What do you do when you have had a particularly rubbish day? Stick the kettle on for a cuppa, open the biggest tub of ice cream you can find and forget the bowl, just grab a spoon and crack on? I know that there are as many variations of coping with the grumps as there are humans but this is an insight into an evening of mine!
However, on the evening in question, I was given a timely reminder and not-so-subtle kick up the bum before I could open the door to the freezer. I still made tea, obviously, but I was reminded to take a leaf out of my own book, literally.
I was sent outside with a box of treats and Mr Bear.
Now, if I hadn’t been sent outside, I can say with complete certainty that Mr Bear would have joined me on the sofa, offering support and drool in my hour of need while staring longingly from the ice cream to me and back again. The gentle company of a dog when you’re feeling grumpy is never a bad thing, but I would still have felt grumpy, and possibly a little bit sick late into the evening. I would probably have told him all about why I was grumpy, rehashing it over and over again. I would probably have then picked up my phone and messaged a friend to share my rubbish day and been indulged with the reassurance that the world is full of plonkers, further justifying my grumps. I would probably have felt rubbish all evening which would have been totally self-induced and while Mr Bear would have had company, I’m not sure it’s the sort of company he would choose.
However, because I was sent outside, this happened:
I set up the scent trail to end all scent trails. We had treats all over the garden, the wood store, the car, the bin and in one particularly risky twist for a Newfie-cross, by the pond.
Scent games are in Mr Bear’s top three things to do, the others being digging and swimming. Digging was incorporated into the game, swimming was not. Not intentionally anyway, it’s a very small pond, a glorified puddle really.
Needless to say, he was having the time of his life.
So was I.
You can’t feel grumpy when you’re playing scent games with Mr Bear.
I was getting involved, I was laughing, I was encouraging, I was practising my timing with the cues, I was moving my body and I was outside in the fresh air.
Even though I talk about this stuff day in, day out, I still need a reminder every so often that it really does work. Teaching, training, engaging with our dogs is what changes our behaviour as well as our dogs’.
So, consider this your reminder and if you need some ideas about things to do with your dog. You’ll find everything you need here.