Throwing your dog alone in a fenced backyard, or even with another dog, is not mentally stimulating, nor does it exercise your dog! In fact, it could even be causing behavior problems to multiply. Dogs with behavior problems are not happy dogs! Your inappropriate behavior is your cry for attention and help.

It is a fact; Most excessive barking, chewing, jumping, digging, and running behavior problems are caused by boredom and pent-up energy. It’s like living with a time bomb! You never know when it will go off … or how much damage it will do.

Dogs need stimulation, both physically and mentally. If you don’t exercise and challenge yourself, they will resort to finding creative and often destructive and / or dangerous ways to get into trouble. Worse still, they can develop behavior problems, which can be quite costly to modify.

To successfully achieve your goal of changing your dog’s inappropriate behavior and having a happier dog, the first thing you need to do is commit to him. You must promise to provide your pet with enough structured exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis to alleviate boredom and suppress energy.

Depending on your dog’s energy level, it may require at least 2 hours of intense exercise daily. That may include a long walk / run and perhaps some time at the dog park for more exercise and socialization. Dog parks are a great place not only for your dog to make new friends, you will too!

Simply walking your dog on a daily basis can be mentally stimulating. New smells, sounds, sights, people, and other dogs help break the mundane monotony of your life. Keep them guessing. Try walking in new places from time to time. Explore together.

How about an agility or rally class? If you want your dog to get plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and socializing in an interesting and challenging way, those are two great options.

Is your dog home alone all day? Try a doggie daycare, even if it’s only for one or two days a week. Most likely these nights you will bring home a very tired dog. A tired dog is a good dog!

Training! Dogs are a work in progress. The best-trained dogs on the planet are the ones that are continually trained and retrained to keep them on their toes. If you think the fact that you took a Puppy Kindergarten or Basic Obedience course years ago will keep your dog on the mark … guess again. Dogs need to work every day! Spend 10 minutes at least two to three times a day, working with your dog on obedience commands. There is no question; you will see a change in their behavior. Make it a game … make it fun. They will love the interaction with you.

If you don’t have the self-discipline to set up your own program, sign up with a local trainer who applies unpunished training methods and positive reinforcement. Again, it is a great exercise for you and your dog. Lots of mental stimulation, challenges, and socializing, all in one hour! Most give enough homework to keep you and your dog busy until the next class. Group classes are an incredibly inexpensive way to achieve your goal.

Bottom line: Before you give up, commit for two weeks. Walk your dog for at least 30 to 45 minutes twice a day. Exercise your dog properly by interacting with him. Socialize your pet at a dog park or doggie daycare. Spend time with your dog working on obedience skills. The positives to all of this are: you won’t just see a change in your behavior; it will also strengthen the bond between you. The results will amaze you!

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