There is little doubt that no matter how much we love our dogs, the friendship can get somewhat strained if we come home to destruction or soiling inside. It is even worse if our relationship with our neighbours and the council is threatened because our pooch barks all day or constantly escapes no matter how hard we try to stop it.
There are numerous causes for our dog to display these types of behavioral issues. The correct treatment programme can help to reduce these unwanted activities by providing more stimulation and unpredictability in their routine. A common reaction to these behaviors is to confine the dog by tying it up so that their annoying habits are not so widespread. This will tend to add to the potential stress and/or boredom, and will generally make matters worse over time. A far better strategy is to implement as many of the following recommendations as possible, and in doing so, identify those activities which benefit your dog the most.
Remembering that every dog has individual differences and requirements for stimulation. Some dogs are happy to lounge all day like a lizard and others will want to constantly move all day. Don’t be concerned if you have a small backyard, as it is what you do with that space.
Ideas for Owners Short on Time
Some activities do not require additional time on our part. Most dogs enjoy eating but will eat their meal very quickly. To make this activity more challenging and time-consuming, the food can be placed in something that requires extra effort in order to extract the food. A Tucker Ball is a perfect way to provide stimulation, and they come in four dedicated sizes. This has the potential to extend their meal from two minutes of inhaling food to twenty or thirty minutes of stimulation. There is also a Tucker Ball Mni for your cat!
Providing toys that mimic playing with a human are ideal! A Bungee Chook will act like a human arm as it pulls and releases as the dog is playing with it. Aussie Dog Product's Bungee toys come in a range of varieties and sizes to suit your dog.
It is best to not leave all of the toys out all of the time, or they will become ‘bored’. Offer a different toy every day and rotate the toys over a period of a week or so. This way, every time a toy is offered, it seems new and exciting.
Some dogs become frustrated because they can smell and hear activities going on outside their yard, but are unable to see out. Providing a couple of escape proof ‘windows’ in solid fences can help.
If your dog enjoys digging, then providing a sand pit for this purpose can save the rest of your garden, while meeting their needs. To show your dog that it is ok to dig there, it is best to bury some of his favourite toys into the sandpit while he is watching and then reward him when he digs them up. Through this form of positive re-enforcement, your dog will learn that it is much more fun digging and playing in this area as opposed to the rest of the yard.
Even a short game of throw and retrieve can allow a substantial amount of aerobic activity in a relatively confined space. Ensure you control when the game starts by having your dog sit quietly first and control finishes by putting the toy away while your dog is still interested in playing. Different toys can be used, and it is a great idea to use a tennis ball and racquet if you have a large backyard.
Quality Time With Your Dog
Stimulating your dogs' mind is just as important as giving him physical activity. Some basic obedience work, either at home or in a class situation, can assist you in having better control of your dog, as well as giving him a mental work-out. Dogs thrive off pleasing their owner. Some owners feel that they are mean or disrespectful if they demand specific tasks of their pet in order to earn food, when in fact, a dog that knows what you are asking of it is a much happier pooch. Your relationship with your dog will flourish when it knows what is required and gets a positive reward from you through play time, treats or pats.
Making time to ensure you dog has regular walks can be difficult, but even 20 minutes a day can make a difference. Obviously, the longer the walk the better. Take a look at your local council’s website for all of the dog-friendly areas around your neighbourhood, as there is likely more than you are aware of.
Swimming is another great way to expel energy, increase fitness and help with arthritis if your dog suffers from it. Some areas have canine swimming pools, but a lake, creek or beach is just as effective. If you can find a place that allows dogs off the lead then they will be able to socialise and burn extra energy out playing with other dogs also.
Some owners solve the boredom problem by getting another dog so he has someone to play with while you are not at home. Unfortunately, this generally just creates double the trouble! A better solution, if possible, is to organise a ‘doggy date’ with another person in your area, where they can interact and play under your supervision. Until you are sure the dogs mingle well, always supervise them during the initial stages to ensure there is no unacceptable behaviour.
It takes considerable effort to put the above suggestions into practice. Some dog’s behaviour will deteriorate for the first few days then settle down to a much more acceptable level. Enriching your dog’s environment will help to keep him contented by giving him the opportunity to direct his energies in a positive manner. This allows you to enjoy a much happier relationship with your pet and makes the time and effort all worthwhile.
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