Positive reinforcement training relies on the relationship and bond between you and your dog. The basis is touch, praise, and a reward system of treats and play.
Alas, when dogs are bored, they exhibit destructive behaviors such as chewing and digging, or annoying behavior like barking.
In truth, most dogs just don’t get enough exercise. Exercise means going for walks a couple of times a day – not just for the dog to potty, but until he is tired.
Don’t overexercise during the heat of the day – not just because of high temperatures but also to prevent burning their pads.
Special exercise can mean going to a beach on a long line or off leash if your dog is so trained, a safe park, trails, etc. Walking may not stimulate a dog but all the scents and sights can help to tire out his brain.
If possible and there is a safe area to play off leash, such as a dog park, this form of dog to dog play tires a dog out better than most other forms of stimulation. The four-legged ones do a better job at getting each other tired than we humans!
Playing ball or Frisbee is a fabulous way to tire them out relatively quickly. If your dog is fixated on those toys, it doesn’t take much to exhaust them.
Agility might tire them out, even if it is merely setting up some jumps in your yard.
And, of course, as we get closer to summer one of the best answers to boredom is going to the beach, river or pool to swim or chase birds. Just as with kids, a day of surf and sun is a remedy to having them spend the rest of the day as couch potatoes.
Indoor play is also possible on sweltering summer days when neither dog nor human wants to be outside much – except at the beach. Having your dog play fetch up and down the hallways or, if you have stairs, throwing the ball up the steps and having your dog chase the ball up and down several times is a marvelous way to tire them out.
Take them to a pet store, find a dog to play with, bring them to lunch with you, open up their environment to more stimulation and you will both be happier.
On hot or rainy days I rely on a game of Find It in the house. I hide treats or special toys all around the house and teach dogs to seek them out. They love this game, and it uses their instincts to use their noses, with the reward being their toy, playing with you, or special treats that smell really good.
Just remember that tired dogs not only make happy dogs, but make happy owners as well.
Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy. AlphadogTrainingAcademy@gmail.com