Exercise, Mental Stimulation, Community!
Our wonderful dogs give our daily lives so much joy and happiness! Naturally, all we want to see is that they are getting the same enjoyment out of life. Boredom Behaviors are experienced by every dog and dog owner at one time or another. We all have moments where we get busy and miss a few dog walks or are too tired to play another game of fetch. Bad behaviors start to pop up as a result and nobody likes that, not you and not your dog.
Bad behaviors send a message that something isn't right with how your dog is feeling. Every dog needs three things to be balanced and happy; exercise, mental engagement, and community interactions. Balancing your dog's needs and the rest of your daily responsibilities may sound daunting, but it is possible. Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact. Check out these small, easy habit changes you can make to ensure your dog has a happy and fulfilled New Year!
Make Your Walks Interactive
Have you ever gotten home from a walk and your dog is ready to go again after a ten minute nap? Physical energy and mental energy are two different things that are drained in different ways. Stress, anxiety, and boredom are caused by having too much mental energy built up for too long and not having enough ways to channel that energy productively. Think about how restless you can feel when your mind is racing, it's maddening. Pairing mental stimulation with physical exercise on your leashed walks wears down not only the body but the mind as well. You will notice your dog requires much shorter walks and stays calm and relaxed longer when they get home.
Learn How to Communicate
"No getting on the couch!" "No jumping!" "No Barking!"
"No" is said on a regular basis by every dog owner we come across in Knoxville, TN and yet it the best example of inconsistency. "No" can mean a million different things but it doesn't mean ONE thing to your dog and that is the problem. Because, "no" can mean many things its opens you up to have so many unnecessary miscommunications with your dog. You may be wondering, "When no doesn't mean no, what the heck do you say?" Our positive reinforcement dog trainers are encouraging their clients to counter the word "no" with what you can ask your dog to do instead. Replace the behavior. For example, "No jumping" would be replaced with "sit". Sit always means the same thing, unlike the word "no."
Invest in Interactive Toys
Not all toys are created equal. While cute, fuzzy, squeaker toys and bones can be fun to chase and chew, they aren't giving your dog enough to do. Dogs are extremely intelligent and easily unsettled without proper mental stimulation. Be smart about the new toys you buy this year and pick toys that engage the brain. Interactive toys are a great way to engage and enrich your dog with minimal effort on your part. There are so many great toys to help dispense your dog's daily serving of dog food, as well as mind blowing puzzle boards perfect for yummy treats.. Your dog will burn so much energy figuring out how to turn knobs, lift cones, and open drawers in an effort to find their favorite treats.
Learn Some Brain Games
With extra busy schedules, loving dog owners have to make good use of the time we do get to spend playing with our dog. Think about how you can add dog tricks and commands to your standard game of fetch, or maybe you want to learn how to play Hide and Seek to get your dog's nose working.
Take Advantage of Your Daily Interactions
Finding extra time to work in interactive activities and training can be difficult on some of the busiest days but that doesn't mean your dog has to go totally without quality engagement. You have all sorts of natural interactions every day with your dog during feeding time, when clipping the leash, letting them outside, etc. This year, make an effort to think about practicing one training skill during each daily interaction. This will help your dog get more mental stimulation and help your day go smoother because of the good habits you are setting into motion. For example, practicing stay at doorways helps teach your dogs not to bust out the door every time it opens.
Starting a new routine and learning a new way to interact with your dog doesn't have to be difficult and you don't have to figure it all out alone, book a Free Meet and Greet to ask one of our professional Knoxville dog trainers how to balance your dog's mental stimulation needs and your busy schedule. They specialize in creating engaging, fun dog training routines that fit into your busy life instead of taking it over with a strict schedule. Still don't think you have the time your dog deserves? Hiring a professional Knoxville dog walker can help get your dog the exercise and mental stimulation they need.