Boredom Breakers

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We are experiencing a colder than usual winter. Hi there, CEO Olivia here. During these cold days Suzie Q & I aren’t too enthused about playing in our yard. So our huMom needs to keep us occupied so we don’t get bored.

It’s important that your good dog gets plenty of physical exercise but it’s equally important for them to work their brains too. Boredom can lead to OCD & other “unwanted” behaviors such as destroying furniture. And a canine couch potato is just as bad as it’s human counterpart. So here are a few suggestions to keep a dog’s mind sharp & it’s day more interesting.

Food puzzle toys are invaluable boredom busters. Since my wild cousins spend much of their time scavenging for food, food puzzle toys offer a natural solution to dog boredom. Puzzle toys also encourage chewing & licking, which can have a calming effect on dogs. I have a toy that looks like a big paw. My huMom hides treats under these sliding doors that I have to work for my reward. It’s wooftastic fun.

There are lots of new & exciting products available that can offer a number of difficulty levels. You can use something as simple as a Kong or ball stuffed with treats to more elaborate devices that require several problem solving steps. Suzie Q prefers a Kong stuffed with treats. She doesn’t seem to understand my puzzle game.

You can also put food to work for you by making your dog hunt for it. Hide small treats of food in the house for your good dog to “hunt.” Initially, make the treats very easy to find. As your dog gets better at this game, practice hiding the food in more difficult spots.

Of course a Knotty Toy can be fun on these long days. Hide your good dog’s Knotty Gnaw or Knotty Chaw Chaw & then ask them to find it. When they do, make a big deal out of it & give them a treat & engage in play with the Knotty Toy.  The first few times make it easy so they understand the game.  As the game continues make the search more challenging. Always reward with a treat, praise & lots of enthusiasm.

Nothing makes a good dog happier than when our humans take the time to work on communication skills.  A pawfectly fun way huMom & I do this is by going through my routine which is a variety of commands we have worked on over the years.  To make it more stimulating we have added a new command, crawl. Doing this strengthens our bond because the foundation of all good relationships is good communication skills.

At least one daily walk with your dog is important but they might grow bored of the same route, especially if it’s a shorter than usual walk due to the cold. Try to find time for several short walks & regularly change up your route so that your good dog can experience new stinks & sights. Keep life interesting.

It’s often difficult to work time with your dog into your hectic daily routine. If you’ve got a busy schedule, consider a doggie daycare. If possible come home for lunch & spend time with your dog. A professional dog walker, another family member or trusted neighbor could also spend time with your dog while you toil in the salt mines.

A final reminder, be sure to always monitor your dog when she/he is playing with a toy. Most dog toys are built to be safe, but dogs can eat anything & that can quickly turn serious (& costly!).

CEO Olivia

 

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Dealing With Nipping Puppies ~ Now You Know

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Thanks to S. Drew for asking how to deal with puppies & their razor sharp teeth.

Young dogs are very curious & they explore with their mouths. Touching, tasting & chomping are all part of how a puppy explores the world. That can get painful as puppy teeth are like little needles.

Learning to be a dog includes learning to control bite strength. Biting too hard is poor dog etiquette & this is learned through rough housing with litter mates. So how does a human deal with this chompy phase of a good dogs life?

You’re going to need to “puppy proof” your home by removing anything that might get chewed on from within a puppy’s reach. Shoes & boots go in the closet. Socks & undies go in a laundry hamper with a lid. Books should be up high or in a drawer. Electrical cords should be tucked behind furniture & unplugged if not being used. Plants, wallets, keys, human toys, phone chargers, all should be out of reach. Keep the bathroom door closed unless you like shredded toilet paper & finally, garbage pails should have lids. Phew! Look at it this way, if your puppy can get it in it’s mouth, it will.

Now it’s time to give your puppy positive options; chew toys instead of the furniture. First you need to establish what is their toy & what isn’t. When a puppy takes something inappropriate in it’s mouth you say something like, “no, that’s mine”, while offering a chew toy as an alternative & clearly say, “your toy”. Praise them for taking the chew toy instead. Dogs like to know the rules so they will appreciate you establishing these boundaries.

So chew toys will be very important for training.  There are so many but in our home we have had those made by Kong & our own Knotty toys for Good Dogs. Our Lil’ Gnaw is a good, all natural choice for a young pup. Have a few chew toys through out the home. Puppies, like children, bore easily. Puppies will also love a game of tug of war with you as this is a game all good dogs play with litter mates. To this day, my huMom & I still play tug of war with a Mighty Chaw Chaw.

Let’s be clear, you are going to get nipped. Be it from over stimulation or just a mistake, it will happen. Don’t get angry, the little pup is just doing what dogs do; they deal with excess energy or excitement through biting; that’s how they ground that energy. Always having a chew toy close by gives your puppy an option other than your hand to chomp on.

The good news is this is a phase, it will pass. With guidance & regular socialization, your puppy will grow up to be a wooftasticly good dog – like me. BOL!

Do you have a question about good dogs? Email us & we’ll try our best to find the answer.

CEO Olivia