Posts Tagged ‘Dog’

How I Tired Out My Dogs Tonight

I’m not going to lie; having three dogs is… a lot.  There are days when I don’t think I can do multiple walks and I just want them to get tired.  So tonight I started playing a game that made my dogs think really hard and walk themselves around the house multiple times!

I took my Kong Stuff A Ball


And put a few squares of Natural Balance roll

nb roll

Notice how if you cut the squares fairly large it will be difficult for your dog to get them out of the ball, but since it’s a soft food it was easy for me to jam them in.  Then I hid one Kong per dog around the house.  I made sure to hide them in places where my dogs would not normally look, and they have some difficulty getting them.  For example the first round I hid one in a laundry basket, one on a chair behind a pillow, and Beo’s on a low table behind a stack of books.  My dogs had to run around the house, work out how to get the Kong out of it’s hidey hole, and then work to get the treats out.  Each round took about 20 minutes, and by the third round my dogs were DONE.  They went and laid down to rest.  It was just like taking the SAT’s for them!

I usually hide each piece of kibble around the house, and that can take me around 10 minutes to set up, longer if I’m doing all the dogs and trying to make it more difficult.  This was a new way to play Find It! and I can’t believe I didn’t try it sooner.  Just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t switch it up a bit and have some fun.

Show Rover What To Do

I was walking down the street the other day and noticed a woman standing on the corner with her dog.  Her dog was sniffing the ground, and every so often the woman would pull on the leash and say “No!”  Fascinated I stopped and continued watching this woman and her dog as discreetly as I could.  I was trying to figure out why she was pulling on the leash.  What did she want her dog to do?  I had no idea, and it looked like the dog didn’t either.  If I couldn’t figure out what this woman wanted, me with my primate brain and big frontal lobes, this dog had no chance!

What was clear to me is that this woman wanted her dog to do something specific.  She was trying to get him to do it by stopping him from doing something else (as far as I could tell).  As convoluted as this sounds, it is often our first instinct when trying to change behavior.   Clients of mine want their dog to stop jumping, or stop chewing, or stop pulling; however, people often forget that your dog has to do something.  Your dog is often just guessing what is the right thing to do, and unfortunately their instincts are usually contrary to what we would like.  Wouldn’t it be easier if you just told him what it was you would like him to do instead?

As intuitive as dogs are, your dog can’t read your mind to find out what you want.  You have to show him, and-I hate to break it to you-saying “NO!” when he jumps on you really does not give him a clue!  However, if you decide that you want your dog to sit to greet you instead of jumping, you now have a very clear training plan: If your dog jumps up, you ignore him.  If he keeps his rump on the ground, he gets cookies/love/toys.  Very quickly your dog will understand jumping equals no attention, but sitting equals good things!  You showed your dog what behavior you do want instead of getting upset when he guessed wrong.  It really is just that simple!

If you are frustrated because your dog “isn’t listening” to you, ask yourself this: have I actually shown him what I want him to do?

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