Thursday, June 18, 2009

Do We Expect Too Much from our Shibas/Dogs?

I'll be the first to admit that I have probably overdone the obedience training with Sushi. I think the last advanced class we did was when he was 3 yrs old. My intention was to have a refresher. Sushi was bored out of his mind. Why? He knew all this stuff, so why do it again? So, I promised him that would be the last one. Since then, we have done a bit of agiity, which has helped to boost his confidence, and once he got the hang of it, look out, he loved it! (Going head first into the floor off the a-frame is not always a good thing, Sushi!).

Do we expect too much of our dogs? There are so many fun things to do with dogs - agility, rally-o, or even helpful things such as therapy or other things like just taking your dog with you everywhere you go.

Not all dogs enjoy this. Gasp! Did I just say that? But these are fun things, they are good things. Aren't they? Well, not always.

I think it is healthy to try new things with our dogs, because hey, they might enjoy it. But, I think as responsible dog owners, we need to recognize when the dog really doesn't enjoy something, and decide if it needs to be worked through, or to just let things be.

Sushi will be 6 yrs old this fall. I have officially retired him from Shiba Inu Meetups. He no longer enjoys them. Why? I don't know. But, he doesn't. As much as I would love to have him there, I have had to accept this, and now that I finally have (it took time!) I enjoy spoiling all the other Shibas, and realize I don't have to be looking out for Sushi.

What does Sushi enjoy these days? Walks, he loves his walks. Loves his Green Bear and playing with it. Loves his flying fox. So basically, walks & short playtimes. And, bellyrubs are a bonus.

We may still try rally-o at some point, but if Sushi doesn't have fun, then we won't continue.

I wonder if dog owners have it in the back of their minds what they expect from their dog, and think that dogs will just automatically do it or enjoy it. There are many things I would love to be able to do with Sushi, but he just isn't "that" dog. I'm not disappointed, I love Sushi with all my heart, he is a fantastic dog.

I just hope other owners don't feel disappointed by their dogs if they don't live up to their expectations of them.

Bonnie & Sushi


Vi said...

Hi Bonnie --

Great post! Provokes some nice thought. I think all dogs are different, similar to how all humans are different. We all have different preferences, why shouldn't they? Moreover.... (dare I say this?) dogs age faster. At 6, Sushi is middle-aged. Not a young pup always eager for play time. Their preferences will change as they age.

Glad that you can figure out what Sushi likes so that you can focus on those sorts of activities.

Jen said...

I found traditional obedience stuff to be quite boring, as do my shibas..

We've just started implementing aspects of Natural Dog Training (see: Kevin Behan) and I've got to say, this is the most excited any of us have ever been with 'training'!! It really awakens the purpose of their prey drive and allows them to see us as a team rather than owner and dog.

Though, based on Sushi, i hope my shibas retain the excitement as they age!

Anonymous said...

My Shiba is just over a year and I was glad to find your this post because I have been making myself sick with guilt about the time I spend with my Shiba. She is only really "playful" at bedtime and HATES going on walks. We play ball a lot and she has a nice yard to play in, but she is not really the energetic pup I expected her to be. I keep trying and trying to engage her in play, but she just prefers to lounge and cuddle. I don't really think this is normal for Shiba's, but it seems to be her norm and I am trying to accept that.

che3kychick said...

Hi! I was wondering what type of food you feed your dog? my dog have been lethargic lately and I am very worried. I was wondering i you have any tips. I walk her all the time and that's the only time she seems happy. But, when she gets home, she just lays down on her opriginal spot.

~thank u

Bonnie said...

Che3kychick - I feed Solid Gold Hund n Flocken Lamb to Sushi. He loves it. What time of day do you walk your dog? Is it hot/warm outside? Sushi is double coated, so I have to make sure he is walked during the coolest parts of the day, or else given several very short walks. Sometimes if it is way too hot, I just let him go in the backyard to do his business, and play with him in the house to give him some exercise. You may want to take your dog to the vet. Is he eating, drinking, etc...? If not, call your vet immediately please.