How would you like to see the same old thing every day, watch the same show on tv and listen to the same music every day? Try to imagine what it would be like to have the same input every day. A lot of people may liken that to prison.
Now try to imagine what your dog is experiencing every day in their lives. Dogs do not have the type of intelligence that allows them to read books or build models or watch movies. They don’t require that level of entertainment, but neither are they able to fall back on those kinds of things if they get bored, like we can.
In other words, if you are bored you can pick up a book and read. You can watch a rerun of a movie, you can doodle. You can pick up the phone and call a friend, you can get on the internet and browse.
But a dog cannot do these things. When dogs get nervous or bored they sometimes engage in destructive behavior to offset their nervous energy which means barking, chewing, digging, scratching or chewing themselves.
So why would we think that just letting your dog out in the back yard is exercise for your dog? Why would we think that walking a dog down the same street, past the same scenery every single day is stimulating exercise? Why would we think that taking a dog down the same street to the same park, every day is exciting for them?
Most dogs need to smell new smells and see new sights and mark new territory. I call it Smell Sniffing. The way we go Sight Seeing, our dogs go Smell Sniffing. Try to think of ways to get your dog to new areas so they can experience new things every day. It could be as simple as walking down the other side of the street than you usually walk on and/or going the other direction down your street.
Anoter dog may have walked down the other side of the street and left “Pee Mail” that your dog would love to read but if you walk the same direction every day, you dog will never be able to.
Or pack your dog up in to the car and drive to that new park you heard about. When you do go to one of these new places, watch your dog and I bet that you will see that they have a higher level of interest in the new surroundings. They may be trotting from place to place with more energy and stopping every chance they get to smell. You will see that they are excited to be in a new place.
At your common stomping grounds, you may notice that your dog just strolls from place to place and does not seem as interested. That could be the sign of a dog bored with its surroundings.
Real life does intervene and keep us from spending every waking hour with our dogs, unfortunately. It’s too bad but it is true. So maybe you cannot drive across town every day to take your dog to the park but try to find something different to do with your dog as often as you can.
So, it is up to us as skilled dog owners to engage our dogs.
Enter you and your dog in to a dog training course, learn some behavior modification techniques and start to teach your dog new skills. Dog training is a great way to engage your dog because they are problem solving, scavenging animals and generally love to be challenged.
Be sure they follow the “Sit” command in every room of your house, in your front yard, in your back yard. Give them the sit command while you are sitting in a chair. Give them the “Sit” command while you are sitting in your car, with the door open. Give them the “Sit” command while you are sitting in your car with the door closed, the window open.
Then work on the “Down” command.
Work every day on the skills your dog knows and find different ways to challenge and reward them as often as you can.
Let them play with a treat dispenser puzzle dog toy, hide your dog’s toys and play a fun game of hide and seek, anything you can think of to challenge and reward them, and you will have a happier and content dog.
Please comment with your own ideas and experiences. We would LOVE to hear from you!