The past several years as a dog mom have been a great learning experience. I grew up with dogs my entire life and considered myself knowledgeable. However, with every new dog comes a new personality and new lessons to be learned.
Growing up our dogs had free run of the house and backyard. We never took them to dog parks (there weren’t any) and they rarely went for car rides. They were well behaved in the house but they lacked the interaction with other dogs and people. This seemed to work for our family at that time except when we had company. This would never work in my household today.
My husband and I love the large breeds. We started out with two English Mastiffs. They were so wonderful that our pack eventually grew to four. They were easy going to the point of lazy. They didn’t like to walk very far from home, so we rarely walked past the driveway. They did love car rides and I tried to take them wherever I could. The group got along great and I was lulled into thinking all future dogs (particularly the same breed) would essentially have the same personality.
How wrong I was! Eventually the Mastiffs passed on and we had a house with new puppies. This crew definitely had personality. Initially I set out with the same plan, playing in the house and frequent car rides. Quickly I realized these guys needed more stimulation. They were beginning to take their frustrations out on the house and each other. I found a dog park near by and took the younger ones for afternoon playtime. (My older dog is allergic to grass so he stays home) We went almost daily and this seemed to help with their puppy energy. The one thing that wasn’t improving was the relationships of the dogs within the house. I never had these issues before and I was really upset. I didn’t want my dogs to be fighting each other.
I contacted a friend who fixed my problem with one simple step- The Pack Walk. She showed me how a simple walk would improve the attitude of everyone in the house- human and dog! The pack walk provides so many benefits including:
1. The walk helps the pack to bond with each other and minimize problem behavior.
2. The walk provides an outlet for their energy so they are less likely to destroy the house.
3. The walk helps with training your dog. Your dog should be focused on you as the pack leader.
4. The walk provides mental and physical stimulation. There are so many sights, sounds and smells!
5. The walk provides social interaction. Socialization with other dogs and people is so important.
6. The walk is a health benefit to both owner and dog: Fresh air, exercise and bonding time.
I can’t express how walking my crew daily has improved our quality of life. We are one big happy pack. It is definitely a big change for me. Gone are the days of a lazy morning with my coffee but I wouldn’t have it any other way.