February 26, 2020

The dog whisperer part three: Is your dog misbehaving whilst your at work?

Learn all about dog education and dog behaviour.

Subject Matter Expert
Brydie Charlesworth; Director DOG EDUCATION CENTRE

Do you have a naughty dog?  Excessive barking or making a destructive mess?

It can be heartbreaking coming home to find your furniture pulled to bits, strewn over the deck or the cushions chewed with foam and fluff blowing in the wind.  The other uncomfortable behaviour is excessive barking; and when dogs are barking and your not home it can cause stress between you and your neighbours.

There are a couple of ways to address these behaviours yourself before looking for professional assistance.
You want to look at the emotions behind the dog’s behaviour.  Often the dog is bored, has excess energy or is acting out to ease internal frustrations.
Ask yourself.
Has my dog had adequate exercise?
Does my dog have environmental enrichment?
Have I trained my dog today (remember last week we discussed the need to challenge your dog’s brain)
When was the last time I spent quality time with my dog?
What does my dogs diet look like? A dog needs a healthy and clean diet. Poor food affects behaviour.  It is like living on fast food, you can survive but you won’t thrive.

When your dog is barking or destroying things during the day whilst you’re at work try the following.

Get up ½ hr earlier than normal and take your best mate for a quick walk.  This will give your dog a morning release whilst building a routine trust that the dog understands your thinking of him.  It’s a pretty good way for you to start your day as well.

Feed your dog his morning breakfast from a dispensing toy.  That doesn’t mean feeding your dog then placing treats in the toy.  The idea is to make your dog use his brain to retrieve his food.  This can keep your dog occupied;  his mind off destroying your furniture whilst keeping his brain exercised which is just as important as keeping his body exercised.

When you get home from work, do a five-minute training session, teaching your dog something new or practicing a previous lesson.  Youtube has a library of tricks and training tutorials you can lean on for ideas.  Ensure you keep your training short, sharp and fun.  Your dog will respond in a happy way and look forward to these sessions.  By doing your training sessions your spending quality time with your pet as well as training your dog in behaviours that suit your lifestyle.

A few of my favourite tricks for environmental enrichment are:
King classic filled with meat.
Kong wobbler filled with dry food.
Scatter feeding around your backyard.
The great doggy ice block. (Fill an ice cream container with water, add some treats for flavour and put into the freezer.  On a hot day, place it under the shade and your dog will love the boredom buster whist getting extra fluid.

When you’ve exercised, trained and spent time with your dog, and please give your new routine a sufficient timeframe for success, 8 – 10 weeks as an example you should begin to see noticeable changes in your dogs behaviour. If the behaviour has not improved installing a few motion cameras that can send snippets of footage to your phone allows you to monitor what your pet is doing when left alone. These cameras are not expensive and easy to install. It maybe a case of your dog suffering from separation related behaviours, which is not an unusual diagnosis.  Intervention by a professional is required and qualified dog trainers have a high level of expertise in this space.  Investing in professional help is often a last resort however it can be the missing link between you and your dog having a life long peaceful relationship.

Have a great week, enjoy your dog and thank you for loving your dog as much I do.

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The dog whisperer part three: Is your dog misbehaving whilst your at work? - Balanced Life