You come home after a long day at work and find out that your four-footed angel has shredded your favorite throw pillow and tipped over the garbage, strewing it across the house. Your frustration is second only to your desire to find out how to stop your dog from behaving this way.
This scenario is more common than you think and has a simple explanation. We tend to think of dogs as being completely domesticated and an extension of our human world, when, in fact, they have more in common with their wild ancestors that you might realize.
Dogs make great human companions. Unfortunately, what we neglect to remember is that dogs are relatives of wolves, and once you look at their habits, it is easy to see why they might be acting up. Old habits die hard – dogs were never meant to be cooped up with little activity, and if your dog is a working breed this might exacerbate the problem even more. So, if your dog is chewing or destroying things in your home, it is likely because they are bored.
With there's no outlet for that boredom, some dogs will engage in undesirable activities, and even worse, they may become anxious and depressed. Check out these exercise tips for your dog's body, brain, and behavior.
Find games that challenge your pet such as hide and seek, or let your dog determine your walking route. If you have a working dog breed, consider teaching them a sport such as frisbee or agility. Not only will it be a good mental and physical outlet for them, but it will be good for you as well!
There are many benefits to engaging in play and exercise for your dog, and for you too! Having a pet can reduce stress levels, and going for dog walks is excellent exercise. While you are trying to improve your dog’s body, brain, and behavior, you might just improve yours as well.
A final word of caution, if your dog appears depressed or anxious, it is important to have them checked by a vet. While most behavior problems can be solved by healthy activity, sometimes these symptoms can indicate a physical problem as well. A vet check can ensure your dog is healthy and ready to hit the agility course!