Friday, August 1, 2014

All work and No Play- Work Life Balance in Teams

Members of the public often have the idea that service dogs never get to "just be dogs". This assumption couldn't be farther from the truth, especially if a team plans to function for many years to come.The balance between working together and playing together is one that begins to be established as soon as you and your SD (or potential SD when owner training) enter into each others' lives beginning with the definition of play  for each.

 Common Dog Definitions of Play
  1. Play is mutual. I want to play with you!
  2. Favorite dog games include Tag, Chase, Keep Away, Sharable toys, Hide and Seek.
  3. Play is enjoyable for both of us, if you are not having fun it lessens my fun.
Common Human Definitions of Play
  1. Playing with your dog means toys and other dogs.
  2. Play is fetch and tug.
The real definition of play of course is any activity that gets both you and your SD smiling, laughing, enjoying each others company, and leaves you both feeling recharged and connected. Teams that play together everyday strengthen their bond, lessen the effects of a stressful world, maintain training, gain insights into each others personalities, improve team members health both physically and mentally. I seem to get partnered with dogs whose sense of play requires me to "lighten up" and be able to take a well timed joke. --Yes, dogs can be practical jokers, especially those clever enough to be service dogs.-- Both Bastien and Shilo's sense of humor spanned the spectrum from out right goofiness to well time jokes including hiding right behind me, to the ever popular squeal inducing goose and sneak slurp.

Learn More About the Importance of Play for People and Dogs
  1. Play and kids-
  2. Play, Creativity, and Lifelong Learning: WHY PLAY MATTERS FOR BOTH KIDS AND ADULTS- 
  3. Autism and Play (Book) 
  4. Dog Play & Exercise: Tips on what type of exercise/ play and how much is appropriate- 
  5. Play with your Dog by Pat Miller 
  6. Play Together - Soft Cover Book-HAPPY AND HEALTHY PLAY BETWEEN PEOPLE AND DOGS: Play is fun and frolicsome, but it is powerful stuff! Learn how to use it to enhance your relationship with your dog.
  7. Dog Games You Can Play if You are Physically Impaired-