Pent-up energy and boredom are two of the main reasons for behavioral problems in dogs. If your pet companion is digging up the yard, destroying the furniture or barking excessively, or if he displays other undesired behavior, reassess his daily activities. Humans can easily enrich their lives. A good book, a video game, exercise, watching TV and socializing, are some examples. Dogs depend on their owners for enrichment. Aside from getting bored, they can get depressed and physically ill without it. If you’re running out of ideas, incorporating the following tips might help.
Walking your dog does more than allow him to go potty. It allows him to explore his surroundings, take in different smells and sights and interact with other people and animals. To make things interesting, add variety to your routine. Rather than taking the same route each day, periodically follow different paths and trails and take him along when you run errand. Walking is good exercise, and when your return home, your furry pal might just prefer to take a nap rather than resorting to bad behavior.
Rather than just walking your dog, taking him out to play games can also be an effective and fun way to burn pent-up energy. Additionally, it makes for good bonding time between you and your dog. A game of fetch, tug-of-war or hide-and-seek can do the trick. Indoors, try hiding a dog treat and coaxing your dog to sniff and find it. You can also take your dog along when you go jogging, or you can teach him to run next to you while you leisurely ride a bike.
Provide Mental Stimulation
A bored dog that’s left home along is a recipe for disaster. You might come home to find your belongings destroyed. To prevent this, make sure to keep your pet companion busy while you’re gone. Chew toys and bones can keep him busy, as can treat-filled puzzle toys. The latter stimulates your dog mentally, because he has to figure out a way to get the treats out of the toy. He has to either push the toy around with his nose so the treats fall out, or he might have to lick them out. Treat-filled toys can make for hours of fun.
Practice Obedience Training
Obedience training is not just a good way to ensure your dog listens to you, it’s also a good way to stimulate him mentally and to spend time with him. Mental stimulation can be just as tiring as physical stimulation. Always reward your dog during the training to motivate him to keep up the good work. You can even enroll your furry friend into group obedience classes where he not only learns obedience, but also gets to interact with some of his canine buddies.
Set Up Play Dates
Just how kids enjoy playing with other kids, dogs also enjoy playing with their own kind. Setting up regular play dates for your pet companion will surely be appreciated. Your dog will get to socialize, run and play with other dogs, which can be a nice change of pace from always interacting with humans. If you don’t have friends with dogs, taking your dog to a dog park can also work.
Dog Tips from Dog Town; Best Friends Animal Society