Formula: Well Behaved Dog = Mentally stimulated + Well Exercised + Good Nutrition
Well, something like that. The formula is actually much longer, but that’s a good start. Your dog’s behavior is directly effected by the things that go on around him, things that have happened to him in the past, and his overall health and well-being.
So, what actions can I take to prevent bad behavior in my dog?
There’s lots of things you can do! Throughout the pages in this site I’ll be discussing many ways in which to keep your dog both mentally and physically happy…….with great benefit to you, of course, because a happy, healthy dog makes for a well behaved dog!
“Cause and effect” – DEFINITION: Noting a relationship between actions or events such that one or more are the result of the other or others.”
For example, if your dog is well exercised for the day, chances are he will happily sleep away most of the rest of the day. In contrast, if your dog is feeling cooped up due to lack of exercise, he may find his own source of entertainment by chewing up your brand new pair of shoes.
It’s important to note that in order for your dog to display good behavior he will require a strong balance of discipline, physical and mental stimulation, and be kept in good health.
Discipline For Your Dog
Did you know that your dog needs discipline in order to be happy? It’s true! One look into those big puppy dog eyes and your heart goes to mush, and I know how difficult it can be to reprimand at times like that, I’ve been there! But, you need to take on the role as leader of the pack! Certainly you don’t want your dog to take on that role. Dogs are very smart, and if you’re not a strong leader by providing him with consistent discipline, your dog will have no problem overruling your commands whenever he feels like it. He relies on your leadership to show him the way in what is expected of him, and only then will he fully understand, and be on his way to being a well-balanced, well-behaved, and happy pup!
Mental Stimulation For Your Dog
Mental stimulation prevents your dog from becoming bored. A bored pup can be a mischievous one, and one that will create his own form of entertainment, all of which most likely won’t be very entertaining for you. Let’s see, there’s pups who get into the garbage, collect household items to chew up, destroy your furniture, figure out ways to steel food out of your cabinets, and play games with toilet paper rolls. Sound like fun yet? Never fear, there are many ways in which to stimulate your dog and keep him appropriately entertained, as mentioned below:
- Interactive dog toys. These are great for when you are home, but some can be utilized for when you are away too, making them great for the dog who finds mischief the second you walk out the door.
- Kong toys. This is a sturdy, rubber toy with a hollowed out center to allow for the stuffing of wet and/or dry dog treats. Your dog will need to work at getting the treats out through a small opening, and it keeps them busy (and happy!) for long periods of time.
- Teach him new tricks. Don’t stop after the puppy years. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks! Try teaching him an easy trick, such as a high five, or something more complicated, such as putting his own toys away.
- Play a game. We play a game with our dog where we hide a treat, and he finds it using his sense of smell. He gets very excited and knows exactly what he is supposed to do. Start out easy, then get a bit harder, praising him on his success.
- Take your dog places. If possible, when you run out, bring your dog with you, especially if it’s a trip to the pet store. He’ll be sure to thank you. 🙂
Physical Stimulation For Your Dog
Exercise is a very important part of your dog’s health, but also his happiness. It is a release of energy that will keep him from feeling pent up and bored. Here are some great ways to get your dog in motion:
- If you like to walk, or jog, take your dog with you.
- Take your dog for a bike ride. There are specialized bike leashes that will allow you to do this safely. (Click HERE to read my article on bike riding with your dog.)
- Play fetch, or tug of war.
- Set up a doggie play date with a friend, or neighbors dog. Or, a dog park (if you have one) works wonders for releasing your dogs energy.
- Take your dog to an agility course, or build one yourself (it doesn’t have to be elaborate, use some obstacles that you can make him run around and through).
- Teach your dog to use your treadmill.
- If you have a pool, let him swim, or use a lake that is safe for swimming.
Of course, like humans, every breed of dog is different than the next. And within every breed, each dog has a personality unique to him. Some possess personality traits that aim to please humans more than the next, making them easier to discipline, and train. Some need more exercise than others. And some will require a special diet due to health restrictions. You can figure out the correct balance for your dog by observing his actions and behaviors, and getting a veterinarian’s input as needed. If you’re in need of some help, please look through the pages on this site where you will find tons of information on behavioral issues within dogs. And, please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!