Mentally Exercise Your Dog Through Training
All dogs need varying degrees of exercise. Some breeds (such as working breeds) benefit greatly from physical exercise. But no matter what breed your dog is, he/she could always use some mental exercise. In training, exercise is a big part of the behavioral success, as it can relieve anxiety and stress. However, some dogs don’t get the physical exercise they need. In many cases, the owner might not be that active themselves, and therefore exercising their dog is rare. Still, I’ve worked with dogs that have active owners and have a steady exercise routine, yet are still battling behavioral problems.
If your dog is experiencing anxiety or other serious behavior issues, then your dog might be lacking exercise. But it might not necessarily be that you need to jog with your dog or send them to daycare five days a week. Your dog might get plenty of physical exercise! But consider if your dog is getting enough mental exercise to keep them stimulated and focused.
Dogs need mental exercise just as much as they need physical exercise. You can take your dog out for ten walks a day, play fetch for hours, or make them jump through hoops all morning, but it still won’t mean anything if there’s no mental exercise present. A lot of it can come with physical exercise, but what happens when your dog is home alone, or even spending the evening with you? Does he/she seem nervous or on edge? Is there still a ton of hyperactive behaviors in the house? If so, your dog needs to be more mentally stimulated!
Training is exactly that…mental exercise and stimulation. It’s not just about getting your dog to shake a paw, rather it’s about getting your dog to think and be alert. It’s about your dog knowing the difference between their commands, rather than just doing whatever they anticipate and immediately break it as soon as perform the command. It’s about your dog maintaining focus and impulse control, even among distractions and triggers. Mental exercise is about your dog using his/her brain, instead of moping around in boredom, getting anxious over doing nothing.
Even if your dog is physically active, make sure that they are also getting mental stimulation. Leaving them in the backyard to run around in circles does not count as exercise, as this could actually lead or be a sign of obsessive behaviors. Engage with your dog, not just physically, but mentally as well! Dogs are intelligent creatures…let’s give them the opportunity to show us that and to kill any anxiety and bad behavior!
If your dog could use some mental exercise/training, then call us at 800-649-7297.