Follow by Email

Friday, August 18, 2017

Benefits of Enrichment




What is all this talk about enrichment?  Enrichment is defined as improving or enhancing the quality of something.  So, enrichment in our dogs' lives is about enhancing their quality of life, giving them interesting things to experience and do, and in the process, we enrich our own lives too.  Providing enrichment for our dogs is fun and lets us use our creativity.

When we add these interesting things to our dogs' lives, however, there are other, extra benefits that may appear.  Every dog can enjoy and benefit from enrichment, no matter what senses they rely on or what their physical abilities are.  

Sometimes when our dogs have physical or sensory limitations, they tend to slow down their activity levels or the things they try to do on their own.  And we accept this as due to those limitations, but often it's because the way they experience the world has changed.  A dog that can move easily and freely and that can experience its world fully with all senses, gets drawn to different objects, movement, and activities in its environment.  If this changes and the dog doesn't see, hear and experience things in the same way, it may stop interacting with its environment.

Adding enrichment to a dog's day-to-day life can help to keep it interested, happy, and content.  It provides a sense of well-being.  Enrichment offers the power of choice.  We can empower our dogs to make choices about what they do during the day, so they aren't just sitting around waiting for something to happen. 

Enrichment builds a dog's confidence with new experiences.  Keeping a dog used to change is important, because our lives with dogs don't tend to always stay the same.  By continuing to introduce change into a dog's lifestyle, that dog will be better able to adapt to any changes that come its way.

Providing new experiences in your dog's life will help to enhance its mental sharpness and problem solving ability.  Enrichment keeps dogs busy and gives them a job to do.  Many breeds of dogs were originally bred to have a job to do every day. Sitting around the house is a poor substitute for a job, and this is where many dogs find their own "job" - one which people don't always approve of!  

Enrichment can help a dog to learn to enjoy quiet time alone and can reduce separation issues.  It can provide activities for dogs that are recovering from surgeries or injuries and may need to have crate rest time.  Providing new experiences can reduce stress and boredom, and hence, can reduce stress and boredom-related behaviors that people often don't appreciate.  

Whatever your reason for wanting to provide enrichment activities for your dog, I know you will find it FUN!  Fun for you ... and for your dog!  

If you'd like to learn more about providing enrichment for your dog, check out the new online class at Uniquely Paws-Able.  Every week you will learn new fun activities to do with your dog, as well as about the many enrichment toys you can buy - and many more you can make yourself with things you already have around your house!  You will learn some of the science behind why enrichment is necessary in a dog's life, and how to use enrichment activities to ward off behavior issues.  Class starts next week!  Hope to see you there!  








Sunday, August 13, 2017

New Classes and Resources - Uniquely Paws-Able




Hello White Dog Blog Fans!

I'm excited to announce that Uniquely Paws-Able continues to grow to provide you with new resources and opportunities to learn and have fun with your dogs!  Take a look at what's new:

NEW this class session is Enrichment and Games - 6 weeks full of fun activities for you and your dog to do together to enhance his/her quality of life, to build confidence, and to ward off boredom and the behavior issues that often come with it.  Enrichment and Games will be kicking off on Aug. 26th. 

Offered again this session will be Grooming, Husbandry and Handling Games, due to popular demand.  Many of you missed it the first time around and asked for it to be offered again.  We will use positive reinforcement to help our dogs learn to enjoy and cooperate with everyday husbandry and grooming behaviors.  Past Grooming students, feel free to join us again this session if you'd like.  You already have access to the course material - we'd love to have you offering support in the Facebook group to the newer Grooming students!  This course will also kick off on Aug. 26th.

Offered as an ongoing self-study course, that you can join at any time, is Positive Reinforcement and Clicker Training.  This course will get you started off right on the road to training and communicating with your dog in a positive manner!  Start anytime!

The Easy Blog Reference Guide is offered FREE to students signed up through Uniquely Paws-Able.  With this guide, you can easily navigate The White Dog Blog and find posts of interest quickly.  Check out the Reference Guide today!

Another NEW offering is the FREE Library section - exclusive to Uniquely Paws-Able members.  I am building this Library as a resource center for those interested in double merles, blind and/or deaf dogs, training (for any dogs), wellness, and just wants to get into my head and see what I like.  There are some articles loaded there now - check back frequently!

I have new classes in the planning stages and would love to know what classes you're waiting for and would love to see!  Please reach out with your ideas!  This school is all about helping you learn more about your dog! 

Happy Training,


Deb

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Treasure Embraces Eleven!


How did it happen that this amazing girl is 11 years old already?  I'm struck by a mixture of emotions.  I want to bring time to a screeching halt so she never gets any older and I have her with me forever.  I've only had her with me for 7 years and I want to make up those years that I didn't have her with me.  I adore her and my whole heart belongs to her - and she knows it.  I look back and I am amazed at all she has accomplished and all we have created together as a resource for others with double merles and with blind/deaf dogs.  She has been a trail blazer for so many others coming along in her path.  

She has touched so many people's lives - some in person and some from afar.  So many people know her and know of her, that I am humbled over and over again.  I go over so many moments in my heart that are etched there forever.  I see her slowing down.  I see her aging.  My mind doesn't want to comprehend that she's getting older.  

But then I put on her party hat and pulled out her favorite treat - homemade frosty snacks!  Turkey doggy ice cream with special dog treats frozen into it.  And she shows me that age is all a number in my head.  She has no concept of these things I burden myself with.  Her love of life and ice cream, the way she greets me when I come home, how she snuggles with me at bedtime and gently licks me awake in the morning, or how she puts her tiny feet on my leg to get my attention - these are the things that make my heart sing daily.  

Just looking at her brings a smile to my face and a rush of love to my heart.  She's my girl and I'm her person.  Together we are an unstoppable team.  I am so grateful that I started this blog 7 years ago when Treasure found her way into my heart and my home.  I started it as a way to share with others so they could learn along with us.  And I've created a beautiful memoir of Treasure's life and accomplishments.  I hope you take some time to go back and read some of our posts that you may not have seen before.  

Happy Birthday and Gotcha Day, my beautiful Treasure!  I raise a toast of doggy ice cream to the blessing of many more years together as friends and partners.  Love you, Sweet Pea!