By: Melissa Kolmar, CPDT-KA, SBA
There are so many ways we can improve our dogs’ lives! Here are my top 8. Do you do any or all of these?
1. Physical Enrichment.
Take your dog on an extra-long walk (if it is safe to do so), run or jog with them, or take several short walks throughout the day to new areas. If you can find a safe place for them to run off-leash (like an empty dog park), that’s even better!
2. Mental Enrichment.
Give your dog more mental exercise with mind-engaging activities such as food puzzles, snuffle mats, find it games, new toys, sniff adventures, visits to new places, and learning new skills and tricks.
3. Use hand signals.
Most dogs learn nonverbal signals faster than verbal ones. When training, communicate more clearly by using hand signals. Also, never use force, corrections or intimidation to train your dog. This type of training can lead to severe fall-out and can deteriorate your bond with your dog.
4. Massage Your Dog.
Most dogs, like most people, love a good massage! It not only promotes relaxation, healing and bonding, but it can also teach them that handling is a good thing!
5. Sniff Adventures.
Scent takes up a third of your dog’s brain so give them time to explore the world’s odors. Let them linger over a really good smell and don’t hurry them along. Also, enroll them in Nose Work class!
6. Quality Food.
There’s a lot of debate about canine nutrition right now. Generally though, whole proteins as the first ingredient (chicken vs. chicken meal, by-product, etc.) is important, as well as healthy and fresh foods that are safe for dogs to eat. Carefully consider what you feed your dog, do some research and ask your veterinarian for help in making good choices.
7. Play Time.
Make play dates for your dog with other well-socialized pups if your dog is a social pup. Add more play to your own interactions with your dog!