Top 10 Ways To Cure Dog Boredom

Dog Bored? Top 10 Ways To Cure Dog Boredom

My dog looks up to me a lot. So, it always makes me feel guilty whenever she sprawls out on the floor with a thud, gives a big sigh, and then stares me down with those sad, bored puppy eyes. All she wants to do is play! Maybe I’m overthinking it, but she would get up in a heartbeat if she saw me with a toy in hand!

So, how do you cure dog boredom?

Dogs need a lot of physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Otherwise, they will look for something to take their frustration and boredom out on, such as chewing up your living room couch, digging out all your new outdoor plants, or barking at anything with legs.

Our dogs have become lazy, or rather we have allowed them to become lazy. Dogs used to work a lot! Many were bred to retrieve prey or herd livestock alongside their humans. All dogs have a natural instinct for scavenging for food.

We simply need to do more with our dogs and give them (and yourself) an active lifestyle! I’m always looking for a fresh way to keep my dog busy and avoid destructive behavior in dogs. Here are some quick tips to keep your dog entertained, happy, active, and challenged.

 

TOP 10 WAYS TO RELIEVE DOG BOREDOM

~As they say, a tired dog is a happy dog.

  1. Walk Somewhere New: Like humans, dogs love a little variety and challenge in their walks or hike. Take them somewhere that has new scents, sounds, and experiences.
  1. Go Out On Errands: Dogs love the car ride too. If you can’t walk, take your dog along with you when you run errands! Crack open the window and let them sniff something new in the air! Never leave your dog in the car if it is too hot outside! Not only will another dog owner give you the stare down, but worse, your dog may have get heatstroke or sustain brain damage.
  1. Sign up for a Pawtivity or Event: Find new ideas to keep your dog active and happy on Pawtivity! Sign up to do something with your dog! Try a new activity you’ve never done before. We love fetch, disc dog / frisbee, and tug. Agility is also a great form of mental and physical exercise that boosts your dog’s confidence and makes them more obedient all-around – it truly is an overlooked form of play for dogs! 15 minutes of disc, agility, or other form of active play at a time truly does wonders – keep your dog wanting to do more and looking to you to play more.
  1. Go To The Dog Park: The dog park is a great way for your dog to socialize with other dogs. Better yet, it’s often free!
  1. Make Your Dog Work For Food: Since dogs used to scavenge for food, why not scatter your dog’s food in the yard and make them find their food? Or lay out small piles of food around the house for them to find. Every time you feed your dog or take your dog on a walk, make them do puppy situps (sit, down, sit, come/touch, look). Practice puppy situps at a farther distance each time. This is great training for better recall and obedience, useful for when your your dog is off leash.
  1. Get a Chew Toy: Dogs love to chew, so get a good assortment of soft and hard chew toys to try out! Carmella can bite through black Kongs, so we love edible dental bones and antler bones. Antler bones last a long time and do double-duty to fight boredom and clean teeth. Note of caution: Find the best chew toy for your dog – start with a soft one. Antler bones should be taken away if you see chipping or breakage. Chew toys that are too hard can fracture your dog’s teeth. We never had a problem with antler bones, but this has to do with they way Carmella works at the bone, she doesn’t just bite down. Tennis balls are not the best chew toys as they can wear down your dog’s teeth enamel and fall apart in pieces large enough to get stuck in your dog’s throat. In all, supervise your dog with their chew toy before deciding which one is best for them.
  1. Invest in Treat Dispensing and Smart Toys: Dogs naturally have a keen sense of smell.  Why not challenge them to use their natural instincts by giving them a puzzle for them to solve?  Treat dispensing and smart toys often involve the use of treats and require supervision. They also come in varying levels of difficulty.
  1. Create Distractions When You are Away: Keep a safe treat dispensing toy around, put on the tv or radio, and keep a chew toy or two around for your dog to play with when you are out.  You can also try giving them frozen treats that will melt over time or put toys in a huge ice mold to leave outside.
  1. Rotate Your Dog’s Toys: This shakes things up a bit and gives more mileage to your dog toys. Dog are like kids – they love the new toy and all want the new toy.
  1. Attend a Basic Dog Training Class:  How will your dog know what you want them to do? Dog owners need the proper training to communicate effectively with their canine companions. Basic commands such as sit, stay, leave it, give, or come serve as building blocks to help you play more with your dog.

 

What are other ways that you can keep a dog busy? We hate to see a dog that is bored. Include a comment below or email us and we will add your suggestion as a pawtivity!

Carol & Carmella
President & Pup, Pawtivity

 


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Learn To Play Frisbee or Disc With Your Dog

Learn to Play Disc With Your Dog

Disc, Frisbee, Disc, Frisbee… 

Is it called a disc or frisbee? A frisbee is actually one kind of flying disc as well a registered trademark of the toy company, Wham-O!, that first popularized the flying disc. Disc is the term used in the dog world, and thus the sport is called disc dog.

What Is Disc Dog?

Disc dog is a popular dog sport that anyone can teach to their dog. Dog handlers must train their dog to catch a frisbee, either at a short distance, long distance or in a freestyle jump.

The best thing about disc dog is that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or spend a lot to on some starter discs. You can also go pretty much anywhere you want to play with your dog.

Dogs That Will Love Disc

Dogs are not picky. Most will love playing with a disc, to chase, tug or chew up. No matter what they will be happy.

However, dogs that love balls or have a strong herding instinct or prey drive will love this sport the most! They already love the chase and will have no problem going after a flying disc. They’ll go by instincts.

How To Get Started

It is best to get at least 2 discs for your dog. We recommend discs made specifically for dogs, such as those made by Hyperflite or Hero Disc USA. Puppies or dogs just getting into disc dog should learn to fetch and retrieve with a soft toy or soft disc. The last thing you would want to do is to hit your dog with a hard frisbee and turn them off the sport altogether. For more advanced play, you can get a vest so your dog can jump off you while doing tricks.

 


TEACH YOUR DOG TO PLAY FRISBEE OR DISC

 

  1. Comfort First.

Before you begin, make sure your dog is comfortable with the disc. Place the disc on the ground and let your dog sniff the disc. Hold and waive the disc around to make it fun and interesting. Then, slide the disc on the ground to make it even more interesting. Reward your dog with treats or praise every time he goes after or touches the disc. You want to let him know that it’s good to go after a disc!

 

  1. Love the Chase.

Now that your dog is comfortable with a moving disc, teach him to chase it. With disc in hand, lure your dog around you and reward when he goes after the disc. You may have to hold and waive the disc again to make it interesting and fun.  Repeat this exercise a few times.

Next, try tossing the disc a few feet away from you with the flat side down (edges curled up). Give your dog a command word such as “take it” or “get it” and reward him when he goes after the disc. You can use any command but be clear and consistent in its use. You can also try rolling the disc on the floor if that will excite your dog more. The goal is simply to get your dog to love the chase and not to discourage him.

Since your dog is still getting used to a disc, you really want to make playtime interesting. Keep sessions at 5-10 minutes so you keep your dog wanting to play more! When your dog “loves the chase” add in a sit before you allow your dog to go after something.

 

  1. Fetch & Retrieve.

Roll the disc on the ground like a wheel and reward your dog when he goes after and picks up the disc with his mouth. Don’t forget to use your command word for him to go after the disc. Once your dog has the disc in his mouth, enthusiastically call him over to you by saying “come” or “touch” and reward with a treat.

Practice alternating between disc rolls and short disc tosses with the flat side down.  Encourage your dog to go after the disc and then reward him when he comes back to you.

If your dog is not treat motivated, you may want to use a second disc to entice your dog to come to you and drop the first disc. You may also want to use a long leash if your dog has trouble with recall or practice more recall exercises at a short distance.

 

  1. Drop & Reward.

By now, your dog should love to fetch and retrieve the disc. You may be running into a problem in that he does not freely drop the disc when he comes back to you.

It’s important to make your dog realize that you will not continue to play until he drops the first disc. Play will only continue when he gives you the first disc, but in exchange for the second.

When your dog has a disc in his mouth, lure your dog with a second disc and ask him to “drop” or “give” his disc to you.  If you hold the first disc do so gently so that you do not tug. As soon as your dog drops his disc, say “good” or “yes” and give him the second disc.

Now, let your dog play for awhile with the second disc and exchange discs again. If your dog does not give you the disc, try waiving the second disc around or make some noise to get your dog’s attention. You want to make yourself and the second disc interesting. Always remember to say your command and reward immediately after.

Stop play and turn away if your dog does not drop the first item and continue again in a short while. This signals to your dog that you will only play with him if he gives you the disc in exchange for the second. You have to be patient in this step and keep sessions short. Instead of a second disc, you can also use a rewarding treat and slowly phase that out into a second disc.

 

  1. Grab & Catch

In order for your dog to catch a disc, he needs to learn to jump and grab the disc with his mouth.

Ask your dog to sit. Hold the disc out level to your dog’s mouth and ask him to “take” or “get” the disc. Once your dog grabs the disc tell him “yes” and let him play with the disc. Now, ask your dog to drop the disc and take the disc back.

Slowly increase the difficulty of grabbing by raising the disc higher up until your dog has to jump to catch the disc. Then, walk and lure your dog to take the disc as your are walking so he has to jump and catch in motion.

 

  1. Throw & Catch

Not every dog will catch a disc the first time. Learning the foundations above will help your dog catch a disc but it does take a lot of practice until your dog really masters this. There are a few exercises that you can practice with your dog. Don’t forget to use your command words to have your dog “take” or “get” the disc.

  • Hold a disc with your dog at one side and lure him halfway around you. Then, throw the disc for your dog to catch.
  • You can practice throwing the disc, food, balls, and other toys a short distance in front of your dog’s face. Increase the speed and make your dog learn to focus and catch.
  • If you have a lot of discs, you can alternate holding discs from your right and left hands. I may be easier to be kneeling or sitting while you do this. Hold out a disc in your right hand and have your dog “take” the disc. While your dog goes for the disc, grab a disc from your stack in your left hand and ask your dog to drop the first disc and go for the second disc.  When your dog is comfortable with this, start throwing the disc a short distance for him to catch.

 

Over time, you should increase the distance of your throw when your dog is consistently catching the disc. You can also increase the height of the throws over time. Make it even more interesting by adding in your own tricks and freestyle moves!
Related Pawtivities: Play Frisbee, Disc Roller, Running Catch (Disc), Ultimate Frisbee
Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

 


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