Our dogs are our friends. They are our companions. They may even be our protectors and guardians. That is a pretty impressive roll call for a pet. Though sometimes we can forget that this relationship must work two ways. A dog is primarily an animal in its own right. It has needs that go beyond food and water and some occasional exercise. A dog has after all been bred for a purpose. Hunting and herding are two examples, but dogs were bred to work and to be included in our activities.
Think about how a working dog might spend its day out with a farmer. Dogs need mental stimulation. If they don’t get it, they will seek out their own. That behaviour is often seen as destructive. It might express itself as anxiety. Excessive barking, chewing, and digging can be ways that a dog manifests its boredom. We need to keep our dogs engaged. We need to stimulate them and let them feel as if they are an active part of our lives. Here are few ways to help that happen.
Play games with your dog
Interact with your dog by playing games. Dogs are social animals, and they love challenges and interaction. Swap games and toys around. Dogs like people, get bored with the same old routine. You would soon be bored if you had to play with the same old toy all day. Give your dog a new toy and see how he reacts! Think of new tricks and games that you can play together. Move from frisbee to ball games. Tug of war is a brilliant game for a dog. They absolutely love it. Hide treats around the house and encourage your dog to try and find them. Start with small obvious places and then get more creative as your dog gets into the fun!
Walk your dog twice a day
It’s not enough to leave your dog at home all day and then not want to exercise him. Dogs are social animals, and they crave, need and deserve stimulation. Take your dog out for walks to new places. Allow him to mix with other people and other animals. Just walking around the block for twenty minutes is not really giving him much of a chance to be a dog. Dog walking is essential for dogs to get the stimulation they need. It has emotional as well as physical benefits. If time is a problem why not hire a dog walking service to pick up your dog? A professional company will allow your dog to socialise with other dogs and get all the exercise and stimulation he needs.
Engage one on one with your dog
The more you take your dog out on errands, the more responsive he will be. Dogs love the adventure, even if you think the trip is short or mundane. Your dog will love doing things with you. Give him responsibility. Dogs love to be trained as it engages their brains. Work on your obedience training regularly. Get the basic commands down and you will have more confidence to take your dog to new places. Vary your outings. Take him to the river, the beach or to the woods.
The more you engage with your dog, the better your relationship will be. The more you do together, the happier your dog will be. An active dog is a healthy, happy and fit dog, who will be a fully integrated member of your family.