Monday, October 8, 2012

How to keep your dog happy

Contributed by a CP Volunteer

Zander, Bea and Neha

Do you know what a bored dog looks like? They're likely pacing or panting, or maybe even be drooling and whining. But more often than not, you don't know that your dog is bored until you've left them alone for awhile. That's when you come home to all kinds of things like shredded rolls of toilet paper and gnawed shoes.

 Most of my staff has stories about destruction caused by bored dogs. In fact, one of my staff has a dog who chewed clear through a door! that's a sign you can't ignore! Bored dogs are unhappy. But more than that, bored dogs often use their energy in less than desirable ways. Think of it this way: if YOU were left all alone with nothing to do, how happy would you be? Providing your dog with toys is a valuable way to keep them happy and stimulated. When dogs are presented with a challenge or a puzzle, they are often less likely to bark or chew inappropriately.

Dogs who have something to keep them busy are typically more enjoyable to be around, happier, and healthier in general. And no matter how sweet your dog is, we can all use a little help with behavioral issues sometimes. Here are some ways you can challenge your dog and give their day a boost:

 1. Play more often. When you tire your dog out they'll have less energy to burn in less desirable ways. It sounds simple, but if your schedule doesn't include daily playtime for your dog, try adding it in.

 2. Find a game your dog loves. Dogs are like humans: they have their own favorites, likes, and dislikes. Not all dogs like the same games and toys. Try experimenting to see what gets them excited and playing.

 3. Challenge them with a toy. If regular balls and bones aren't enough to keep your dog out of trouble, consider giving them a puzzle toy. While many toys are great for keeping dogs busy, sometimes your pup needs a little more stimulation or challenge. These can include toys that work like puzzles, float, or randomly dispense treats.

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