Make puppy training fun with these cool ways to train pretty much anything, with I Spy their are no limits as to what you can teach your puppy. So easy and fun, kids and adults alike will enjoy time teaching puppy! Teaching a Target behaviour is another fun way to work with your dog. Thanks to Kindred Connection for these great ideas.
There is no doubt that socialization is important and in that end we have some information on ways to socialize your pup. That said, there is an art to socialization. We like to take our puppies out and about but instead of making the world the focus of their field trips we put it in the background. You can take your puppy all kinds of places, but instead of forcing your puppy to constantly meet the world head on, practice focus and attention games with you, while the world goes on behind them. Your puppy does not have to meet every person they see, or be petted by 15 children. Better that they enjoy the sights and sounds of children while they play a focus game with you and then quietly meet one or two children in a controlled environment and at a their own pace. Many of these experiences on the charts for download can happen right in your own home. Socialization must be positive, it must be at the pup's on pace and the puppy must have a say, a choice in how they socialize and who they socialize with. Forcing interactions can go badly wrong. For more information on this check out this article by The Collared Scholar.
Over the thousands of years involved in the domestication of dogs, human beings have provided dogs with shelter, affection and love, medical aid, cozy beds, walks for exercise and readily available food and this is great for the dog. However in spite of getting enough physical exercise and all the other great things humans provide most dogs do not get enough mental stimulation. Boredom and restlessness usually result from lack of mental stimulation and this often results in excess energy that they will put into some behaviours that people perceive as not so nice such as chewing your furniture or shoes, digging up your garden or garbage, jumping up on people, barking, destruction of your home or belongs to name a few.
When you consider that creatures in the wild that are related to the domesticated dog spend the majority of their lives in the pursuit of food, tracking it, hunting it, chasing it, catching it, killing it, feeding it to puppies, burying it, digging it up again later, we get a clear picture of what our pet dogs are missing from their lives, something to do.
Some lucky dogs work on farms with the livestock, others track missing people or illegal substances, or guard property, while others provide people with the guidance to get around but most, our beloved pet dogs do not have a job to do and if we don’t provide them with one the chances are great that they will find one to do and we probably won’t like it, ie. The chewing of your expensive leather shoes.
So let’s give our dogs something to do, let’s give them back the gift of working for their food by using food dispensing toys to deliver their meals:
Examples of some food dispensing toys are:
KONG – the Kong can be used to dispense all or a portion of your dog’s daily food ration by mixing their dry kibble with water, consumme, canned tuna juice and making it into a paste. Then stuff the Kong with the pasty kibble and let your dog lick it out. Freezing the Kong will make it harder for the dog to get the food or treats out of the Kong, keeping them busy for longer and wearing them out mentally. However start with it unfrozen, making it as easy a possible for the dog so they find it fun and rewarding and if at first they don’t seem interested, play with them with the toy. You can also use left-over food, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, rice and veggies. Canned, un-spiced pumpkin and frozen green beans, mashed bananas and carrots, cream cheese or Cheez Whiz with sliced apples are all great Kong stuff ideas.
Tug Jug – kibble or treats can be put into the jug and the dog must pull at the rope inserted into the bottle in order to get the food out.
Food dispensing balls such as the Kibbler Nibbler – kibble or treats are inserted into the ball and will fall out as the dog pushes the ball along.
Buster Cube – similar to a dispensing ball toy but a cube
Mike and Leo Puzzle toys – hard rubber toys that can be joined together and food inserted into them. By playing with the toys, the food drops out. The more toys that are joined together the harder it is to get the food out. Start off with just one, then as your dog gets good at getting the food out, start linking them together.
Kong Wobbler – another great toy from the makers of the Kong. Fill this one up with your dog’s kibble then let him go at it. It wobbles and rolls as your dog plays with it, spilling the food out a few at a time.
Interactive toys – Dog Brick, Dog Casino, Spiny – you hide treats in them and your dog must figure out how to actually open up these toys in order to get the food out.
Caution – the only toy that I would consider leaving my dog with when I am not directly supervising him is the hard, rubber Kong that is in excellent condition, no cracks in it and only one that was the appropriate size for your dog. Also if you have a multiple dog household, separate your dogs while they eat from their toys and pick up the toys and put them away when the dogs have either finished, ie they walk away from the toy or it is empty
And excellent educational video to help children (and adults) understand how to interact with their dog safely and kindly.
Check out this great video on how behaviour works and how you can build a positive and close relationship with you dog.