DogZenergy is a portmanteau. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, portmanteau is defined as 1: a large suitcase and 2: a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms. DogZenergy is not a large suitcase, but it is a word that I made up a few years ago to describe my training method. The DogZenergy Method revolves around the key notion that dogs have a lot of energy that must be released in positive and constructive ways so that they may live a more zen, calm and natural life. By releasing your dog's physical, mental and chewing energy, you will turn your dog'senergy into zenergy. Zenergy, meaning good, positive, calm, happy energy that is mutually shared between you and your dog so that you may fully enjoy your peaceful existence with one another.
No dog is a bad dog. A "bad" dog is a dog that lives in an unnatural and confining human environment and is a victim of a person who is either misinformed regarding his dog's basic needs or intentionally neglectful of his dog's natural functions in life. So often, people forget that their dogs are animals that were not made to live indoors confined to crates, leashes, gates, doors and windows. Dogs are made to romp, roll, play, run, breathe and experience the great outdoors. They were made to chase their noses, wag their tails and run happily along with their playmates and working humans. Deny a dog of his natural desires, instincts and needs, and your dog's natural, pure energy will build inside of him until it bursts out of h
im in ways that are not conducive to your brand new shoes and your custom ma
de furniture. Dogs that are anxious, hyper, stressed out, intense and reactive are most often products of their unnatural environments, victims of traumatic experiences, and/or deprived of their natural needs and instincts. Your dog's energy can be turned into zenergy by identifying your dog's needs and allowing him to expel is built up energy so that his mind can open and relax.
There are three different types of dogs' energy:
is built up in every animal and creature. It allows us to move and feel, and talk and breathe and experience life to it's fullest. There are reactions within our bodies that are fueling our muscles and our brain so that we may move about life
and appreciate everything that it has to offer. Dogs are so full of positive energy that stretching their legs and running full speed ahead on an open expanse is one of their greatest pleasures. Watching a dog leap through a field of tall grass with his tongue hanging out the side of his big, goofy grin is so fun to watch and you can just see the positive, happy endorphins being released into his body. You can't help but smile watching dogs play chase and roll around with each other in a big puddle of mud. Allowing your dog to run off leash and follow his amazing sense of smell is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your dog. A thirty minute walk around the neighborhood twice a day on leash is not enough to fully unleash your dog's energy and happiness. Try this experiment at home... lock yourself in your dog's crate for four hours inside your house, then walk around your block and then lock yourself in your house again. Are you tired? Nope. Do you have cabin fever and feel like you are going to explode if you don't receive any sensory stimulation? Yup. Being stuck on the couch in front of t
he television all day can leave a person feeling antsy, weird and full of energy. A lack of physical stimulation is directly linked to the state of one's mind. Taking your dog for a little walk is like going out and doing errands. You're not that tired and your mind hasn't been relaxed. However, if you go for an hour hike or a bike ride, your whole mood can be lifted and your whole being can be energized in a happy, calm way. It's very important to get your dog not only running off leash and romping around with doggy pals, but also to engage with your dog so that you're both experiencing the great outdoors together. Playing fetch with your dog and sharing a mental and physical game together will bond the two of you so that you feel like your are working together. Play your own game of search and rescue by having your dog sit and stay on the trail while you track your dog's favorite toy into the brush. Then release your dog and encourage him to use his nose and his brain to release all of his physical and mental energy. Get involved with a nose work group or join a search and rescue team in your area. Take your dog hunting, herding, swimming, dock diving, or tunneling. Our dogs have so many working talents and are so energized by experiencing a fun outdoor activity with their favorite human in the world. Whatever you do with your dog, make sure that you are appreciating each other in each and every moment and live in the Now together.
is stored up in your dog's brain and has to be stimulated and released otherwise it will be demonstrated in ways that humans don't always approve of. Excessive barking, digging, chewing, mind games, running away, and attention seeking behaviors are usually the result of a dog trying to find their own type of fun, mental activity. It's important to engage your dog mentally in ways that show him how you want him to experience and live in your world. For example, taking the time to teach your dog basic commands, words, tricks and name-object recognition will enhance your dog's intelligence and mentally exhaust a lot of his built up energy. Getting out your dog's mental energy will sometimes tire a dog out even more than letting him run around at the dog park for thirty minutes. Have your dog work for his food by trying to figure out how to get his breakfast out of a puzzle toy. Make it even harder by hiding the toy somewhere in your house while your dog is in a down/stay. Teach your dog what different objects and people around the house are called. Build up your dog's confidence by teaching him some silly party tricks that you can show off to your dog adoring friends. Engage with your dog throughout the day by giving him attention for good behaviors that he's exhibiting and for doing the little things in life, like lying peacefully on his bed or warming your feet by lying quietly by your side. Mentally stimulate and encourage your dog to connect with you on a level where clear communication and consistency builds the trust and respect that you have for one another.
is energy that builds up in your dog's powerful jaws. Your dog is an animal that has animal instincts to gnaw on raw bones and tear apart his dead squirrel squeaky toy. Wild dogs depend on their jaws to survive and use their jaws to carry their food, their young and their objects that they play with. Domestic dogs that do not have an ample amount of chews and toys to gnaw on will exert their energy onto Jimmy Choos, dry wall, table legs and human hands. Provide your dog with good, positive options and he will happily chew to his heart's content. Antlers, bully sticks, himalayan chews, and frozen raw marrow bones are some of the best options. Chewing also cleans your dog's teeth for a bedazzling doggy smile.
Keeping the three types of dog energy in mind-
physical, mental and chewing
- will allow you to fulfill your dog's basic needs so that he may live a natural, happy and positive life. Getting out your dog's physical energy will release the built up stress in his body and open his mind to learning new things that will build your relationship. Giving your dog a bone will make you his best friend and will help him fully relax his body, mind and jaws. So now, go take your dog on a good long hike, play a game of hide and go seek, give your dog a frozen raw marrow bone and then you will experience the happiest, most zen dog in the whole world. A tired dog is a good dog and a zen dog. And remember to always enjoy every beautiful minute with your amazing animal.