Some days… being a teenage dog parent can feel like you bit off more than you can chew. They’ve grown out of their puppy phase, and you thought you were ‘out of the woods’ but boy do they seem to have endless energy! They always seem to be getting into things you don’t want them to. And they can seem like they’re purposefully being stubborn! But really, there’s no such thing as a bad dog. Our dogs aren’t trying to bother us nor are they actually being ‘stubborn’. They’re just trying to understand us and the world around them. But knowing that doesn’t make things easier.
If you feel like you’re dealing with a dog shaped tornado, you can weather the storm. Today, we’re bringing you some easy DIY enrichment ideas for your teenage dog. Have an older dog? These are great for dogs of all ages… especially high-energy dogs who just keep going and going. Keep reading to learn how to calm your adolescent dog… and save your sanity.
You take your teenage dog on multiple walks per day, and that’s great! You and your dog are getting healthy activity. But the truth is… walking and physical exercise doesn’t always burn off all of their energy. In fact, some dogs can walk for miles a day and just build up the endurance to walk further!
Your teenage dog needs to engage their body and their brain. Most dogs were bred to perform some kind of task. Even though, in today’s world, they have taken on the role of companions, they still have the instinctual drive to fulfill the roles they were bred for. This is why Huskies are notorious for jumping fences and running off, Terriers dig and it doesn’t matter if it’s in your yard or your couch, and Retrievers will attempt to redecorate your house and remove your baseboards.
If your teenager is dragging your underwear into the living room, or chewing on the baseboards, it’s not because they’re bad or trying to make you angry. They’re just following their instincts. Unfortunately, their instincts don’t always result in behavior we find desirable. This is where enrichment comes in. These are activities that engage your dog’s brain and soothe those instincts so your dog feels relaxed and fulfilled.
Training and a schedule are two of the most important parts of providing enrichment. These things help communicate your boundaries and help your dog learn your expectations. A schedule helps your dog feel more secure in their daily life since they know what to expect throughout the day. Our free Enrichment Ebook has helpful tips and a sample schedule to help you get started.
If you have an especially active (or what you may see as ‘hyper’) dog, then relaxation training is a must. Relaxation training is beneficial to every dog, but if your dog has an especially difficult time settling and ignoring distractions, then this training should be started as soon as you feel they will be responsive to it. Relaxation training helps break hyperactivity, and hyperfixation, and helps your dog learn how to control their impulses.
Enrichment doesn’t have to be all about setting schedules and learning tricks. There are lots of fun enrichment activities that you can introduce to your dog. The majority of these activities can be done with items you already have around the house.
Have a favorite enrichment activity for your teenage or adolescent dog? Let us know in the comments!
Underdogs Long Beach uses force-free dog training methods to build relationships between dogs and owners.
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