Do 10 to 15 Minutes of Something Your Dog is Passionate About
Welcome to the first week of the 9-to-5 Dog blog. This first week is composed of five mini-blog posts every single day for one week, and it’s just to get the 9-to-5 project started—and to get ready for the real start.
My name is Olga Zuberg, and I’m so glad you’re here. I’m glad I’m here too. I just had a ton of coffee and feel ready to get started.
This blog is about all of us creating, building and improving the lives of our dogs that stay at home alone while we’re at work. Together, we’re building a community of dog owners that’s supportive and active in improving our dogs’ lives. In the future, I’ll release a book called 9–to-5 Dogs.
For this blog, I’m going to do a post every week when the project officially starts on March 14. I’ll share articles, interviews and insights with you. We’ll talk about solving issues, looking for help, taking your dog to the office and a lot of other interesting topics. You’ll learn a ton just by reading every week.
So, if this is the first post you’re reading, I’m so glad you came by. Subscribe to the blog, and if you already like what you’re reading, click that share button. That helps other people like you find the blog.
This is my second post on the blog, but I also have a book. You may know me from the book called Running for Dogs. I know a lot of runners were talking about difficulties they were having with their dogs. And they found that running helped their dogs to be calm when they leave for work. But not all dogs are suitable for running or jogging, and not all of us are runners. So, this blog is for the rest of us.
In the first post I wrote about finding how you can improve the lives of our dogs, the main idea behind this blog. Go back to that one if you haven’t read it yet. Today, you’ll see a recurring theme, which is get started now.
Before I tell you to get some equipment tomorrow, I’ll cover which equipment to get, but before we do that, you need to start doing something. So, using whatever you have, sit with your dog and actually get some communication going on. Maybe it’s learning some new trick, maybe it’s going to a new location for your walk. Start small. Start now.
A lot of people fall into the trap of buying all the fun toys and gear. Because getting all this stuff is exciting, and you feel like you’re doing it! How many times did you buy your dog a new toy only to see him destroy it or ignore it completely after a brief play? It’s a sad thing to say, but the main reason your dog destroyed the toy is because he did not understand the purpose of the toy. It's kind of like when parents buy sports equipment for their kids. If you get a football for your kid, and he has never kicked a ball before, you may find out he doesn’t care, he may even hate it. You may end up wasting your money. Just buying equipment, sometimes very expensive equipment, will not make your children good football players or improve their health. In sports people who buy a lot of gear before even trying the sport are often called “posers.”
So, don’t be a poser. I’m sure you have a dog toy somewhere. Get it out. It may be closer than you think. Ask your dog; he knows. Lift the toy high in the air and observe your dog’s face.
Now, before you actually start playing, create an outline of what you want to do with your dog. A mental map is enough at this time. So you already have your list of favorite things your dog loves to do, maybe it includes fetching a ball, maybe it’s some sort of nose games, maybe it’s a game of Frisbee. Whatever it is, create an outline for something that you can do for 10 to 15 minutes. You don’t have to play for an hour. Just do something that would lift your dog’s spirit and exercise its body and mind. Do 10 to 15 minutes of something your dog is passionate about, something you initiate and lead.
So, for example, during my day job I get out of the office for a lunch break and go home. It takes me about 10 minutes to get there. When I get home, I take my dog for a short walk and have her do something for me. Yesterday, I asked her to jump up and down on a bench near my home 20 times and rewarded her with a short tug-of-war session. Today when I get home, I’ll have her find her toy that I’ll hide outside before I go in. These are simple, small, tiny things that make a huge difference to my dog.
So pick something your dog already knows and understands and come up with some sort of a plan. For example, “I’m going to have her sit and stay and then I’m going to hide her toy and have her find it. I’ll do it at least six times.”
All right, so now you have your plan. And all of you, as soon as you finish reading this, can get your dog’s attention and play.
It may turn out to be not quite what you’ve expected. Perhaps you didn’t bring the right energy into it. Maybe your dog wanted to play longer. It takes practice to do these things. That’s how it is when you’re working on something, and it doesn’t feel right. You aren’t sure if it’ll make any difference. You don’t know if you’re doing it right. It’s like when you go to the gym and try to do some pushups: you don’t feel like it; the second you start, you feel like giving up; you don’t see any progress. But eventually you get the hang of it, and you do improve, and you start noticing progress.
So come up with some game plan. Try it. Then come up with another one. Try it. Then, do it again and again. Keep practicing.
If you actually do this, I would love for you to send me some pictures or describe your games. That would be amazing to share with others. This is an interactive blog. We want to know you’re actually doing great stuff with your dog.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about some gear, but today you’re going to try your first short game and write to me about it. Remember to keep the exercise less than 10 minutes.
What else can you do? Well, if you haven’t yet subscribed, please do so. And if you could share, that would help other people find this blog, and we’ll have more people join us on this journey of improving the lives of our dogs.
All right, friends, I have to go to work. I will talk with you tomorrow. And we will discuss some gear. See you then.