Don't Forget to Enjoy Your Dog
There are so many "shoulds" when it comes to owning a dog, and there's only so much time in a day to train your dog and work with them. You have options to do agility, get CGC certified, compete in a long list of canine sports, and more! These are good suggestions, but if you try to do it all, you'll have to quit your job and sell your house to accomplish everything! Potentially, you could hire a dog behaviorist, masseuse, positive or negative reinforcement trainer, groomer, dog walker, and therapist. Not to mention the classes you could attend; there's reactive dog class (for the grumpy pups), obedience class, flyball class, Frisbee class, agility class, nose work class, and the list goes on.
All of these people do have your dog's best interest in mind, but you can't do it all. There isn't not enough time in the day for all of it, so you've got to pick and choose based on your dog, your lifestyle, and your budget. While you're deciding, remember this; we're all searching for what's best and trying to help others along the way.
There is no singular right answer, but here's what I found this morning.
I took my dog to our local dog-friendly trail with lake access just this morning. After years of working with animals, I still find such joy in taking a few minutes out of my day to enjoy his company. I watched him greet other dogs, run to his favorite spots to sniff, and check back with me to make sure I was keeping up. I truly believe that this joy and serenity is his gift to me. There's nothing better than seeing a look of contentment on your best friend's face.
So when you need a break from life, take some time to do your favorite thing with them. Spoil them just a little and go with your gut some of the time. Let your dog be a dog. Let them run, let them bark, let them get muddy, let them wrestle, and love them for it. After all, we ask a lot of our canine companions. We ask them to be confined to our homes and our yards, to behave around humans and animals, to be quiet, and to wait for us to get home from work without incident. Don't forget the value in just being present with your pup. Turn off the phone and enjoy the precious time you have. You won't regret it. And don't forget to be prepared for anything while out with your pup by taking out pet first aid and cpr class online HERE!