Got a wild one? Well, here are some super simple things you can do with your dog right now to burn energy, improve focus, and teach your dog how to control those impulsive emotions that drive you crazy. These are tricks that all the dog professionals use to turn high-energy busy dogs into performance champions and you can too. Let’s dive in…
Ditch the dog bowl. There are two big reasons to toss the bowl in favor of treat dispensing toys and hand feeding (especially for puppies).
It gives your dog something to do, and if you have an busy dog, you probably can’t find enough of these. Navigating food out of a treat dispensing toy engages your dogs nose, eyes, brain, and body and this kind of whole-body activity is what most active dogs are seriously craving (and not getting nearly enough of).
It teaches your dog that you are the all-powerful provider of life-giving sustenance. Hand feeding in particular teaches an unruly or disobedient dog that you control one of the most important resources in the world: food, and they have to play nice to get it. Hand feeding can also be an absolute godsend for dogs that have resource guarding issues or dogs that are invasive and rough when interacting with people.
So ditch the dog bowl and dispense food by hand or treat-dispensing toy.
Train on walks. For most dogs, dealing with distraction is your number one challenge… well, training on walks is your number one solution (and most owners never think to do this). So grab a handful of treats for your next walk, then halt every couple of minutes and ask your dog to perform a few simple behaviors for a treat. With that completed, resume your walk as usual. In just a few days your dog will have performed in a whole slew of new environments and distractions and you will be infinitely further on your way to a distraction-proof dog.
Play with your dog. This one gets a bad wrap in the pet dog community but if there’s one single way to teach your dog how to read people and interact with them in a calm and gentle way, it’s play. Play is the holy grail of control and politeness when excited. Just a few well-structured short sessions of tug or fetch and your dog will not only think you’re the bees knees but will be interacting with you in a whole new way: calm, controlled, and polite.
So get on it and in just a few short sessions you too can harness the power of the dog pros and calm the crazy in your dog.