When you lose your determination and begin slipping and falling behind on your training, it can have serious consequences. When dogs do not get enough physical or mental stimulation, they look for ways to entertain themselves. This usually means they begin chewing or destroying something important to you (shoes, your couch, etc.). Similar to humans who get bored and become unproductive at work, dogs become bored when they lack engagement. However, while humans will turn to Facebook to curb their boredom, your dog will probably turn to your favorite pair of shoes.
The best way to prevent destructive and neurotic behaviors is to ensure that you are providing your dog with plenty of ways for them to exercise their body and mind. Like I stated before in my first blog post, a tired dog is a good dog. Daily walks, nose-work, tug of war, dog sports and games, are great ways of ensuring you have a tired dog.
A few other destructive behaviors that unsatisfied dogs can display are digging, chewing and tearing things apart, pacing, or repetitive activities. Being determined and sticking to your training schedule will reduce the amount of these destructive behaviors you will see in your dog. In addition, if your dog spends too much time alone, don’t be surprised when they start displaying these behaviors. Just as humans need interaction with each other, so do dogs. Dogs are social animals and having limited interactions with them are going to have consequences. When dogs are bored, they misbehave. Like Odin pictured below when he decided that it was time for his stuffed pig to be disemboweled as a result of boredom.
Everyone gets busy and cannot spend 24/7 with their dog so make sure that the time you do spend with them is meaningful. Spend that time communication and motivating them to complete a job that will leave them mentally and physically satisfied. Get in the habit of interacting with them and engaging with them daily. Make time before and after work to walk them and enrich their minds. Engage in a fun activity with your dog, such as exploring a new area or new environment. This last Saturday during Odin’s Summer Continued Obedience Class, instead of working on training and sits and downs, his trainers pulled out toys, ramps, balancing platforms, and small kiddie pool filled with the balls you would find in a McDonald’s Play Place ball pit. This provided the dogs with a new, interesting environment that the dogs could explore and stimulate their brains.
Get into the habit of interacting, engaging and exercising with your dog. Tiring out your dog goes a long way in avoiding destructive behaviors and having both you and your dog lead happier lives.