Dogs can be just like a cheeky little kid - given the chance,
they'll run a riot. That's why from an early age you need to
establish clear communication with your dog to shape your dog's
behaviour. They're sociable creatures so need a lot of attention as
well as clear guidelines.
Playing games with your dog will help develop
a better understanding and establish clearer communication between
you both. Whether it's a simple 'throw and fetch' scenario or
something more complex for well-trained dogs like hiding treats and
finding them, a game requires both dog and owner to work together
as a team.
Dogs are sociable creatures and playing will
improve their social skills. Through games, dogs learn to obey
instructions (in a fun, relaxed way). Learning to obey is important
to mould a dog's behaviour because it helps in other areas of
dog training such as walking and learning to sit and stay. Whether
at the park, in your backyard or inside the house you can tailor
games to suit your surroundings.
Naming your puppy is fun and if you have a
family it's a great way to get everyone involved in your new
arrival. It's also important in kick-starting training and
establishing a relationship with your new companion.
When selecting a name, try for something
simple and avoid names that sound like commands as these will
confuse your puppy. For example, ´Joe´ sounds like ´no´.
Don't pick something you will be embarrassed
to use in public places - a name needs to suit both you and your
pet. Once you have settled on a name, use it often and you'll have
your puppy responding in no time.
It's no secret that a bored dog can be a
destructive dog. So in the interests of you (and your plants) it's
best to keep your dog entertained, both while you are out and while
you are at home. Try alternating toys, walking in different areas
and at different times, hiding treats in your yard so your dog has
to work to sniff them out, and taking your dog on a day out.
Training is also great for stimulating dogs and can be done in
short bursts to keep it interesting.
As your dog ages, you can make its mature
years more comfortable by minimising change and the stress it can
Try to avoid altering your dog's routine by
keeping feeding and exercise times consistent. Also try not to move
household items such as furniture and feeding bowls - your dog will
be accustomed to where they are and may be confused if they are
If you do need to make changes, give your dog
extra attention and positive reinforcement to help it cope with the
alterations. If your dog becomes anxious, try to identify changes
you have made that may have caused the stress.
Most working or sporting dogs are very active
compared with the typical pet dog. A hard working dog can easily
cover 40 or 50 kilometres in a normal working day, and over 250
kilometres every week.
A dog which is "on the go" most of the time
needs 2 to 4 times more energy in its diet than a typical pet of
the same breed. The age of the dog, the thickness of its coat, the
type of work it does and the weather conditions also affect the
energy needed by an active dog to keep up its performance and stay
in good shape.