Exercise for your dog is a basic daily need just as eating and drinking are, and if it is not adequately provided, serious consequences may occur. Many dogs are referred to as “Hyper Active” by their owners, however when you take a look at the dog he is often times simply under-exercised. This pent up energy that is in your dog will come out one way or another. If you channel that energy into something you would like your dog to do such as going on a long walk or teaching him a new trick, your household will be more peaceful than if he chooses to expend his energy chewing on your new couch.
As if making time twice daily to exercise your dog wasn’t hard enough, you also have to make sure he is getting appropriate exercise. Here are some things to think about:
The chemical make-up of arousal is the same for excitement and aggression.
Dogs playing with each other without supervision and interruption can get out of control quickly.
The same is true of dogs who do not know how to play with their owners and toys.
Unsupervised playing dogs can learn:
Their owners will not protect them- they are responsible for their own safety
They do not need their owner nor do they have to obey anyone
Reinforcement (play) is not under their owners control
Inappropriate social behaviors (horrible greeting behaviors, bullying etc.)
There are many good exercise techniques, here are a few:
Good old fashion walking. Walking your dog on different routes daily will help to keep him mentally engaged. He should walk by your side and not be pulling or lunging at other animals or cars.
Play groups can be effective if all owners are supervising their dogs. You should interrupt the play when it becomes too rough or vocal. The dogs should share roles. One dog should not always be chasing or pinning, they should be equal.
Dog sports (like agility and flyball) are a great way to exercise your dog and build communication and teamwork.
A game of fetch or tug works well as long as the owner is in control. The dog should bring the toys back, release them on command, and sit or lay down before they are allowed to play again.
House training a dog or puppy requires time, vigilance, patience and commitment. Training your dog to eliminate outside (in the area that you would like him too) includes both preventing accidents to the best of your abilities and rewarding success. Following these guidelines will help you to minimize accidents, but remember that no one is perfect and every dog will have a few.
1. Feed your dog on a schedule- He will eliminate on one too.
If he eliminates praise, play, and treat
If he doesn’t eliminate keep him on leash and go indoors, if you cannot keep him on leash and watch him confine him to his crate.
2. Keep his diet simple- avoid table scraps and canned foods, a high quality dry kibble will produce less waste.
3. Chose an area (about 10 square feet) outside where you would like your dog to eliminate. On rainy days or when you are in a hurry you will be glad that your dog does not have to take a walk to the tree at the end of the block to eliminate.
4. Take your pet out on leash to this area, pace back and forth (movement promotes movement), and chant an encouraging phrase like “go potty” or “do your business.”
5. Do this for a maximum of 3 minutes:
6. Try again in an hour. Eventually your dog will eliminate appropriately and you can praise, play and treat.
7. After each success allow 15 minutes of freedom in the house before placing back on lead, in small area, or back in his crate. Your puppy should not be allowed to roam free in the house until he is older and has learned some control.
8. After 3 consecutive days of success, you can increase freedom by 15 minutes.
9. If there is an accident decrease freedom by 15 minutes for 3 days.
10. You want to slowly build up the amount of time that your pet can “hold it.” All puppies are different but a good rule of thumb is you take the number of months old your puppy is and you add one. That is the number of hours that your puppy can “hold it.” So if your puppy is 4 months old he can “hold it” for 5 hours. So if you are not available every 5 hours to let him out, make sure he has an area large enough to sleep in and also an area large enough to fit some puppy pads. An exercise pen works well in this situation. It must be tall enough so he can not jump out. Most puppies will begin to sleep through the night or only wake you once fairly soon after housetraining begins
11. Adult dogs can “hold it” for the night and usually for 8-9 hours once they get on a schedule.
12. If you catch your dog in the act of eliminating in the house interrupt him and take him to his potty place. If he goes then praise, play and treat.
At some point your dog may start to display behaviors that you may not like. Some dogs are born more “pushy” than others. Some have learned that these behaviors get them attention. Whatever the reason may be, this exercise will help most dogs perform these behaviors less often.
Refusing to get off your bed/furniture
Demanding that you pet him by nudging and pawing at your hand, leg, or arm
Dropping toys at your feet when he decides it is time to play, then barking if you do not respond
Playing the keep away game when you call him
Changing some of your everyday interaction with your dog and making him “Work For It” will help these behaviors become less frequent. In addition, it will also help you get the upper hand and develop the necessary leadership skills to have a happy, healthy relationship with your dog.
“Work For It”
Many breeds of dogs were originally bred to have a job of some kind, from herding sheep to controlling rodent populations. So they are built to learn and work. When they are not given a job they will often create their own. So follow these steps and give them a job you would like them to do.
First, you must teach your dog some basic behaviors like “sit”, “down”, “stay” and “release”. I recommend using positive reinforcement methods to teach your dog. He will learn faster and will be less likely to develop fear toward you.
Additionally, you may teach your dog some fun tricks, like high five, sing, and spydog.
Now you can put these newly learned behaviors to use. Here is a list of things that you do with your dog on a daily basis. Now your dog must work to get some of his daily pleasers. Withhold what your dog wants until he performs the behavior that you ask for.
*Make sure that your dog fully understands his commands before you start using them in this exercise*
Dogs that are fearful and unsure will also benefit from this exercise. Knowing what is expected of them will give them confidence.
If your dog becomes aggressive at any time, you should seek help from a professional.