Best way to help curb undesired behaviors in your Dog!
Updated: Jan 26
Playing with your dog will do so much more than just help keep your dog in shape!
Why are playing and exercise such an important part of being a pet parent?
Simply put playing and exercise can help curb undesired behaviors long before they can develop, by Playing with owners and with other dogs you have provided your dog an opportunity to burn off some stored-up energy while ensuring they get the physical exercise they require; this also helps to fill your dog’s social development needs. It is important to note, dogs not receiving regular exercise can develop problem behaviors.
These may include, destructiveness, hyperactivity, unruliness, excitability, attention-getting behaviors, chewing and digging, investigative behavior like garbage raiding. So, if you’re considering leaving your furry friend home alone for any extended period, (work, day trip) ensure that a dog’s need for exercise and social interaction have been met before leaving. Or they may get into some trouble while your away.
Playing and exercise are good ways to bond with your furry friend?
Taking your dog for a walk is a great form of exercise and can be fun not just healthy, and not just for your dog but for you as well. You should try from an early age, to accustom your puppy to a collar and leash. Find a collar or a leash that best suites your pet, one that is comfortable for them. Besides this, you should note that socialization at this age is very important, do as much playing and exercising with healthy, vaccinated dogs as possible. Remember to practice walking skills in your own neighborhood or yard first. Put your puppy on a leash and go. Try to reward good behavior with praise or a treat. Keep initial walks short until your dog is more comfortable with following your commands. For adult dogs that pull excessively, a no-pull harness may help settle the dog and make walks a little easier making them more pleasant. Keep in mind that a short 10- to 15-minute walk can be very enjoyable for your dog. Even on longer walks you can alternate periods of control with periods where the dog can explore and check out their environment. Dogs find the scents in the environment most stimulating and love to investigate, and a few good sniffs on their walk can enrich your dog’s day tremendously.
How much exercise is enough?
An appropriate amount of play and exercise will depend on the type of dog. Some puppies and adult dogs from breeds that have been bred for their stamina will enjoy higher exercise requirements. While for purebred dogs, you will have to consider their traditional purpose, when deciding the type and amount of exercise and play to provide for them. For example, the retrieving breeds do best with long games of fetch or Frisbee, while the sledding type breeds might prefer running or jogging with an active pet parent. The length and type exercise for your dog will greatly depend on its behavioral and health requirements.
How can I keep my dog behaving well, when I am away?
When you are out, or you are busy at home with other activities and responsibilities, ensure that you have provided your dog with sufficient play and interactive exercise, and if you must leave your dog alone, give them enough toys and distractions to keep your them occupied, and try to confine your pet to a safe, dog-proofed area. Pets might be kept occupied and stimulated when you are not available to supervise with chew toys, many of which can aid dental health. These products might be edible such as rawhide, dental treats, or inedible toys made from rubber, rope or nylon. There are also a wide variety of manipulation toys that can be used. Some release food during chewing, some dispense food when rolled on the floor, they can be stuffed or coated with dog food, cheese or peanut butter. It may also help to keep the dog away from windows where the dog might act in territorial manner as people or cars pass the house. Dogs should not be left outside while you are not home. Not only is your dog subjected to the elements, but there is also a risk that your dog could escape and be lost or injured.
Here are four games suggestions for you to try with your dog?
1. Drop or give, which is an exercise that may help to teach your puppy to give up toys for something even more valuable. Use the word “give” or “drop” try to have your puppy drop the toy in your hand, then try to trade another toy or treat.
2. Search games where you set out small bags, boxes or bowls with a favored treat or favored toy inside and have your dog search for these.
3. Follow the leader where you step away from your puppy and call him to “come” to get a treat. Then run away and say “come” and reward with a treat before running off again.
4. Hide and seek, where one family member goes off and hides and the puppy is then called to “come” and gets a treat and praise when he finds the person.
There are some games that you should try to avoid.
You should try to avoid games that pit your strength against your puppy or dog. Tug games seem to be an enjoyable diversion for many puppies and dogs and they do help to direct chewing and biting toward an acceptable play object, rather than an owner’s hands or clothing.
On the other hand, some pets get very excited, and overly stimulated then can begin to grab their owners’ hands or their clothing during the game. Teaching the dog to drop an item on command before beginning the tug games can help you remain in control of object play sessions such as fetch and tug. Tug toys may be made of rope, nylon, or fleece. Once you have a dog that will play tug without biting your hands or clothing with no signs of possessive aggression, you might be able to proceed to supervised tug games with children. But remember If teeth come in contact with hands, if aggression is seen beyond play, or the dog is unwilling to give up the toy, you should end the game immediately.
Games of fetch can be both a great game and learning experience as well, but only if your dog learns to bring back and drop the toy so that the game can keep going. When it gets there give it praise. Most puppies will gladly give the toy to get the new toy or treat and at the same time will quickly learn the “give” or “release” command. As you repeat this several times, the game of fetch itself should soon become enough of a reward that food and toys will no longer be necessary to entice the puppy to give the toy. Sometimes when there is more than one dog in the home, playing games such as fetch can create a problem when both dogs rush toward the object. This can be avoided either by playing with one dog at a time or by throwing two objects in opposite directions. But for older dogs that like to play their own version of fetch, which is get the toy but not return it, playing fetch using two toys can often keep the game going.
If you find that your dog gets too excited, begins to snap or won’t settle down while playing certain games, then you should first practice your sit down and go to your mat training exercises. You can then use these exercises to calm the dog during or at the end of their game.
Hope this was helpful because your dogs mental and physical health are so important for a long healthy life. And playing with your puppy or dog, only makes the bond between you stronger all through your dog’s life, and memories you will carry throughout your own. A reward that can't be measured.
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