Monday, June 17, 2013

Keep your dog entertained..

One of the primary causes of bad dog behavior is boredom! If your dog is bored, he's going to find his own way to entertain himself. This may mean getting into things you don't want him to, like the garbage can. Or chewing things you don't want him to, like your shoes. Or digging holes in the yard if he's left outside a lot.

You might think your dog has enough toys to keep him entertained for hours, but in a lot of ways dogs are similar to children. They get tired of playing with the same toys over and over again, and need something new to break up the monotony of their day.

This does not necessarily mean you need to constantly buy new toys for your pup.
One of the first things you can do is limit the dog's access to his toys. You want to make sure he does always have a few toys to chew on and play with.. but he doesn't need to have ALL of his toys all the time. Keep most of them picked up, only leaving a few out. Then, rotate which toys he gets. That way he is less likely to get bored of his toys.

Also, you want to make sure he's got the right kind of toys.

Interactive toys are a great way to keep your dog busy and entertained for long periods of time. These types of toys may dispense food or treats, which get your dog's attention, and he has to work hard at trying to figure out how to get the treats out. After working on it for awhile, he'll probably be pretty tired as this is mentally stimulating and challenging for the dog which uses up a good amount of his energy.

Some great interactive toys that are sure to keep your dog busy for awhile are:

A Kong. These are a favorite among dogs. You can fill them with all sorts of great stuff, and the dog works on emptying it. Here's a great site with some information on how to use a Kong toy as well as some recipes: Of course you don't have to do anything so fancy. I tend to stuff ours with canned dog food and that's good enough for my pup. You can also fill it with kibble and chicken broth then freeze it overnight.

Treat Dispensing Balls are also wonderful interactive toys. These really challenge your dog mentally has he tries to figure out how to get the treats out.

Tug-A-Jug is another type of treat dispensing toy that makes your dog try to figure out how to get the treats or food out of it. Not only is it fun to play with, it is stimulating and should help keep your pooch out of trouble!

Here is a Treat Dispensing Toy that actually has multiple uses. It's a chew toy, a treat dispenser, and you can also smear food on the outside of the toy as well to keep your dog interested. The grooves on the outside of the toy allow you to smear canned food, peanut butter, or Kong spray into the grooves to make it more appealing for your dog. He'll stay busy cleaning out the grooves as well as finding the treats inside the toy.

If your dog is super smart, there are also Puzzle Toys that will mentally challenge him. These toys make a dog figure out a puzzle or move a sliding piece in order to find the treat.

There are literally hundreds of different toys on the market meant to stimulate your dog mentally. To avoid boredom you should keep a few different kinds on hand for your pup. Just remember that these are added calories, so you may want to use these toys to replace regular feedings, or at least cut down on regular feedings.

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