Do you know what the easiest job in the world is? Dog sitting. I don’t do this as a profession or anything, but my friends seem to go out of town a lot. I have nothing else to do, and I can generally live my life from other people’s houses with no problem.
The other thing is that most of my friends are dog trainers. We all joke around that none of our dogs are trained, as we train our clients’ dogs all day so we don’t want to deal with our own dogs. However, that really isn’t the case. All the dog trainers’ dogs that I have sat for are very well trained. They all know Sit, Down and Stay and more importantly they know Get Away from Me. NONE of the trainers dogs bug you on a consistent basis. They want attention, but they don’t bark at you or scratch at you or jump on your head until you pet them. Instead, they curl up on the couch, watch TV with you and try to help you with your emails by laying their heads on the keyboards.
I was hoping I would have a great story to tell you after my dog sitting adventures this weekend, but I don’t. I’m now realizing that I would prefer no fun stories, no crazy dog happenings. It’s so much easier.
Now, how do we all get dogs like this? I’m pretty confident that all the trainers use tethers, crates and ignoring as crucial training tools. We might not work hard on fancy tricks, but I can tell you that we all care about relaxed dogs. Our dogs need to be calm, otherwise people think we’re crazy.
Lots of crate time, keeping your dog on a leash and ignoring any attention seeking behavior are key. When your dogs are calm, you reward them with food as much as possible. Eventually, your dogs just figure out that attention seeking doesn’t get them anywhere, but life is better when you can cuddle on the couch.