Turn Your Dog Into A Genius
Why Does My Dog Chew My Furniture and Baseboards?
Providing Chew Toys for Your Dog
The first step in dealing with inappropriate chewing is to provide appropriate alternatives. But throwing a bunch of chew toys on the ground and hoping for the best is not likely to help. Remember to think like a dog. The chew toy is an unknown object, but that shoe is a proven delight. You need to encourage your dog to select the toys by making them as appealing as possible. To prevent boredom, you can also rotate the toys so there are new options every few days.
Food dispensing chew toys like the Kong Classic or the Zogoflex Tux Treat Dispensing Toy are perfect. They are made of a durable rubber so they’re long-lasting with just enough give. But better than that, you can stuff them with food like peanut butter or cream cheese. To add extra oomph, layer the soft food with harder pieces like liver treats or homemade biscuits so your dog gets extra special surprises as they chew and explore the toy. You can also freeze the toy after stuffing it to make the treats last longer.
Edible chews are another excellent choice. They obviously won’t last as long as a quality toy, but they are incredibly exciting to dogs. They also help clean their teeth and gums. Look for options that are safe for your dog’s chewing style. For example, rawhide may not be the best selection for vigorous chewers who are able to break off large chunks which can cause intestinal obstructions or pose a choking hazard.
How to Stop Nuisance Dog Barking
Dogs bark. There’s no denying the fact that barking is a natural reaction for most canines. But sometimes, dog barking can become a problem and an annoyance. Oftentimes, owners try to stop a dog from barking in ways that fail to address long-term behavior. Examples include yelling, rewarding bad habits, or inconsistently disciplining.
When looking for a permanent solution, keep in mind that it is important for you, as the dog’s owner, to find the source of the behavior. If your dog is barking because of boredom, providing your pet with something to do may be the answer. However, if separation anxiety issues are the trigger, this may require a completely different approach.
Sometimes, the most straightforward solutions work. For dogs who have established barking as a leisure-time activity, though, a simple solution does not always work. Luckily, there are several recommendations trainers and dog behaviorists offer for dealing with your dog’s barking.
Make sure your dog has an adequate amount of physical and mental exercise before you leave in the morning. A tired dog is more likely to rest when you’re not at home. If possible, have a dog walker come to walk your dog mid-day.
A dog may bark at people or other dogs if they haven’t been socialized well enough. A dog that has had many positive experiences with all ages and types of people, including people on bikes, in wheelchairs, children, etc., is less likely to bark at them. Letting your dog meet the mailman and the UPS driver, for example, and asking them to give your dog a cookie can help.
The Importance of Keeping Your Dog Mentally Stimulated
Raise your hand if your dog has ever pestered you, following you from room to room with a bored face? If so, rest assured, you are not alone! Boredom and pent-up energy are the most common reasons dogs develop behavioral problems. Most dogs living in urban settings spend a good chunk of their time alone, and the biggest perk of their day may be seeing their beloved owners coming home. This is a moment of great excitement and celebration and can often be too much to handle for a tired owner who has spent eight hours in the office.
Dogs Were Meant to Lead Active Lives
If we look at the many dog breeds that surround us, we will note that the majority were selectively bred to carry out certain tasks. We have the retrievers who retrieved downed birds for the hunter, the hounds who tracked prey with their powerful noses, the spaniels who flushed birds out of bushes, the herders who grouped cows and sheep, the livestock guardians who protected farm animals from predators and several other versatile breeds who specialized in a variety of tasks.
Today, most dogs are no longer used as workers but as loyal companions who are often relegated to the yard or left at home with not much to do all day. This leaves dogs with a void to fill up. The saying “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” fits people and dogs as well. With little left to do all day, dogs become destructive and may engage in undesirable behaviors such as digging, chewing and barking.
Dogs Need Exercise and Mental Stimulation Too!
Hide and Seek
Einstein and I play the Hide and Seek game!
When we think of bored dogs, we often think of exercise, but dogs need a healthy dose of mental stimulation too. Despite the fact that most dogs in modern times no longer live in the wild and are no longer hunting all day in the fields with their masters, they still have a strong drive for mental stimulation. This, however, doesn’t mean that you will have to quit your 9 to 5 job, purchase a rifle and go on a rabbit hunting adventure with your dog! There many great ways you can enrich your dog’s life from the comfort of your home and yard to get your dog’s cognitive abilities going.
Simple games such as Hide ‘n’ Seek (included in the Brain Training For Dogs course) will encourage your dog to engage his brain while also allowing him to get in the much needed exercise he wouldn’t have got had he spent the day snoozing in front of the fireplace.
A Glimpse Back in Time
When dogs were in the wild, mealtime was quite different than what it is today. In order to eat, dogs had to hunt, which entailed sniffing, stalking, chasing and killing. Then, once the animal was killed, they had to work on separating the meat from the bones which involved lots of gnawing and scraping. Even when dogs were domesticated and no longer hunters at heart they were still scavenging for food and their life wasn’t easy. They spent a good part of their days sniffing and walking around looking for little tid bits of food. Their diet mostly consisted of carcasses left over by other predators or food left behind by humans who discarded the less appetizing parts from the animals they hunted.
In any case dogs of the past, whether they were hunters or scavengers, all spent a good part of their day searching for food. This was surely a far cry from the way dogs are fed today! Nowadays, we do all the hunting for our dogs by visiting our local pet supply store. Our dog’s food comes in bags or cans which we then pour into shiny bowls ready to be gulped down, often times without even chewing! Certain brain games can help to re-introduce “hunting” into your dog’s life such as the “Treasure Hunt” game from my Brain Training for Dogs course. Brain Training for Dogs will also show you how to teach the Bottle Game, which is the simplest way to create a suppertime challenge for your dog.