Getting a new dog is exciting, regardless of whether that dog is a puppy or an adult. You dive into the new adventure headfirst. Believing that everything will fall into place, your new dog or puppy will be the best-behaved dog in the neighbourhood. How could they not be? Even if she’s only been with you for mere hours or days, you fall in love with your canine companions pretty much the moment you decide that they are coming home with you.
At the start of your life together, the world is your oyster. You spend a few weeks training your new canine friend and then decide you’ve had enough of training. However, owning a dog is not that simple. Your new dog needs mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.
The trouble is that most dog owners concentrate on the physical exercise aspect; they love taking their dog for a walk. Completely understandable too, after all, most of us get a dog because we want to be able to take long relaxing walks together with our best friend.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
The problems start when we forget that our dog’s need mental stimulation as well as going out every day. For a while, everything is peachy, and things go well. Then things change.
You come home to find that your dog has chewed the kitchen chair leg, the mail shredded, scratch marks are appearing on your front door. Your dog seems to have more energy than you expected. She is now constantly asking for attention; barking when you try and ignore her, destroying your possessions when you go out.
In a desperate attempt to tire her out, you start throwing a ball on the walk. But she stills demands your attention, every minute of the day. Your walks get longer and longer, but rather than your dog being exhausted by all this exercise, she gets more and more destructive and demanding.
She starts to run off on walks, to play with other dogs, chase rabbits and follow scents. She stops coming back when called and starts to pull on the lead. You put it down to her needing to get rid of all this energy she has. And you think that she will get better if you give her more exercise.
But, nothing you try seems to tire her out. You are walking for hours, and still, your dog seems ready to go for another run the moment you get back home.
You feel like you have to increase the amount of exercise you give your dog every few weeks, trying to keep the edge of the boundless energy.
The trouble is that the more physical exercise you give your dog, the fitter she becomes and the more exercise she needs. You’re stuck in a vicious circle.
Somehow, without you realising the balance between mental stimulation and physical exercise has been completely knocked off-kilter.
Your dog does not need more exercise.
Giving your dog more exercise at this point is futile, and honestly even detrimental for her health. Too much exercise is just as bad as not enough exercise.
No, what your dog needs is to use her brain more. To learn to do new things, to engage with you in a positive and relationship strengthening way.
But most dog owners fail to see the error of their ways. They think that reducing the length of the walks and giving the dog additional mental stimulation will not solve their problem. They believe that the only way they will be able to tire their dog out is by giving them even more physical exercise.
Are you one of these stubborn owners who stick to their ill-informed ways and believes, or do you want to help your dog transform into your dream dog?
All it takes to transform your overactive and destructive canine companion from a highly-strung super athlete your super long walks has created is to give them regular mental stimulation.
The easiest way to do this is to do a little bit of training with them every day. You can teach them practical skills as well as a considerable range of fancy tricks, all designed to engage your dog’s brain.
The real beauty of getting into the habit of spending some quality time training your dog each day is that it will create the most fantastic bond between you and your best friend.
I first created The Fun Focus Play® 2020 Challenge to help dog owners all over the world to build a daily dog training habit. During the Challenge, I encouraged the participants to train their dogs for 20 minutes a day for 20 days. Dog owners from all as far away as the USA and Singapore took part and began to build a healthy daily dog training habit that improved their dog’s behaviour as well as strengthening the bond between dog and owner.
Real habits, sadly, aren’t formed in 20 days; it takes much longer than that to establish the sustainable behavioural pattern that will have you training your dog every day. So I came up with my The Habit Continues course, just like the original Fun Focus Play® 2020 Challenge this course aims to encourage students to train their dog for 20 minutes each day, continuing the building of the habit that we a started in January.
Whether or not you took part in the challenge; this course will help you maintain the correct balance between the physical exercise and the mental stimulation your dog needs every single day.
Helping you to transform your over-exuberant and hyperactive dog into your ideal canine companion.
For more information about The Fun Focus Play® 2020 Challenge – The Habit Continues or to sign up, click here.