Ep. 14: Superbowl Sunday What About the Dog

Feb 7, 2021

It is officially Superbowl Sunday and even during COVID, people are likely to get loud and rambunctious while watching the game, snaking and having a grand ole time. But what about the dog? Will they be concerned as you are screaming at the T.V. or begging for your snacks or jumping all over you with every play?

In this episode, we cover some of the ways you can better set your dog up for success so you can better enjoy the game and not butting heads with your canine friend.


Dianna L. Santos


Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to the It is Time to Train Your Dog Podcast. In this podcast, we talk about training tips, ways that we can better enjoy the time that we have with our dogs, a behind the scenes look of what your instructor or trainer may be going through and much more. In this episode, I wanted to talk about ways that we can help our dogs be successful if we were going to be doing something that was very human-centric and potentially loud and animated such as, oh, I don't know, watching the Super Bowl game. Before we start diving into the episode, lemme just do a very quick introduction myself. My name is Dianna Santos. I'm the Owner and Lead instructor for Pet Dog U, Dog Sport University and Scent Work University. Pet Dog U is an online dog training platform where we provide online courses, seminars, webinars, and eBooks that are all designed to help you better enjoy the time that you have with your puppy or your dog. So we do this by outlining positive reinforcement and reward-based training techniques so that you can really maximize on how wonderful it is to share your day in your life with your little furry friend. So I just know a little bit more about me. Let's dive into the podcast episode itself.

So in this episode I want to talk about how it is that as dog owners, we could potentially help our dogs be a little bit more successful if we were planning on doing something that was going to be extraordinarily human centric, potentially loud and rambunctious and ruckus, such as watching a Super Bowl game because I am recording this on Super Bowl Sunday, so this can apply to any type of thing that you may be doing. Again, we are currently in Covid right now, so hopefully people aren't doing too many get togethers, but eventually life will turn back to normal and there may be things like birthday parties or holiday get togethers or whatever the case may be, and there are times when we're doing these sorts of things that our dogs just kind of get lost in the shuffle, and it could be kind of scary for them.

It could be stressful, they could even just not mind all that much, but they're just underfoot, right? Let's take the Super Bowl watching, for instance. You're sitting there, you've got snacks, you're cheering for your team and your dog. Every time you make a noise, they're climbing up on the couch and they're going down your throat being like, are you okay? You just want to enjoy the game, but for some reason they just seem to be right there. So I think it's important to understand from our dog's perspective that these types of activities and these types of things that humans do can be a little unsettling or they could also be really super exciting so that they want to be involved, right? They don't understand that they're supposed to just kind of go hang out somewhere while you scream either because you're happy or because you're not so happy at the giant flicky box that is your tv.

So what are some things that we can do to help our dogs be a little bit more successful so you can enjoy the big game or whatever the case may be, and they can go just kind of chill out? Well, the biggest thing that you can do is before you're actually going to do this human thing that has nothing to do with your dog, do some dog things, the biggest thing that you can do is really have a quick training session with them. Nothing too crazy, 10, 15 minutes at most. Work on some of their favorite tricks, work on some of their favorite behaviors, the things that you've been working on. Keep it fun. There's no need to drill this or make it icky and then end with it with a really nice fun play session going for a short walk or a short hike.

The whole point is that you want to cover both ends of the spectrum. You want to work your dog out mentally, so they actually have used that powerful little brain of theirs. You want to tucker them out as far as that's concerned, but you also want to give them a physical outlet. And for a lot of dogs, the problem that we get ourselves into as owners is that we're only doing the physical side of things. We're just throwing the ball a million times waiting for 'em to panic and be like, okay, great. Now they'll nap. But the problem is, if you only rely on that, you're actually, you're increasing your dog's threshold where basically you're developing an Olympic athlete that you will never be able to satiate. So the way to counteract that is to ensure that you're also working them out mentally, and that's where those training sessions really come into play.

Just even doing quick little problem solving things such as scent work, which I'm a huge proponent of, is very helpful for that. So for yourself, if you've never done s work before, just hiding some treats around your house or around your yard and letting them snorkel them out and then telling them how great they are, and then doing a plays session with them or a walk or a hike or whatever the case may be, because then you're going to be covering all of your bases. And then when it comes time for beginning to watch your game as far as Super Bowl Sunday is concerned, give them a chew such as a frozen Kong or a stuffed bone or something of that sort so that they can be kind of engaged in and make sure that they have an area that they can just kind of chill out and go to sleep.

Either have them inside their crate, the door doesn't have to be closed, it could be open. They can be inside another room that has all their beds and stuff in it, or you can just have a better mat near you that they can kind of relax in. But giving them options as far as, this is what I would really prefer for you to do, and now I'm going to concentrate on watching tv. The more that you can set them up for success, the easier your life is going to be. Now again, ideally during these covid times, we're not getting together in big groups or anything, but eventually life will turn back to normal and you may actually get some get togethers. So in those circumstances, you want to have the same kind of approach. Let's say that you have a party or something scheduled later on in the day, so maybe like an hour out before people are supposed to come over. That's where someone within the home would be doing these short little training sessions with the dog.

Speaker 2 (05:56):
Would the play session would do the walk or the hike. You would have your chew all set up already and then maybe your dog is allowed to greet and say hi, whatever else. But then you want them to just kind of go chill, relax. Maybe you're going to have a whole bunch of people over at your house. You don't want 'em underfoot, you don't want them begging. You don't want them getting themselves into trouble, but you also don't want them to get overwhelmed. You don't want them to get stressed or concerned or worried. All these weird people, and maybe there are small children who are like, oh, I want to grab your tail or whatever. You don't want that stuff to happen either. So in those circumstances, having another room that your dog can then be safe in, ideally with at least a gate or you can close the door to keep nosy people out of, but basically this is where they would have their crate or their bed or their mat and their shoes as well as maybe some toys that they do really well with, and then they can just kind of relax while all the human chaos is happening somewhere else.

This is just a combination of good management as well as again, satiating them before you have the people come over so that they can be successful. Because the whole thing of where we start seeing these conflicts is that we're trying to do human stuff, and our dogs didn't magically become humans. They're still dogs and they have needs and they have wants, and they see and experience the world differently than we do. So when we are loud and rambunctious, even if you are screaming at your tv, you're watching a Super Bowl game, or if someone's telling a really great story or joke and everyone starts roaring and laughter or whatever, our dogs react to that because they may not know what that means. It could mean that something is wrong. It could mean that, oh, we're going to have a fun play game. Great, let me jump all over everyone and figure out who I get to play with.

So it can be either part of the spectrum, but generally speaking, when people are doing these types of events, they're not really keen on having a dog jump all over them. So we just need to be a little bit mindful as far as being dog owners, how it is that we can help our dogs be more successful in these kinds of scenarios. The other thing that we want to talk about really quickly in this episode is food. So again, super Bowl Sunday is a perfect example where typically people happen to have a lot of really yummy snacks and things that we can just shove into our faces as we're watching the game. And again, with other types of get-togethers, once we are past the pandemic area and we are having get togethers again, there's going to be a whole lot of food around. There's just people have little snacks and things that they can kind of grab and go, this is perfect for dogs.

From a dog perspective. They have all these different marks in the crowd that they can try to say like, okay, can I convince you to give me food? How about you? How about you? And then if they have children that are more dog height, they can just come right out and just snatch it right out of the kid's hand and be like, okay, great. Thanks. I appreciate you giving that to me. Or they may just help themselves be like, oh, look, here's a little plate with a whole bunch of food on it and no one's paying attention. I'm just going to help myself. And this is where people can get really upset. Obviously, you spend a lot of time getting all this stuff together. I doubt that your guests are going to be really cool with eating dog slobber, hors d'oeuvres or anything. So it causes a bunch of problems. But instead of getting upset, think about these things ahead of time and that your dog is just simply being opportunistic and they're problem solving. They're being a dog. If you have food available that the dog can somehow figure out how they can get, they will likely try to get it.

We need to think about these things when we're doing these types of events or get togethers or whatever the case may be, and figure out, do I need to put the dog somewhere else so that they're not getting themselves into trouble? Do I need to have the food situated in such a way that the dog cannot get to it? And do I need to be doing other types of training before this event to help my dog understand that they really shouldn't be doing that kind of stuff? They shouldn't be counter surfing. They shouldn't be knocking children over for their food or jumping all over people or stuff like that. Now, again, because hopefully some people will listen to this before the game today, I don't expect your dog to be fully trained on this in a matter of hours. Not going to happen. But there are management things that we can do.

So again, the easiest thing is that when you're going to have a whole lot of food out and you can't keep track of everybody, put your dog somewhere else, even just behind a gate with a chew or a toy or something that they can be invested in while everyone else is kind of munching and moseying around and doing whatever. Again, it's all about setting your dog up to succeed. We're not punishing your dog. We're actually keeping them out of trouble, and because you're giving them something really awesome like a frozen Kong as stuffed with peanut butter and then frozen, or you could be really creative as long as it's donkey appropriate, they're like, wow, this is great. Yeah, sure, you guys go over there and do your own thing. I've got this awesome thing that I really like and no one's bothering me for it, which is awesome.

But let's say that you wanted to plan something out, right? You were trying to think ahead months from now where maybe life is back to normal and you want to have, let's say a birthday party or something, or even just a get together, be like, wow, we can be together in the same space and that's okay. Or maybe just people that's in your house. You're like, we're just going to decide how a little happy whatever. And you want to think of ways that you can help your dog be successful so that if necessary you can place him into another room. But maybe there's other training things that you can do, and this is where one of our online courses that we offer through Pet Dog U, it would be very helpful for you. It's called the Leave It Course. So the whole premise behind this course is that your dog is going to learn self-control and impulse control, and you are going to be teaching a cue that would teach them to look back at you and to leave something else alone.

But it's not using punishment. It's a thing that your dog will enjoy doing. As opposed to hearing that we're going, oh, no, something terrible is going to happen. It's more like to hear that word and go, wow, okay, I'm going to do something with my person. And that's what you're looking for because if you go the other route, it just means that your dog still wants to get the thing. They're just going to find a more sneaky way of getting there. So I would strongly urge you to check out that course. It's actually up on our site, pet Dog U. It's taught by one of our featured instructors, Lori Timberlake, and she did an excellent job. So you can enroll either as a student where you would have full access to all the course materials, but you would also be having an intensive learning experience where you would be submitting weekly homework and videos for Lori to review and provide feedback on.

Or you can enroll as an auditor where again, you still have full access to all the course materials, but you would be submitting one video to her to review and provide feedback on via email, and that can be done at any time, or you can enroll as a watcher, which is our self-taught option. So we actually have our student session starting for February tomorrow, Monday, February 8th. So if you were interested in enrolling in that, I would strongly encourage you to do so as a student if you wanted to enroll as an auditor or a watcher. Those options are available all of the time, so you don't have to worry about any deadlines as far as that's concerned. I just wanted to put that out there that again, if you do have some plans in whatever regard of having people moseying around with food particularly, and you're like, I really would like to train my dog to not mug people for their food, then this would be an excellent course for you to get a leg up on that as far as X is concerned.

So just to recap, what can we do? We're having some kind of activity that's only human focused. We really would rather that our dog not be all over us while we're doing whatever it is that we're doing in this situation, watching the football game, there are tangible things that we can do to help our dog be successful. The first thing is that we should at least an hour before whatever it is that we're going to be doing, we should be training with them again, a short 10, 15 minute training session where they can actually think so doing their favorite tricks, doing their favorite behaviors, or doing something such as problem solving, such as scent work where they're actually going around storing and finding treats as an example. We then want to follow that up with a play session. So we've worked out their brain. We now want to work out their body.

Again, nothing to try to exhaust them. We're not trying to hurt them, which is something to get the yee-haw out. So playing some fetch with some ball or doing some tug or some things like that, and then following up with a short walk or even better a hike where they get to go out and enjoy nature or whatever else. So give yourself some time, right, to do this stuff before you're going to be doing this thing. Then your dog is going to be pretty well satiated, right? They're going to have their mental needs met, they're going to have their physical needs met. They got to enjoy doing some exploring as far as walking or hiking. All good things. Have a chew available for them, like a bully stick or a frozen stuffed Kong or a bone or whatever the case may be so that they can invest in that as you are starting to settle in to do your activity.

Again, in this example, watching the Super Bowl, have that all set up near a mat or a bed or their crate so that they can rest. Because a lot of times after your dog has done all these different types of things, they've done their training, they've done their plane, they did their exploring, and then they're sailing down to give them their chew. They kind of go into the zen state and then they sleep, which is really what you're looking for. You would like for them to just kind of nap while you're doing whatever it is that you're doing, and you absolutely can provide them with a separate space from you in order to settle. So if you know that you get really loud and rambunctious when you're watching the Super Bowl as an example, then maybe have your dog in a different room. Put just a gate up in front of the doorway where you can just close the door, but just make sure that you're providing them with stuff that they have their shoes, they have their beds, and it's not a punishment.

You're just trying to provide them with a safe space away from you so that they can just settle and chill out. So those are some of the things that you can try to do, but we always want to hear from you. Did you find this podcast episode helpful? Did it give you any ideas? Were you able to listen to it before you had to do your zippo bowl? We're going to be posting this on our Pet Dog U Facebook page. So if you have any comments or questions or ideas for future topics, you can always check us out there. Alright guys, thanks so much for listening. I hope you have a great rest of your weekend, happy training. We look forward to seeing you soon.