Here are the most common requests from the many dogs that I’ve talked to.
- For the majority of dogs, the number one request is more exercise!!!! Also, no crates. Read more about crate alternatives here. One of the best things you can do for your dog is teach a good recall. If your dog will return when you call him, it allows incredible freedom for him. Your dog will get much more exercise if they’re not tethered to you, moving at your pace. There are lots of positive ways to teach recall and most of them are linked with a tasty treat to really hardwire the behavior. If your dog only gets a leash walk, remember that walk is their main stimulation and a big part of their day. Please allow them to sniff and explore. It’s one thing if you take your dog for a two-hour run and then expect them to walk at your side. It’s another if they’ve been waiting all day to get out and you expect him to march along beside you (without stopping to sniff what they want).
- Many only dogs request a buddy. Our dogs often spend long hours alone and they are by nature pack animals. That buddy does not necessarily have to be another dog; it can be a cat or a rabbit or another lower maintenance animal. Of course, it’s important to supervise the initial meetings between the two and be sure everyone is safe when you are not home.
- I often hear dogs that go to the groomer report that the sound of the blow dryer is piercing and painful. Some groomers put the dog in a metal crate with a blow dryer pointed down on top of them. This is very unsettling for the dog. Scented shampoos are another concern for dogs. Dogs with sensitive skin react to detergents, no matter how gentle the product. Every dog’s nose is offended by the harsh smells of any scented shampoo. A dog’s sense of smell is so much greater than ours. Imagine what it’s like to wear the heavy perfume left by scented shampoo. Why not ask that your groomer use unscented shampoo and hand blow dry your dog – or better yet, let them air dry!