“If you don’t have time to train your dog, get a stuffed animal” Pamela Dennison.
This is one of my most favorite quotes when it comes to dogs. I think because it sums up in one line one the ultimate problems with dog ownership. Lack of training. We get dogs for the most pure of reasons. To share our lives with one of the most amazing creations on earth. But once we get them home, love just isn’t enough.
Dogs need mental stimulation, physical activity and rules.
Without Mental Stimulation
When dogs lack mental stimulation, they get bored. When dogs get bored they get creative. When dogs get creative, they often get destructive.
Without Physical Stimulation
When dogs lack physical stimulation, they get bored. When dogs get bored they get creative. When dogs get creative, they often get destructive.
Puppies are hard to resist but reconsider if you don’t think you have time for training.
The misconception of training is that is has to last for hours. It is said that one hour of mental work for a dog is equivalent to 4 hours of exercise. So 15 minutes of mental stimulation may be the equivalent to one hours worth of exercise.Now I’m not implying that mental stimulation is a substitute for physical exercise. Instead, mixing up the mental and physical aspect of training keeps things exciting for both you and your dogs.
Examples of mentally stimulating exercises include, but are not limited to teaching your dog a new trick (play dead, getting the paper, spinning in a circle) and teaching your dog a new command (sit, stay, speak).
I recently attended a clinic that taught ”Crate Games” based on the training and DVD by Susan Garrett. It was awesome. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out. My Australian Shepherd “Mister” loved it! As Mister advanced in his Crate Game knowledge, the training combined both mental challenges for him as well as physical activity.
Check out your local dog training facilities and see what clinics and speakers they have planned.
The dog trainers that I have worked with over the years were always in agreement regarding one aspect of training – they all recommended multiple short sessions (3-8 minutes) of training over long sessions (30 minutes – 1 hour) when it comes to getting results with your dog. So I ask, “who doesn’t have 3-5 minutes a day to give to their dog?”.
So often we accept behaviors from our dogs because we think “well, they are just like that”. I disagree. Every dog is trainable. Most likely they are “like that” because we allowed or inadvertantly shaped the behavior.
Dog ownership comes with heavy load of responsibility. These dogs did not have a choice in their homes or their people. So take some time for training and exercise and make them the envy of their dog pals … or consider a stuffed animal instead.