Author(s): Katharina von der Leyen
Carve out some special time for you and your dog. No matter how much we love them, our time is often what our dogs don't get heaps and heaps of. Trudging around the same block over and over is not what builds a closer relationship with your dog - but changing it up will. Try this: pick a specific spot in the grass and hide little hot dog pieces in it, teach your dog how to swim, make him a care package to open, or let him teach you the power of positive thinking.
With a big dollop of humor and affection, Katharina von der Leyen offers her expert advice in 77 Dates with Your Dog, suggesting 77 fun activities to enhance the relationship between dog owners and their four-legged friends-and have a good laugh in the process!
For example, the seasoned dog expert recommends sharing a roast beef sandwich with your dog at least once-and sure, it could also be a bologna or cheese sandwich. Why? Because sharing food-or breaking bread together, to use a more biblical turn of phrase-connects not just people, but humans and their dogs. Going rowing together, as another example, is an excellent activity to see if your dog trusts you. The wobbling involved will make your dog a bit uneasy at first, but it will help him learn to rely on you. The book includes other joint activities from "jump in a lake together and swim" to "dig a deep hole together"-yes, actually, together! Von der Leyen explains in the book why these shared experiences can be so beneficial for people and their dogs, as well as provides other tips like the perfect canine massage technique. "Of course, it is only super for your dog at first, but you'll be amazed at the energy that will suddenly spark between both of you," promises the author. What to do on rainy days with a bored dog? Build an obstacle course in your living room. The first station could be a box with crumpled newspaper and hidden treats, and the second could be a pot with sunflower oil or an unusual-smelling toy to play with. Don't worry, you don't have to sniff along with your dog; you already did your part by building the course. After a good thorough round of sniffing and searching, your dog will be wonderfully tired.
Some of the "dates" are funny, some are surprising, but all of them have been field-tested with the author's own dogs. Entertaining your dog is not the primary goal here-it's about truly getting to know the living creature you are responsible for and enjoying time together ... and occasionally making time to just be quiet and still with him: date number 77.
KATHARINA VON DER LEYEN is a journalist and book author and is one of the best-known writers on dogs. She has published numerous guides, novels, columns, and magazine articles about dogs and living with them in outlets including Dogs, Myself, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Welt am Sonntag, Bild am Sonntag, and many more. She is a top-drawer dog blogger with her successful blog www.lumpi4.de. She has about eight dogs herself and has never met a dog she didn't like.