|Posted on November 16, 2012 at 12:55 AM|
Sometimes I forget that Halle isn’t a human. Raising her from a helpless seven week old puppy has brought out my mothering instincts and makes me want to treat her like a baby. Halle truly experiences a life of leisure. We provide her with shelter, healthy food, clean water, yummy treats and even a memory foam dog bed.
In contrast, Halle’s ancestors lived a totally different life style. Through systematic breeding, our ancestors bred the dog to work for us by honing the dog’s keen sense of smell, cunning brains, and sharp eyes to help with herding, hunting and an alarm system. Somewhere along the way, modern day humans turned the working dog into a house dog. We may have taken the work away from the dog, we didn’t take the dog away from the work. Each and every breed, whether pure breed or mixed breed, still has the same natural desire to hunt, herd or guard. It is part of the dog’s DNA and no designer collar or couture coat will take those natural desires out of the dog.
Many of the behavior problems that we see with dogs today, particularly puppies and adolescent dogs, is because they are bored. In recent findings from the University of Guelph, researchers empirically demonstrate boredom in confined animals. The researchers found that animals in confined, empty spaces avidly seek stimulation, which is consistent with boredom.
Dogs thrive on companionship and interaction, but when this is taken away and they are not provided with other means of entertainment, boredom sets in. Because of the lack of mental and physical activity, your dog will start to find new ways to entertain himself, which often leads to destructive behavior and excessive barking. Dogs do not misbehave on purpose or destroy your favorite sofa out of spite.
You can help to keep boredom away, by tapping into the dog’s natural instinct to forage, hunt and eviscerate by providing your puppy with food stuffed toys and puzzles. These types of toys provide your puppy with fun, enriching and appropriate ways to pass the time. Food dispensing toys like Kongs, activity balls and puzzle games can be stuffed with favorite treats, and provides your puppy with great mental stimulation as he tries to work out how to get the food. I also give my puppy meaty marrow bones for hours of inexpensive chewing enjoyment.
You can believe me when I say that Halle would much rather be munching on a marrow bone or working through a food puzzle than chewing on the leg of the sofa.
Sniff on! Train on!
Susie & Halle
Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473
National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor
Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449
Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153
AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179
TAGteach Primary Certification
Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter”
Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263
Member of the Pet Professional Guild