Getting back to the work mode after a lovely Christmas break always feels like a light concussion – the brain isn’t quite there, a little foggy, getting through the whirlwind of information suddenly thrown like a lonely night wanderer pushing his way through a snow storm… I am in a serious need of coffee, lots and lots of coffee… and vitamin C… Because there is no Christmas without a lingering cold in our household.
But enough about me… For the record, the first paragraph took me two days to write…
I hope you had the best holiday time with your spaniels!
Did you make any resolutions for 2020? Mine are more like a list… I use the word “resolution” as a general description because psychologically it doesn’t quite work for me compared to the lists. And Christmas break was the perfect time to slow down, think, dream and write it all down to solidify the impact on my coffee-saturated mind.
Today is all about ideas just in case you are still in the process of deciding what to do with your English cocker in 2020. The main purpose of them is to help everyone to achieve the most fulfilling companionship between the parent and the pooch, help you understand your dog – and help the dog live the best life because he feels connected to his mum and dad.
I get criticised for often focusing on the human – and not the dog, when it comes to building a relationship between the two, but I truly, sincerely believe that everything, absolutely everything in the life of our dogs starts with our commitment to them and our responsibility of understanding the true meaning of being a pup parent. Yes, commitment… much heavier than just love. Love is for the heart, senses and oxytocin. Commitment is for happiness, safety and many more other things including discipline… Not for the dog alone – but for his parents, too.
2020 looks like a such a balanced number and a perfect starting point for creating more balance for us and our wonderful spaniels, making a plan, getting committed to the plan, completing it from start to finish challenging yourself in a positive way. It would be a shame not to give it a try, wouldn’t it?
Make each walk meaningful. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 20 minute stroll or a 2 hour adventure. The point is to be focused on your dog and remember that the walks are his life. Let him explore, see each trip through his eyes, let him stop and sniff, have a play and run together, have a conversation, laugh and share a cuddle! Most importantly, put your phone away! You’d be surprised how many little things you can notice around you and how much you can discover about your cocker if you concentrate all your attention on him – and not the screen.
Discover new places. And the funny thing is that a dog can see an ordinary street as something very exciting even if he walks there every day! All you have to do is to change your route sightly – turning left instead of right, re-visiting a spot a couple of times during the same walk, sitting down somewhere just to have a quiet moment together, stopping to watch birds and people… If you can travel further – even better!
Never compare your dog to the others. It’s such a simple habit to fall into. Just because some other pooch can do something your dog can’t – it doesn’t make that dog better than yours! Focus on the positives, never call your spaniel names, even as a joke, – and most definitely never criticise them in front of other people or let others share negative comments towards your dog! People only process what they see and hear. Tell them that your dog is ab absolute dream – and they will walk away with a smiling heart.
Train with purpose. Some dogs are born to be on TV, others – search for drugs or help people in need. Your spaniel is here to live his life with you. Everything he knows and learns needs to fit into your lifestyle – not mimic some random dog who may know a super-special trick or behaves like a well-programmed robot. Spaniels are such personalities and you need to find the golden mean between keeping that wonderful charm and helping your dog to learn how to behave for the sake of safety and peace. And remember to have fun and be enthusiastic about any kind of training lessons.
Read some good books about dogs. I am a believer that the best information comes from books – and not social media. So do make a list of good titles and set yourself a goal of reading a book a month. You will be amazed how much better you will be able to understand your dog, his needs (think diet, behaviour, grooming, health) and how much it will improve your life. Perfect cocker spaniel is the best place to start. Beside all the information it contains a list of brilliant dog books to help you build a great little library.