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Betterdog4u
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PostSubject: Identifying the Root of Behavior Problems   Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:45 pm

Recently, fairly large amounts of people have been asking me for advice about a wide variety of behavior problems. Their comments range from, "my dog is just too hyper", to "my dog will not obey me”, “he/she is digging in the yard and destroying our landscape" and "my dog pulls like a truck while on the leash".

After I ask them a few questions, I find that one common answer comes up in over 90 per cent of the cases. The question: How often do you walk or exercise your dog? The answers I get are: “Not as much as I should,” to “every once in a while.” to “I have a big yard, I shouldn’t have to walk him/her”.

The root of most every behavior problems comes down to one major issue. Dogs are not getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. With the dogs I have been introduced to, I could even see the problem before I asked any questions. It was obvious because they were way over weight. It was also easy to see in younger dogs. Young dogs must have a continuous outlet in order to expend the excess energy. If we don’t give them that outlet they will find one on their own. This is usually done in a destructive way. Do not make the mistake of putting the dog alone in the backyard and expect it to wear it's self out. It will never happen!!! The dog will simply think of the yard as just another room.

When we domesticated the dog, we gave them jobs. We put them to work pulling carts, herding sheep, made them hunters, property guards, companions, and many other things. This means that they rely on us for their exercise and mental stimulation. In our superficial society, people acquire a dog for their physical beauty or reputation and then do nothing to keep the dog busy or engaged. I have always suggested that people choose a breed, (or mixed breed), to match their lifestyle. This means that people need to study the breed(s) and find out what its original function was. They should also talk to people who own the breed they are looking at. They should research how much energy the breed is expected to have and then determine if they are you going to be able to fulfill those needs.

What I recommend to people who have a new dog is that they should cultivate trust and a companionship with the dog. This companionship is accomplished by walking, playing and JUST hanging out with the dog. Even something as simple as taking the dog out to the mailbox with you. The main forms of mental stimulation are training and playing games with your dog. Fetch is probably the biggest favorite. You can also get involved in training. Dogs love a mental workout as much as the physical one. Mental stimulation doesn’t always have to be done outside. It can take the form of throwing a ball or playing with the dog while you are on the phone or watching TV. You should also take the dog as many places as possible.

Personally, I’ve noticed that even a small amount of exercise leads to better focus. Before any training sessions, I allow my dogs to run and play for about 15 minutes to burn off some energy. That takes the edge off, and then they think and listen much better.

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Steven_L
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying the Root of Behavior Problems   Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:06 pm

Great write up! Yes people have to learn that dogs don't tend to be content with simply sitting around and watching tv, of course there are a couple that do like only doing that.lol. I've noticed that Junior exhibits unwanted behaviors whenever I fail to take him out to go for a walk, things such as digging, excessive barking, etc. They all come up when he has too much energy.

Its actually a myth that dogs will exercise themselves if you have a big backyard. They need to be stimulated, either by another person or another dog (or a rabbit.lol).

I think fetch is probably one of the best things that one can play with our dogs (if they have that chase drive). You don't break a sweat but your dog gets to run tons of laps.

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Betterdog4u
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PostSubject: Re: Identifying the Root of Behavior Problems   Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:13 pm

I should also say that I have adopted an old saying that has been around for many years ...

It is: "A Tried Dog, Is a happy Dog!!!"

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PostSubject: Re: Identifying the Root of Behavior Problems   Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:37 pm

Betterdog4u wrote:
I should also say that I have adopted an old saying that has been around for many years ...

It is: "A Tried Dog, Is a happy Dog!!!"

I like that saying too, although I use the variation: A tired dog is a good dog Razz

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