Keeping dogs stimulated

by Rose Clark // July 2017

Keeping dogs stimulated

 

Coach Rose practicing sits with distractions with Murphy and best mate Scrumpy

Here at Dog School we want to help shape dogs that are a pleasure to have in the home. We have put together some ideas to beat the boredom and encourage a more chilled out pooch.

Dogs are incredibly clever, social animals and it is crucial that as owners, we allow them to exercise these traits. This can be done a variety of ways – from exercise to brain busting puzzles.

Exercise

All dogs need exercise, while the amount may vary depending on breed and size it is vital that we let our furry friends stretch their legs. Without regular exercise dogs can gain weight very quickly, they may also get bored. It’s important to spice things up a little bit. The same walk every day can get a bit monotonous so try and rotate between 3 or 4 different routes. This way you’re not only providing your pup with physical exercise but mental exercise as well, changing up routes allows your dog to gather new smells and information every day, this sets their brain into overdrive and will tire them out a lot more than their usual trip.

Toys

Toys and play are a great way to build on the bond between you and your dog. Toys are also great for burning off any excess energy. All pet shops have a huge range of toys from squeakies to ball launchers – these all keep your dog moving and excited. Toys are very easy to implement as part of a training programme, you can teach your dog to play on command by introduce cues such as ‘take it’ and ‘drop’. Toys can also be invaluable when teaching recall. Self-rewarding toys such as Kongs are great for keeping your dog settled, your dog will quickly learn that staying focused on the Kong will result in treats.

Training

Dogs love to be trained! While our classes run for 50 minutes the dogs get lots of breaks in between, and at home we recommend that you only do around 10 minutes of training 3 times a day. Short time frames allow you to set your dog up for success and avoid frustration. At Dog School, we focus on ‘bomb proofing’ your dog’s skills, having a good ‘sit’ is great but not when your dog will only do it in the hallway where there are no distractions! This opens up a world of opportunity without having to enter into anything too advanced. Implementing basic obedience into walks is fantastic for both physical and mental stimulation and means that you can practice training in a variety of environments, thereby ‘bomb proofing’ your dog. Carrying out training everywhere is also vital for keeping your dog safe – again while it’s great that your dog can practice ‘leave it’ in the house, you need to make sure it works out and about e.g. when he finds a dead pigeon! 

Integrating all these tips into your dogs’ life will make for much more harmony in the home. Stimulated dogs are far less likely to display any sort of stereotypic or destructive behaviours and studies show that they, from a physiological perspective, are much less stressed. Of course, as dog lovers, our dogs’ happiness is paramount so happy training!