by Terry Cuyler, Pawsitive Results in-home dog training, www.pawsprof.com
Dogs are meant to WORK but we expect them to be couch potatoes all day and then be calm when we get home because WE are tired. As a dog trainer, one of the first things I recommend to clients is to buy enrichment tools – as many as you can afford. Enrichment for the mind, exercise for the body and a few simple manners like “sit to say please” and most behavior problems can be eliminated pretty simply.
Say for instance, your dog is pulling up your plants in your garden. Why? Easy. It’s fun! So give her something else fun to do like getting her dinner out of puzzle toys. You can find many on Amazon and at the big box stores, and also unique ones at local pet shops. You can also make your own. See the link to Animal Farm Foundation, which specializes in Pit Bull type dogs.
“Bullies” need enrichment as much as any other dog. Given a task to do, they will be steadfast in performing it. Instead of giving your dog extra treats, have her find her own food in food puzzle toys like the one pictured on Animal Farm. I was glad to see that they loved one of my favorites, the Tug-A-Jug.
It is easy for the owner to put in the dog’s entire meal with a twist and a pour, but it takes the dog a long time to get the food out. You can order them from Amazon and get them at some of the local pet food stores as well. Or see the Animal Farm link and make your own from the plumbing section of the hardware store. Then it’s an enriching project for you, too.
Keep your dog busy searching for it’s food this holiday season instead of feeding it a lot of extra treats and you’ll reap many benefits. Puzzle toys mean far less chance to destroy things you cherish. You’ll also have a calmer dog, a leaner dog if you put all her food into puzzle toys, and a good time watching your dog use her brain to get to her food