Finding extra time for your dog isn’t always easy between work, kids, cleaning, PTA meetings, soccer games, and the list goes on. High energy dogs, such as herding and sporting breeds, need regular exercise and stimulation in order to stay healthy, in shape, and out of trouble. Sharing responsibilities can really lighten the load between family members. In a family, a dog should never be only one person’s responsibility, especially a child of any age. A rotation of people will also keep your dog more involved with the family as each person spends time with him each day. The key is to schedule a time for regular exercise, training, and feeding. It is important to keep the schedule with little to no exceptions aloud for it to work.
Food is a powerful tool for training, so don’t just give it to your dog. Before giving any type of treats or its regular meal, have your dog perform a series of tricks. Clicker training is an easy way for beginners to start training their dogs. There are many books and online material to help you along the way. Spend a few minutes a day teaching a new trick or reinforcing an old one. Training doesn’t have to be an all day event. Even five to fifteen minutes a day is a manageable and realistic goal. It may not seem like a lot, but squeezing in ten minutes a day will leave you with a well behaved dog in no time. This can be done for a few minutes before or after work. Just before bed time is another great time to sneak in a five minute training session. You can even do the training just about anywhere with your dog. In the beginning, start off somewhere with the least distractions, then work your way up to areas with a lot of activity.
Involving your dog in family time can also keep him mentally stimulated and well exercised. Turn dog walks into a way for the whole family to get in shape and to actually talk to each other. Once you have had enough time to train your dog you can even take him to kids soccer games with you, just make sure to ask the couch ahead of time to make sure this is acceptable. There are also many dog puzzle toys available that can give him the extra mental stimulation that the need.
Next time your going to the park, hiking, or beach try going to one that’s dog friendly. Having your dog around can keep your energy going making you work out harder than you normally would. This can also be a valuable training experience since it will expose your dog to many other people and dogs. The more socialized your dog is, the calmer and easier it will be to take him along with you. This will be a learning experience for both you and your dog, so if it doesn’t go as planned on the first time out don’t get discouraged. Learn from the mistakes and find ways to prevent them from happening again. Make sure that before you leave you have everything ready. Making a list before hand can really help. Remember to bring plenty of doggie poop bags, spray cleaner, paper towels, a well fitted collar, leash, water, small bowl, towel, and either a dog seat belt or crate to restrain your dog while in the car. Make sure to add anything you think you might need depending on both where you are going and for how long.
Every activity doesn’t have to be loaded with exercise. Quality time is just as important to build a strong bond with your dog. Having the dog in house with you while you clean or just watching TV can help bring you closer with your dog. If your dog exhibits a large amount of energy when ever he comes inside doesn’t mean he should be banned to the back yard. Try giving him a good work out before being letting him in the house and reward good behavior. Remember, all the little moments will help build your relationship with your four legged family members.