What I Would Have Done Differently with the Dogs

    When we got our puppies I wanted them to be the best trained dogs they could be and I wanted every situation they were in to flow smoothly. Some of those hopes and desires didn't come true. In retrospect, I would have done some stuff differently but as you know hindsight is 20/20 and I can't go back. If I can pass along some advice that could possibly help someone who is just getting a puppy or already has a puppy and looking for ways to improve things then that's great. So here are some ways I would have altered my approach:

Take them for car rides that don't go to a specific place

  • For the first few years the only time the dogs would ride in the car would be when we went to either the vet, which they hate, or to somewhere for a hike or run. This made it so that every car ride was chaos as it was either excitement or panic depending on where they noticed we were going. It has taken me a few years of “pointless” car rides for them to calm down in the car. “Pointless” car rides are when I go through the drive through at the bank or Starbucks and go back home right after. It has made a significant difference but I wish I would have started this earlier.

Take them for just as many walks as runs

  • Once I was able to take the dogs for runs (which on a side note you shouldn’t do till around the 2 year old mark because they haven’t found their proper running stride and this can make them prone to injuries) I was so happy because I find walks to be very boring. This meant I could run with them on a daily basis and get great exercise for them and for me. But this also meant that walks rarely happened. This created dogs that didn’t want to walk either. Whenever we were on a walk they would constantly be pulling to go faster and whining which makes these walks incredibly annoying. So my suggestion is if you love running with your dog, awesome, but make sure you take them for just as many walks as runs.

Get them more interaction with kids

  • Because it took a few years until the dogs met kids they didn’t know the proper way to approach them. It wasn’t anything like aggression towards them but more of overpowering love and excitement. Both Thor and Storm get so excited when they see anyone that they just want to play and have fun. But with Thor weighing 75 lbs that excitement could easily bowl over a small child and send them flying which I am so paranoid will happen. I wish I could have introduced them to kids as puppies so that I could have helped teach them to approach children. Since Baby Bird has been around it has definitely helped.

Don't be so routine all the time

  • I am a very routine person in almost every way of life but this trait has created a bit of chaos when it comes to the dogs. Up until a year or so ago every walk or run would be the same route. I had a short and a long route for both walks and runs and would only do those routes. When I finally ventured off the usual paths, the dogs would start to act chaotic like they forgot to obey commands and this led to some very frustrating trips outside. Since then, I switch up the route every single day and it has helped immensely.

Have them stay at a kennel early on

  • In the early years whenever we left town instead of taking the dogs to a kennel we would ask friends or family to stay over and watch them. While I thought this was good for them to stay in the house because they are used to this set up, it caused some trouble later on. Eventually when we left town I couldn’t keep asking friends and family to watch the dogs so we took them to a kennel. At the age they were at, going to the kennel sent the stress levels through the roof. When they got back from the kennel there was some lack of eating, throwing up, and diarrhea which made me feel so bad. We have since gotten them used to the kennel and have found one that we absolutely love. If you are in the located in Edmonton area check out Club Mead Pet Resort right near the airport. They are an excellent kennel!

Thor and Storm sleeping in Baby Bird's room

    Hopefully some of these small changes can help you with your dogs or any future dogs you’re going to get. What do you wish you would have done differently with your dogs? Let me know in the comments down below.

                                        - Papa Bird

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