Tick, tock, tick, tock. Its nearly time for you to head home from work and see your best friend, you left him happy and content this afternoon after your long walk at lunch time, you imagine he has had a nice snooze on his favourite bed in the cosy corner of the lounge.
As you walk through the front door you gasp and a horrible thought enters your head- ‘Has my house been broken into and ransacked by burglars?’ No… your dog has more energy than you thought and has been playing some games of his own!
If this sounds familiar, or your dog has been causing similar mischief such as digging up the flowerbeds, barking constantly for no reason or chewing on your shoes he may be trying to tell you that he is bored.
We quite often think that our dogs are just being naughty when in fact these bad behaviours are signs that he isn’t getting enough physical exercise and mental stimulation.
You can try and avoid these behaviours and any other future mishaps by reviewing the routine you have with your dog and making sure he has plenty of toys to keep him entertained.
Dogs are creatures of habit so structure is key, so all of these activities form your dog's day and he likes them in a regular pattern that he can rely on:
Stimulate your dog’s mind too, mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Having your dog work for their food is a great mental workout and very satisfying for them, you could use a toy that can be filled with a tasty spread or play hide and seek with his favourite snacks and treats.
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Don’t forget to build in some bonding time to your routine, it will work wonders for both of you, whether it be a nice belly rub every evening or playtime before breakfast, having those precious moments together is what having a dog is all about.
Quality is important when it comes to toys, you need to make sure that anything you give your dog to play with is safe and will not cause him any harm.
Make sure little bits on plush toys like eyes and noses are stitched on rather than glued and anything that fits into your dog’s mouth is not a choking hazard, especially if you have different sized dogs in your home, the last thing you want is for your Labrador to have an accident with a toy he has stolen from his smaller best pal.
Splinters can really cause a dog some damage, things like real bones, antlers and sticks can all splinter and are so dangerous. You can opt for a safer toy alternative, such as a Nylabone Animal Alternative Antler.
Toys can entertain a dog for hours, and there are lots of games that you can create using your dog’s favourite toys such as hide and seek, a quick internet search for ‘games with my dog’ will bring up lots of ideas for you to explore.
One thing to remember when it comes to toys is to mix it up a bit, and don’t let your dog have all of his toys at once, always keep some stashed away for a rainy day.