Sunday, December 9, 2012
Finished Book: "Play With Your Dog" by Pat Miller
A: They allow me to read about dogs...and get paid while doing it.
Thursday morning's schedule had me getting up at 5am and heading to the airport for a trip to Seattle, WA. The trip would be short; leave MKE at 6am, land in SEA around 11am PST, head to downtown Seattle, eat a little something, then head into a creative brainstorming session for a well-known mobile device manufacturer and their global branding agency. The return trip would be quite similar; getting up at 4am, heading to the airport, landing at O'Hare for a connection flight that I didn't have a confirmed seat on. I ended up taking the bus back, which actually got me home and hour and a half earlier (yay!).
It all worked out in the end and during the combined hours in an airplane I got to pull back the cover of Pat Miller's Play With Your Dog.
While many of the concepts in the Pat Miller's book were not new to me, I was ultimately looking for additional ideas...new games...that I could implement into my relationship with Oscar. He is a dog who LOVES to play. He will (literally!) spit out food if the Frisbee or orange Chuck-it! ball come out. Any movement toward the side door sparks an immediate dash and look of hope from my handsome little man. I got what I was looking for...a few nuggets of ideas and inspiration that I look forward to trying out.
The flow of chapters in Play With Your Dog is brilliant. Pat starts with describing what play really is, then moves along to describe different dog play styles (Oscar is definitely in the typical herding "cheerleader/fun police" category). Following these topics, she discusses proper ways for humans to engage in play, talks about the overall benefits of play (hint: the benefits are HUGE!), different types of play (object play, mind games, chase games, and contact play) and gives great examples of each type, including the wonderful game of TUG! She makes a point to discuss the importance of children playing with dogs and games that should be avoided as well as games that are well-suited to keep the dogs and kids safe and happy. She ends her book with a great section on rehabilitating the play-deprived dog...something that hits very close to home since I can count on both of my hands how many times my dear Fanny has engaged in play just for the thrill of it.
Overall Pat's book lays out a great foundation for those who are looking to engage their dogs in play. Pat challenges us, as owners and guardians, to tailor the play games/style to the individual dog and to keep it fun! While play can be a very powerful reinforcer, it is absolutely OK to play just for play's sake!