This is the first of 2 resources that are rarely talked about when we refer to a dog’s resources. I think it’s fair to say we may hear a term like “resource guarding” and we know it refers to a dog’s toys or food, but how do we control a dog’s time? The obvious answer is keeping track of how long each activity lasts.
We can control time by how long their training sessions are, how long the walks are, and how long they get to eat. Even though dogs are always in the present state of mind, we still control the duration of every activity they do from going to the bathroom or how long they sleep.
We have one dog in our daycare that will start hanging around the gate about 15 minutes before her owners show up. If you have an unruly dog, keeping track of the amount of “free time” they have can be valuable. Maybe you have a dog that isn’t able to make good decisions while they are free. So how do we help them make good decisions? This is where the “Space” resource comes into play.
A dog’s space is defined by where they put their body.
- How many times have you witnessed a dog rubbing its body up against their owner?
- How many times do you see one dog move in between another dog and its owner?
- Does your dog jump on people, or takes off running when the door is open?
These are all examples of a dog’s space. If you have a dog with behavioral issues, your dog should not be allowed on any furniture or on your bed. You must control that space and teach your dog that it isn’t up to them to make the decision of getting on the bed. Your dog should have a quiet, peaceful, and safe place to go such as a crate.
Crating controls time and space for your dog. Dog’s that do not have the ability to settle down such as puppies, or high energy dogs should be crated on a schedule, every day so their brain can experience calmness.
Often, we see dogs classified as “high energy” by their owners when those dogs do not know what calm feels like. Or maybe you have a puppy that is using his/her mouth too much on people or other dogs and this is a direct violation of space. Controlling your dog’s space every day will help your dog realize there is structure to live by. Whether you crate or tether your dog, giving them a quiet place to be after a walk can save you from having a hyper, high energy dog.
Ian Grant owns Vermont Dog Boarding & Behavior in Hyde Park, VT. Since 2007, Ian has observed nearly 25,000 dogs between daycare, boarding, training, fostering, and consultations. He has been sought out by rescues, foster homes, and other trainers for assistance. Clients are now coming from all over Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Connecticut to have their dogs trained by Ian and his staff. Every Friday at 3pm Ian hosts “Ask a Dog Trainer” Live on his Facebook Page www.facebook.com/vtdogbnb. To learn more about Ian and his business please visit www.vermontdogtrainer.com.