Monday, May 28, 2012

Canine Unemployment Rate Keeps Rising

Is your dog unemployed or underemployed?  If you find yourself complaining about your dogs destructive behavior,  weight gain, obnoxious manners,  then the answer to the question is probably YES! 

Just like humans, dogs need jobs too.  Of course their jobs are very different from our jobs, but they need them just the same. With busy work and family schedules, many dogs are finding themselves with too much free time and not enough activity.   What's a dog to do?  They are totally dependent on their human parents to meet their needs.  If those needs aren't met, most dogs will take it upon themselves to find ways of occupying their time and WE typically don't like their choices. 

Dogs,  just like humans need physical exercise, it keeps their bodies healthy, reduces stress and anxiety and we all know that a content dog is less likely to get into mischief.   There are countless ways to meet their exercise needs, walking, playtime, swimming, dog sports, chasing tennis balls, making Therapy Dog visits,  the list is endless.  It does of course require human participation.   You should base their exercise on age and breed.  Not all dogs require or want to take a 5 mile hike everyday, some are happy with a 15 minute stroll around the neighborhood.  A young puppy should have multiple short walks that don't involve forced exercise as their developing joints can't handle the stress.  The same is true for senior dogs, they need exercise based on age and their level of physical conditioning.  Let's not forget our dogs who are battling the bulge, they REALLY need exercise but it needs to be done gradually so that they can shed pounds and not be at risk for injury.   If you're not able to meet their exercise needs,  then hire a Dog Walker, utilize a Doggie Day Care, form a Playgroup of your own.   There are many options to help get your dog the exercise they need. 

Lets not forget how important Mental Exercise is for our four legged friends. Yes, dogs like to use their brains.  One of the best ways to meet this need is through training.  It's reasonable to assume that we all have 5 minutes a day to teach our dog a new skill or just practice skills they already know.   Enroll in a group class, teach your dog tricks, try a competitive sport like K9 Nose Works or Agility.  Dogs don't read, watch TV or play video games, they use their noses, try food dispensing toys at mealtime or just for fun.  A food dispensing toy requires 'thinking' on the part of the dog and makes getting treats more interesting. 

The best part of getting your dog off the unemployment line and back to work is that you get to spend more time with them having fun!!