately, we can’t really know whether our dog friends love us but it sure can seem like it! Dogs are not the biggest fans of hugs (it’s a sign of dominance) so here are ways to show your dog some loving:

Five Minute Fetch

My dog always greets me with his “buddy” or ball in his mouth. He is naturally inclined for this (he’s a working breed) but also, sometimes he just wants to play! Fetch is a pretty simple game if you have five minutes to spare or are able to multitask with your toothbrush and a tennis ball. 

Incorporating treats makes the game more fun for both parties. After many attempts to retrieve the fetchable with my golden retriever playing keep-away I have discovered this necessity. Also, treats help to reinforce with your dog that you are the one in control since you’re the provider of food. This event can double as training if you make them sit or stay before retrieval. 

Start with short distances and toss a few times. YOU have to call the game off. Just because Fido decides not to bring the fetchable back doesn’t mean that it’s over. That means your dog is trying to call the shots. It might seem like a small thing but remember that these creatures are instinctually looking for the small cracks to sneak up the social ladder. 

With time increase the distance and only treat every once in a while. Over time, the treats shouldn’t be necessary and you should have a professional ball retriever!

Hide and Seek

If you are looking for a way to mentally wake up your pooch, good ‘ol hide-and-seek is a favorite of many furry noses.  Your dog doesn’t have to be a hunting breed but they should at least have the drive to seek out items. Some breeds with shorter noses are not the greatest at this due to a smaller region for scent detection. 

Put your dog in a room and show the fetchable, highly palatable, treat. Close the door (or tell them to stay if they are a pro at that one!!) hide the treat in plain site for the first attempt. Return to the room and release them with an “OK” followed by command of choice relating to retrieval.  I use “Fetch”. Simple and to the point. No need confusing your dog with extra words. Give them an even better treat when they bring the fetchable back to you and praise graciously. Repeat only a few more times if this is your first attempt. 

Gradually upgrade the difficulty of hiding spots after a few successful sessions. If your dog cannot find the booty, put them out of sight, retrieve the fetchable and retry with a less difficult hiding spot. Again, make sure that YOU call the game over.

Mutt Mini-Massage

There may be dog masseurs in your area that you can give your furry friend the best darn doggy massage. I prefer to save a few bucks and spend some quality time with my guy by giving the massage myself. 

Modern Dog magazine has a nice article about dog massage here. Use treats on your first attempt since you’ll be applying pressure in areas your dog isn’t familiar with. As always, dogs are canines and can bite if uncomfortable so watch body language and stop if you observe unusual behavior.  

Creating a great connection of love and trust with your pal will lead to years of fun furry friendship.

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