Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to Bring Out the Best in Your Dog

By Langley Cornwell

What? Your dog is perfect? Well then, move along. There’s nothing for you to learn here. But if you’re like me, there are things we could do to make our dogs happier and our lives easier. It’s a simple concept, really. It all starts with determining what “type” of dog you have and then tailoring your activities to suit them.

Dogs generally fall into broad categories like couch potato, exercise nut, curious intellectual and loner. By accommodating their natural tendencies, you will bring out the best in your dog.

Couch Potato

Our newest dog is a complete couch potato; his idea of a good time is snuggling on the sofa all day. Because of this, I don’t expect him to be the outstanding athlete that our (loner) other dog is. Even so, we know it’s important to make sure he gets some sort of daily exercise and mental stimulation, but we don’t push him to run laps around the ball field. When we’re settled in for the evening, if we make sure there’s plenty of space on the couch for him to be near one of us, he’s happy. With regular, low stress walks and loads of personal interaction, we’re bringing out the best in this dog.


Our other dog definitely falls into the category of being a loner. When we’re all snuggled on the couch, she’s either at the far end, with plenty of personal space, or she’s on a bed in another room. She’s a happy dog and we interact with her a good bit, but when it’s quiet time, she wants to be left alone. According to Modern Dog Magazine, loner-type dogs do well with activities that reinforce a solid and dependable relationship with you.

These dogs like predictable routines they can rely on. If you have a loner, you’ll bring out the best in her if you establish daily training sessions that include plenty of praise and rewards. To foster a closer bond with a loner, you may try hand feeding her with a nutritious, high quality dog food like CANIDAE Grain Free PURE elements.

Exercise Nut

Some dogs must have an all-out workout every day or they simply cannot relax. If this is the case with your dog, develop some activities that you can do together to make sure he gets adequate physical exercise. Take care, however, that you don’t allow your dog to develop so much that he turns into an exercise junkie who needs more exertion than you can offer.

Just make sure you don’t over train your dog unless you’re interested in agility training or disc training. If you have an exercise nut, you’ll bring out the best in him if you provide adequate workouts, but it’s also very important to teach this type of dog how to relax.  

Curious Intellectual

You’ve heard of the dogs that can open the most intricate latches and pry off the lid of double locked trash cans. If you have an intellectual dog, they need to have a good, regular mental workout or they could turn their smarts into destructive behavior. More complex training exercises like tracking, herding or even the cognitively demanding Treibball will satisfy the intellectual dog. Along with brain-stimulating activities, curious intellectual-type dogs should get proper daily physical exercise as well.

Does your dog fall into any of these categories? Or maybe your dog is a mix of several; our loner has exercise nut tendencies. Tell us about your dog, and what you do to bring out the best in him or her.

Top photo by AnnieCatBlue
Bottom photo by Dan Bennett

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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