How to enrich your dog’s life
The main two reasons dogs have behavioural problems are because they have excess energy and they are bored. It is always best to address bad behaviour by looking at the source of it and if it comes down to boredom or pent up energy then this is easily resolved. If you leave your dog throughout the day to work and come back to a house messed up by your dog, you might be thinking of punishment when actually you should seek to make changes to prevent this from happening.
The easiest way to stimulate your dogs mind is to make them work for things that usually come for free for example food. There are so many products on the market that can hold treats or food and make the dog work for the release of the dog treats. Dogs will work by rolling, pawing or licking the treats out of the toy which requires skill and patience which are good things for your dogs to learn. Puzzle toys also encourage your dog to chew and lick which has a calming effect on dogs, which would improve their behaviour.
You can also stimulate your dog by making them hunt for their dinner instead of just giving it to them. This works fantastically well if you are about to leave home for a period of time. Leave small piles of kibble around the rooms your dog is allowed in and they will have great fun trying to search for it whilst you are out rather than being bored. This works really well outside in the garden as they will need to search amongst the grass for it.
Some people think that only puppies need to chew when actually dogs of all ages need to chew as it cleans their teeth and strengthens their jaws. It is a great way for dogs to relieve anxiety and is fun for dogs. Always ensure your dog has enough toys and chews to chew on and this will prevent them from boredom.
The best way to stimulate your dog is to play with them. Set aside a certain amount of time per day in addition to walks and give all your attention to playing with the dog. Games such as fetch or tug of war are usually dog’s favourites that they never get bored of. This is also a great way to rid dogs of any extra energy they have.
If you don’t have enough time in the day to walk your dog or if you know you will have an extra long day, arrange to have a dog walker come and walk your dog in the middle of the day for you. This allows your dog to get their daily exercise but also gets them out of the house. Another great way to keep your dog happy and mentally stimulated is to engage with other dogs. Arrange to meet at a park with your other doggy friends and let your dogs play together. If you don’t know anyone who has dogs then sign up for doggie day care or a training class.
The main thing to ensure is your dog is never left alone for a long period without being walked or stimulated so they do not have pent up energy that could turn into bad behaviour.