A tired dog is a good dog. This is a quote that every dog owner knows and has said at least once in their life. However, how do you tire out a dog that was bred for their intelligence and working potential when you don’t have a farm? This was a question I was contemplating prior to bringing home my Border Collie puppy, Odin. Border Collies are known to be high energy and can get neurotic when they are not given an outlet.
So, how do you tire out and mentally satisfy a dog that was bred for their work ethic in suburbia when having sheep in your backyard is not really an option? While researching online, I was unable to find valuable information on how to raise a working, highly intelligent, highly active dog in suburbia. The thing that I have been able to consistently find is that they need a mentally stimulating job in addition to exercise to live a happy, fulfilling life.
As I am writing this post, my now 9 month old Odin is getting up from his post-fetch nap. He is an avid fetcher and will intensely play for 30 minutes before I have to pry the tennis ball from him and drag him home from the park. Now that he is up, I will need to provide him with a job that will provide him with the necessary stimulation.
Motivation, effective communication and determination were words that I had always used to describe my professional self. However while training Odin, I discovered they were directly relatable to effective dog training. Finding the right job starts with finding the right type of motivation. Some dogs are food motivated and others toys. Some like nose-work, fetch, or hiking.
Once a motivation is found, communication techniques become very important between handlers and their dogs. New studies and techniques around communicating effectively with your dog are popping up every day. How do you know which is right for your dog? What is the science behind these techniques?
Finally, determination to continue a working dogs (or any type of dogs) training is essential to your dogs health and your sanity. Training a working dog is a never ending job. If left to their own devices, they can become neurotic and make destroying your shoes their new job. I have personally encountered this neurotic behavior, especially on days when it is hard to get outside. Just look the handful of destroyed dog toys that litter my floor, or the holes he dug in my backyard, or ask my cats who get annoyed by being herded when Odin gets bored.
Training Odin has become my passion and I hope to inspire and motivate others with this blog. In this blog, I am going to explore different motivations, communication techniques, and how to keep up your dog training stamina long term so you do not lose your determination on focusing on their well being.