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Nothing In Life Is Free my Friend…

I want to address the idea that your dog needs to work for a living. When you researched your breed, you would have come across what work your particular breed was developed for. Dogs have not had the job description of “pet” for very long. It has only been in relatively recent years that dogs have come out of the barn and into the house. What happens to all of those instincts that have been developed for thousands of years? 

BOREDOM is the scourge of the pet dog. It is my opinion, that boredom kills more dogs every year than any other affliction. How can I make a comment like that?

 Family adopts a Border Collie because they are “smart”dogs.  Border collie puppy is petted and carried around for the first few weeks.  Because herding breeds can have a tendency to be mentally sensitive, their behavior in inhibited for several weeks. As the puppy begins to feel more secure and develops physically, his behavior begins to change. When the puppy
reaches a size where he is no longer easy to carry around he is circling and
nipping at the kids. The kids become afraid of the dog and the dog is tied up when the children are playing. When the dog is tied up for the greater part of  the day, he becomes anxious and explosive when released from the confines of the chain. When mom tries to take the dog off the chain after the kids are at school, the dog, so ecstatic for social contact, jumps up on Mom in an attempt to greet her at her face. The more frustrated and angry Mom gets the harder the BC puppy tries to appease this angry pack mate. Frustrated and covered in muddy paw prints, Mom re-chains the dog and leaves. After several failed attempts to interact with the dog, it is decided that the dog is “nasty”, has a screw loose and “needs a farm” to run on, etc.

Dogs are pack animals, they are social creatures. Isolation is as damaging to them as it is to us. They need physical and mental stimulation in order to be well. Behaviour problems are very often a manifestation of boredom.
A walk around the block at the end of the night is not enough for most dogs.  Mental work is so critical to wellbeing. When your dog is mentally and physically fatigued, you have a much nicer creature to live with. So what are we going to do with these dogs? GIVE THEM A JOB!

Here are a few suggestions:

Kibble Candy Scrabble! Food in a bowl is a waste! Take these two cups of kibble and throw them all over the backyard. Your dog spends 20 minutes
using their incredible sense of smell to locate each tiny piece of kibble. When
they return to the house they are satisfied and often mentally fatigued!

Use Your Kongs! Stuff them, freeze them, do whatever it takes to turn that toy into a slow food delivery system! Make them work for it. They will thank you for it.
The Great Cookie Caper! Take 10 dry biscuits, with your dog confined to their crate in another room, hide the cookies throughout the house.  Let the dog out and tell them to “find it”. Let them self-discover the goodies you have hidden. Do make it easy for first timers and puppies.

You’re going to be a Star Baby!

Teach your dog to do tricks. The sky is the limit here, be creative. Tricks stimulate the mind just as well as those traditional

Teach Your Dog to Retrieve! This is a great way to exercise your dog quickly. Ten minutes of retrieving is worth 2 hours of leash walking!

Roll With it! Use a kibble ball. These are marketed under many different names but they all work on the same premise. Fill the ball with kibble and let your dog figure out how to get those goodies out.
Use Your Life Rewards! Rewards are not just food. What does your dog like? How can you make them earn it? Like we said before, nothing in life is free. An honest day’s work feels as good to them as it does for us. Why not use a car ride or a favorite game as a reward?

 Get into the Game Get involved with canine sports. Join an agility club. Even if you go out to a club to practice the basics, the mental stimulation of being in the thick of the activity, will make for a very tired dog.

Consider Therapy Work Most nursing homes and hospitals are very
grateful for well mannered dogs, and the joy they bring to the residents.

 Perhaps One of these Will appeal to You… swimming, scent work, search and rescue, hide and seek, hunting, rally-O, lure coursing, Freestyle (dog dancing), commercials, still photography for ads, conformation, obedience,