Happy Tail

How and why to activate your dog

In todays reality, many dogs are home alone 4-6 hours each day, there are also those who have even longer days before anyone gets home! And when we get home we are usually to lazy to be active with our dogs. Some dogs are insecure, bite shoes, barks in time and no time. They demonstrate the different ways that they are under-stimulated, or just simply bored. Sure they like to cuddle, walk, sit, stay etc. But often dogs need a little more. There are so many little things we can do together with our dog, often, only a lack of imagination. A happy dog is a dog who works with the owner.

Here are some tips how to get your dog to work with all their senses without having to work so much yourself. All it takes is your will and your patience.

It’s easy to help the dog, but don’t underestimate your dog’s ability to solve small problems. It is better to do a little each day, than to train the dog once a week.
Do it in short sessions, that will hold the dog’s interest on top while the dog does not get tired.

Important points
*Give your dog time to solve the problem.
*Is the task too difficult makes it “ridiculously” easy in the beginning.
*Always start at home, indoors in a quiet and familiar environment.

Work with your dog 30-60 minutes daily. But scattered throughout the day. Do not help the dog if the exercise is too hard, save it instead for later when the dog become more skilled.

The nose
The dog will always use the nose, similar to when we use the eyes. The nose is important in social interaction with other dogs but also to obtain food. To sniff requires a lot of concentration and is self-reinforcing, the dog will know when he is on the right track and will get a “kick” to solve the task. Now hold disassembled when the dog goes and blunt-sniffing which is comparable to when we read the newspaper. When the dog sniffs right on the target lets say a “treat”, the task becomes comparable to when we solve crossword puzzles. A brain teaser.

Examples on some exercises
*Get a sock and put a treat in there
*Hide a treat/treats and let the dog find it (try to hide it at different levels for some variety)
*Get a activity ball

Problem solving
Every dog likes challenges, that is how the dog learns to open the pantry door or steal food from the table. It is therefore important that we offer dog problem solutions otherwise is a high risk that they will make up their own, such as start barking getting eager and whiney. And that doesn’t help the dog, he will soon try the same thing again. The tasks provides confidence and strengthens the dog to believe in his own abilities.

Examples on exercises
*Attach a treat to something and let the dog try to get it off
*Hide treats under jars and cans
*Hide some doggy biscuits behind the door
*Put a treat in a package/newspaper and let the dog unwrap it
*Tangle up treats wrapped in a towel

Learning
The dog learn a lifetime of experience, he has a great desire for cooperation. Do not train your dog depending on the wrong method or difficult task, if the dog refuses you must be doing something wrong. The dog must work together for joy not by force, or to please.

Examples on exercises
*Hand paw when someone offers a “treat”
*Roll around
*Teach him to walk zig-zag between your legs (like a b-ball between the legs drill)
*To balance a treat on the nose for a few seconds

Balance Work
Most dogs think it’s fun to use their body in a natural way. Unfortunately sometimes our living does not always provide the space for these exercises. Balance Work enhances self-esteem, increases concentration, acts as a stress control, self-reinforcing and stimulates muscles and minds.

Example on exercises
*Swimming
*Stand on two legs for a few seconds or dance
*Crawl under a chair/table
*To get through, around, under, up, over and around obstacles.

These are only some things you can do, there are plenty other exercises you can find.
When you practice tricks it strengthen contact and cooperation between you and your dog. Never forget to reward. (body language, words and treats) you can do this inside and outside, start were your dog feel most at home and where he won’t get distracted by other things.

Extra tip: Give your dog a bone to chew on every now and then.

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