Have you got a dog that has bounds of energy? A puppy that is wanting to explore more, or an older dog who could just run all day long?
If you are a dog owner who tries to get out with your dog as much as possible, yet still has an excited dog at the end, I have a few ideas for you!
Of course dogs need to be able to explore the outdoor world and enjoy walks on the local beaches or woodland, it’s a vital component of the dogs life. Yet did you know that one of the best forms of stimulation to help calm the dog can be at home? If a dog can be relaxed at home the adrenaline and cortisol levels, which make the dog alert and excited, decrease. It is much easier to start gaining your dog’s attention and build positive behaviours when the dog hasn’t got lots of distractions. With practise the training can be transferred outside, so that you can begin to enjoy having calmer walks with your dog.
The way I help people understand the differences in dog walks is as following; think of a time that you are stressed, and feel like you have 101 things to complete. Do you run on adrenaline, not putting too much conscious thought into what you are doing? Rush, rush, rush, rushing around attempting to get it all done, but not really enjoying what you are doing? Now think how that compares with a dog, running on adrenaline.. you know the dog that bounds around aimlessly, with the inability to focus on any one thing for longer than a couple of seconds? Is that dog enjoying himself, or is he just wildly running about with adrenaline racing through his veins?
Exercise is a great way to let the dog run off some steam and satisfy their natural instincts. Some dogs love to swim, and others are great company on a run, all are ways to ensure your dog stays fit and healthy. Playing with the dog outdoors with a tug toy or ball are also fun ways of incorporating both mental and physical stimulation. Rather than only physically tiring the dog out by repetitively throwing the ball, you can mentally challenge the dog using the toy as a reward.
Yet too much physical exercise (especially during puppyhood) can lead to health and joint problems, and is likely to be the explanation of why your dog is unmanageable because of excitement. Physical exhaustion is not the same as mental exhaustion, therefore it is important that you make use of your dogs amazing brain, rather than allow the dog to run on impulses.
Giving your dog a problem to solve can be so much more rewarding and tiring than a walk alone. Although the majority of people have dogs for pets, mental stimulation and training is essential in having a happy and well behaved dog. Working dogs are regularly exposed to situations where they can use their amazing sense of smell to help their humans. Encouraging your dog engage their nose to search for a toy or a treat is a great way to use their natural instincts. So although we may not all be able to give ours dogs their primary job role, we can improvise by playing games with them and teaching them new fun behaviours.
If your dog is a youngster or has exercise restrictions then offering them the opportunity to exercise their mind rather than their body will provide enough stimulation for them to need a nap afterwards! I personally love to use kongs and k9 connectables to freeze a variety of delicious treats. Not only does it keep the dog engaged for a good length of time and provide a nutritious meal, it also helps cool them down in the summer.
So now that you know its not all about the exercise, you can look for more ideas on jobs to give your dog by reading my post Your Dog Wants a Job! 🙂
Images from google