Why does my dog (fill in the blank)?

I teach around 16 classes a week and I open every class with a question and answer period. It never fails, I’m always asked the same question. “Why does my dog…” or “How can I stop my dog from….”. The answer to most of these questions is relatively simple, but most people don’t like the answer. Any dog that is constantly getting into trouble or pestering for attention is bored, pure and simple. Dogs that have adequate mental and physical stimulation are able to relax.

Breeding and genetics can affect how much energy a dog will have and how well they cope with inactivity. Each dog will have his or her own energy threshold and what may be tired for you may not be tired for your dog, especially if they are young.

The majority of dogs that I see are in busy families. Working, shuttling children, and personal appointments dominate the day. The dog, who is usually crated, is expected to be content with a 30-minute walk twice a day, maybe. This is not nearly enough for the majority of dogs and walks won’t cut it. These pups need to so some serious cardio, like chasing a ball or Frisbee, swimming, playing with another dog and or an extended game of tug. Physical activity can help curb problems like mouthiness, destructiveness and barking.

Mental exercise can also tire a dog. Training games, food puzzles, time spent sniffing out a new place, and time spent with canine friends are as stimulating to a dog as reading the news and answering emails are to us. My mantra is always the same. “A tired dog is a happy owner”.