Dogs need three fundamental things to live a fulfilling life:
Many of the dogs that we have come use with behavior problems, we find out that the underlying cause is the relationship between the dog and owner.
Now you may think that you are your pup spend plenty of time hanging out together on the couch or your dog sits at your feet while you play on the computer.
I want you to really think about what your dog does during their regular routine. How much of their routine requires any type of real active involvement or mental process. Or does your dog spend most of their day either lying around the house, or sniffing around in the back yard?
Many of the behavior problems that you may encounter with your dog could be the result of boredom, lack of exercise, and a lack of mental stimulation.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to do intense training with your dog all day every day for you dog to be happy, but including a few deliberate activity sessions with your dog on a daily basis will make a world of difference!
Even if it means taking your dog for a walk, and actually interact with your dog on your walk! If you get ready for your walk and make sure your phone is charged and your earbuds are charged before you go out, you may not actually getting the most out of your dog on your walks.
When you walk with your dog, make it a little training session if you want. Bring some treats with you. Pet your dog when he is walking with a nice loose leash. Tell your dog that they are good, talk to your dog.
Another option is playing with your dog with their favorite toy! This could be a game of fetch with the ball or frisbee in the backyard, or playing a game of tug!
If you’ve been able to get your dog to sit for a treat, spend a little time seeing what else you can teach them!
If the first time you start adding some of these activities into your routine your dog doesn’t seem thrilled about the idea, keep it going for about 5 minutes or so and then end it. During the first few sessions, try to end the session when your dog is really enjoying it.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why should I stop if my dog is having fun?”
We want your dog to have that feeling of wanting more to be the lasting memory of the activity. Then the next time you offer the activity they will immediately remember that they wanted more of it and they should be much more excited!
What motivates your dog?
Now, every dog is unique and not every dog loves to play fetch, while other dogs may chase a ball off a cliff! You can teach your dog to like a new activity, but its much easier to try different activities until you find something that your dog is really motivated about.
Now you may be thinking to yourself that we have only really talked about the physical activity part of the three things dogs need for a fulfilling life, but for some, learning to chase the ball, pick it up, and bring it back to you in order to get you to throw it again, can be a mental challenge.
You can add to activities once your dog has really got the hang of something as well. My dog loves to play fetch, so before I throw the ball, I ask him to do something, anything!
Sometimes I make him sit before I throw the ball, or I’ll have him spin in a circle, or jump up in the air. These are just some ways to add some additional mental stimulation to a boring old game of fetch.
Every once in a while I just want you to think “What has my dog done today?” “Has my dog had a boring day?” If you think that your dog could benefit from an activity, it could as simple as a game of tug in the living room, or throwing the ball for 20 minutes in the back yard. Consistently interacting with your dog on a regular basis can help address a plethora of common unwanted dog behaviors.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more training advice, tips, and videos!