Silly Dogs, Happy Dogs, by By Eric Brad
One of the great joys in my life is knowing that my dogs are idiots. Don’t get me wrong. They are intelligent, well-trained, eager to work, and well accomplished in dog sports and activities. It’s just that, on occasion, they seem to enjoy acting like idiots.
I don’t mean to suggest that I only enjoy their periodic lunacy for my own entertainment (although that certainly is a factor). If I’m honest, a large part of my enjoyment comes from my ability to join them in their silliness. You see, I like being an idiot too sometimes.
Everybody’s free to be silly
If we feel safe, if we are with people we trust, we can feel free to be as silly as we like. Maybe it’s a bad pun, maybe it’s a funny face, but we all like to goof around and laugh. It’s the same with our dogs. They enjoy the freedom and release of just being silly too sometimes. Anyone who has ever owned a puppy can attest to this as I’m sure you have seen “The Zoomies”, those sudden bouts of just running all over the house for no apparent reason that seem to happen mostly in the evenings.
Depending on your particular kind of dog, you may feel more or less comfortable with doggy silliness in your household. While silliness and play are a natural part of being a dog, there can be some drawbacks. Larger dogs don’t know which of your furnishing are fragile and may bash into things. Dogs have claws that may mark up floors or scratch doors. And I have heard dogs described as having a “mouth full of cutlery”, those sharp teeth that sometimes accidentally inflict minor scrapes.
The Big No
Yes, it’s all fun and games until the human puts a stop to everything. Your dog is in the middle of having a grand old time when suddenly a table gets bumped or someone gets nicked by a tooth and “NO!”, the game ends abruptly. Your dog can be confused by this. They were just having some fun and suddenly they are getting yelled at. They probably aren’t sure why you are reprimanding them.
Dogs don’t really know that it’s ok to crash into the sofa but not the end table. They didn’t mean to catch your finger when they were re-gripping that rope toy you are playing tug with. So when we suddenly end the game, it may not exactly be clear to our dogs what went wrong. Being proactive in teaching our dogs the rules before we start the game can save everyone some unnecessary stress.
Simple rules, simple games
Each of our dogs has different games they enjoy. Our youngest, Rizzo likes to play with toys. Any toys. And he’s not shy about telling you when he wants to play. He simply grabs a toy from his collection, shoves it into the back of your leg, and wraps a paw around your leg. It’s almost like he’s saying, “Ah hah! Game one, dude!” And frequently we will oblige him.
But it was important that ..........read more