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Tuesday Training Byte: Boredom breaking activities

Dogs live for their human companions. If you are gone to work and come home to chaos created by your dog, chances are he is bored. Some breeds tend to be more of a couch potato. If you are more laid back and like to hang out in the house, this kind of dog will work for you. Many people work full time though, so it is helpful to consider your lifestyle when deciding on what breed of dog to get. Many of the herding breeds need a regular job to do. If you leave them alone while you go to work, they will find their own activities- such as de-fluffing your sofa. I have a Collie. He is good in his crate, but if I have to go somewhere and leave him crated for a couple of hours or so, I put a lick mat with peanut butter smeared on it in the crate and a filled marrow femur bone. Licking and chewing helps relieve boredom. In the yard I have a large tire toy with rope and a dog jolly ball. I showed my dog he could drop the jolly ball into the center of the tire then get it out again. I mix up that game where he will retrieve it, and then I put it in the tire. He has learned to play this by himself. Consider putting in a sand box and a few toys so your pup has an acceptable place to dig, and perhaps a kiddie plastic wading pool. Food puzzles and interactive toys help break the boredom. With little to no cost, I repurpose the large, heavy duty cat litter jugs. I braid a rope onto the handle and place dog biscuits inside. The dogs have a hay day entertaining themselves. If you come home too tired to run and play with your dog, there are ways to play without wearing yourself out. For dogs with a prey drive, you might try this: get a horse lunge whip and tie a plastic grocery sack to the end. You can swing and dangle it to get the dog to chase. I also buy a couple of pool noodles and play with my dog. They like strutting around carrying one. For those times when you can't take your dog hiking or swimming, etc. be sure to get creative so your dog can entertain himself.

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