CHENNAI: It’s the monsoon and my dog hates the rain. She does not like to step into puddles and so it is a pain to walk her. She tugs and tries to get back home. Only, if I don’t take her for a walk, she mopes and chews up things in the house. I am caught in between the difficult dog and the naughty dog. What can I do?
— Maureen Sebastian
I can’t say enough about how good it is to have a dog that wants to be clean. A Retreiver girl I know had to be bathed at midnight, once, since she decided to take a dip in a puddle while out to answer nature’s call.
But jokes apart, we all know that not getting the daily dose of the walk leaves unspent energy and results in other forms of unwanted behavior such as chewing and whining.
There are two ways you can tackle this. First, encourage her to walk in spite of the wetness or rain. Try to understand what turns off your dog – is it the rain or is it the feeling of wet ground? If it is the puddles that she dislikes, work on encouraging her to associate it with good things, by playing with her in the garden or balcony or terrace when it is wet, or by encouraging her onto wet grass and then rewarding her with treats. Expect hesitation and refusal, yet encourage her to take the first few critical steps. Gently pull on her leash to move her forward and the moment she takes the steps, reward her.
If you think walking in the rain is absolutely not an option, the more practical thing to do is to engage the dog in some play indoors to ensure that the excess energy is spent. Dogs love to play hide and seek, and a simple supervised game of fetch indoors can do wonders. Do try to see if you can also make her run up and down the stairs as part of some game. This will ensure that she is entertained and also will tire her out physically. Additionally, activities that invoke mental stimulation also helps. Try a game like identifying the correct cup under which the treat is, or simple training commands like sit and stay to keep the dog from getting bored indoors.
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