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

 


Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on Pawtivity.com or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!

 


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How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

Sure, running comes naturally to a dog. The importance to training, however, is that your dog actually learns to run at your pace and so you don’t have a “runaway” dog dragging you along on your run. You also want to train your dog so he doesn’t cross your running path. Lastly, like humans, dogs need to build up their stamina and endurance slowly to prevent injury.

There are essentially two different ways that you can run with your dog – by your side or up ahead a few feet in front of you. We recommend training your dog to run by your side first since this is most similar to walking with your dog. Once your dog learns to pace your run, you can switch to having your dog run in front.

Mastery of basic commands such as heel, sit, and stay will help with training. We highly recommend consulting your vet to determine when it is ok to run with your dog, especially if they are only a puppy with an immature skeletal system.

 

Let’s Get Started – Walk the Walk

Make sure your dog really knows how to walk the walk.

Walk with your dog at your side and then stop. Your dog should stop and look at you. Reward him with praise or a treat when he does.If your dog doesn’t stop, bring him around to sit next to you and give him a treat when he looks at you and then start walking again.

Your dog should match your speed. If your dog pulls forward, try using a short leash as this helps to control pulling immediately. Stop walking altogether until your dog stops and looks at you. Again, praise him when he does and continue walking again. Practice walking and stopping with your dog. Be consistent and reward immediately after good behavior.

If your dog tries to cross your path, you can use a treat to lure him to stay on one side. It is very important that your dog learns to walk in a straight line at one side. Practice walking with your dog in different directions (left, right, left).

Gradually increase your walking speed until your dog has a good mastery of walking at your side in a straight path that matches yours.

 

Ready? Set? – Wait… Build It Up

Before you actually go off running with your dog, try easing up with a run-walk plan. Start walking with your dog at normal pace, then speed up into a jog, and then back to a walk. This will teach your dog to pay attention to your speed and to follow your lead.

Keep your walking and jogging paces the same so that your dog can learn the difference. With more outings, your dog will adapt to your pace and be able to run longer.

Keep beginning practices to no more than 15 minutes or 1 mile of a run / walk or jog routine.

 

Now Go!

After your dog understands the difference between walking and jogging, start running faster and faster. Then, you can remove walking altogether and run!

Make sure that as you train with your dog, you get a good idea of when your dog needs to use the bathroom or when enough is enough. Your dog needs periodic water breaks – the more frequent in small doses is better than one large gulp (the same goes for humans). Drinking too much at a time may cause your dog to vomit (or give you cramps). Pay close attention to your dog’s breathing and paws at all times. If your dog starts to pant or slow down, it’s a good indication to stop for a water break or that it’s time to head home. You should be able to sense how long your dog can run over time, then build up slowly from there.

There are many more health and safety tips for your dog, especially when it comes running in the winter or summer.

 

Dog Up Ahead In Front

Once you and your dog become better at running together, you could have your dog start running in front of you.  This often involves getting a special harness, or hands-free leash. If you and your dog love running together, try joining a running, canicross, or trail running where you can run in a real pack or in races with other humans and their dogs. Want something more adventurous and be the talk of the town? Try bikejoring or skijoring!

Paws and feet ahead! Have fun.

 

Take a photo and share your experience with the Pawtivity community!
Related Pawtivities: Running, Trail Running, Beach Running, Canicross Race
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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Norman The Scooter Dog

Norman The Scooter Dog

Have you ever heard of a dog that can ride a scooter? What about a bicycle?

Norman the Scooter Dog can actually do both! He holds two separate Guinness World Records for riding the fastest 30 meters on a scooter and again on a bicycle. On top of that, he wows everyone he meets by doing a lot of amazing dog tricks. He can ride a skateboard, jump rope, surf, take a bow, and open doors.

Norman is also the ultimate sweetie with a personality that warms your heart. Karen describes her dog  as, “a clown who knows he’s funny…. he looks at your with this look that makes you laugh.”

We wanted to learn what makes a great trick dog and interviewed Karen Cobb, Norman’s owner, to learn how she trained Norman.

Facts About Norman
Breed: Briard
Personality: A Clown, Loves to Play, One of the Family
Favorite Treats: Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls, Mozarella Cheese
Favorite Special Interests: Agility, Obedience, Sheep Herding, Swimming
Favorite Cause: Stop Puppy Mills

 

Commitment to Training & Socialization

Karen believes that safe socialization greatly outweighs any of the risks from poor socialization.  Even when Norman was a puppy she did a lot to socialize him well.

Norman is a Briard, Briards are known to require much more socialization than other dogs.  As a puppy, Karen was commited to giving Norman good  socialization and training. Norman has always been very curious. He loves to play and always wants to do what the family is doing.

First, she took him consistently to weeks of training in agility and obedience. When Norman was 15 months old, he actually received his Companion Dog Title in obedience with all first placements.

She was also made a commitment to expose Norman to different kinds of people and dogs, to stand on different surfaces , and to be exposed to different sights and sounds. Karen uses positive reinforcement by way of bribes or treats to make training sessions a game. Each time she introduces Norman to something new, she gives him treats. Doing this helps build confidence in your dog and paves the way for more advanced tricks.

Training sessions should be kept short with high motivating food. Sessions should also be built into your daily routine – every time you leave the house, before meal time, or at bath time. Puppies need constant training and play time. Read more about her 12 Essential Training Tips for socializing your puppy.

Last, she says that dogs need to learn how to play well and to make everything with your dog into a game. They also need to know how to release on command and retrieve.

 

Additional Tips for Teaching  A Dog Tricks

Besides giving your dog foundational training and socialization, there are a few other tips that Karen mentioned that helps her teach Norman new tricks.

A lot to training has to do with knowing your dog and your dog’s breed. Karen strongly advises people to research their dog’s breed and to make sure that the dog will be a right fit for you and your family.

Here are some of things that Karen did to make Norman into a great trick dog:

  • Don’t always tell your dog no for everything. Teach him specific commands such as leave it, off, quiet, take it, and put on (place on table).
  • Knowing what a target is (nose or paw on anything).
  • Focus is one of the most important skill to teach your dog because helps him pay attention to you.
  • Getting the right high motivating treats: Knowing different levels of high motivating treats or incentives for your dog. For example, for a new trick you may use the highest motivating treat for your dog. For Norman, this might be mozarella pieces because they are easy to break off
  • Clicker training is great for more advanced tricks because your dog can better understand what you want him to do by the immediate sound of a click.
  • Training sessions for adult dogs should be about 1 hour per day, or in 3, 20 minute intervals.
  • Training classes are a great way to get feedback about your dog. You can never stop learning more about your dog.

 

Learning to Bike

Biking is very hard to teach a dog. It took Karen quite some time to teach Norman to ride a bike.  Dogs can’t just ride a normal kids bike. Norman’s bike is actually customized to fit him.

Karen suggests that people first train their dogs to skateboard first. It’s easier to teach than scootering or biking. Dogs must first learn to stand on a moving object. To do this, the dog must be comfortable with a skateboard. Training starts at a stationary position. Karen often uses treats and a clicker to help her train Norman.  Reward when your dog has one foot on a stationary skateboard and then move on to 4 feet standing on the skateboard.  Then, try using a leash to gently pull the skateboard forward while your dog is on the skateboard. You will have to also train your dog to get off the skateboard.

Since Pawtivity is all about getting dog owners to do more with their dogs, we asked Karen if she had any advice for dog owners. Instead on trying to figure out what your dog may like to do, she mentions that dog owners should find something that they like to do and then incorporate your dog in that. Dogs do love spending time with us, so it makes sense to involve your dog into something that you like to do!

Karen has many more training tips that you can try with your dog. Basic training is a great way to ease your dog into more advanced training and tricks!

 

Norman is Amazing!!

I asked Karen how Norman shows his love. She said that he actually gives you a hug by leaning on you and wrapping his paws around your leg. How adorable and very affectionate!

With all the training and activities that Norman gets on a consistent basis, he must love his family!Norman, you are a lucky dog to have such a wonderful family! Keep on learning new tricks and exploring fun things to do.

 

About Karen Cobb

Karen Cobb, owner and trainer of Norman the Scooter Dog, graduated from University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science.  She has trained dogs for over 20 years, specializing in problem solving, behavior counseling, housebreaking and aggression problems.  She now primarily trains Norman for his live performances and dog sports.  Her goal is to get Norman a leading role in a movie. Learn more about Norman and Karen.  Connect with them on Facebook!

 


Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on Pawtivity.com or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!

 


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