Dog Training Tips from Taylor Wheeler of the Pink Paw Program
The popularity of working from home is still increasing. Whilst it may be extremely attractive to us, the effect it can have on our dog’s behaviour is not always so positive. In this article I’m going to give you some tips to manage these changes and find a good balance.
It can seem that working from home gives you a perfect opportunity to do more training with your dog - and it does. It's fantastic to be in a position to spend more time with them but being too available at home can also become an issue.
Taylor's Tip #1
Don’t make too many changes to the dog's daily routine. Keep everything as relaxed and similar to the dog’s normal routine as possible.
If you would normally walk twice a day, keep this pattern. Don’t fit in 3 or 4 walks a day if this is only temporary, as the future may change and so will the dog’s attitude if there is a significant drop in the attention.
A quick drop in a daily routine may result in nuisance behaviour such as barking, digging or fence jumping. Maintaining routine gives dogs a sense of security and confidence.
When home a lot, you may notice behaviour such as barking for your attention or scratching at the back door wanting to be let in during outside time. This may mean that some basic needs are not being met or perhaps they feel vulnerable when left alone. Let’s talk about some ways we can help them adjust and encourage more independent time.
Taylor's Tip #2
Keeping your dog happy and occupied is the best way to avoid or resolve issues arising. Providing toys that are really going to stimulate them, like puzzle toys, is fantastic. You can buy these online or from your local pet store (check out the cat section for some great toy ideas too!) Think outside the box and have a look at what's out there or create some DIY games at home.
Whenever purchasing or making toys and activities remember to always check if these toys are going to be safe and durable.
Other than puzzle toys you can create really cool activities such as a tug-of-war game with a toy tied to a pole in the backyard (only very shorty so they can’t become tangled), or a shell pool!
My dogs love their shell pool. I have one filled with sand and another filled with water. It's like a day at the beach and keeps them occupied and stimulated. I even put their toys in the sand pit to keep them interested. Having a sand pit is a great way to prevent digging in your garden. Giving dogs a safe space where they can practice natural dog behaviour such as digging a hole will keep your grass and plants safe.
Taylor's Tip #3
On warmer days, make them yummy ice blocks. Fill a big ice cream container with water and mix a small amount of chicken or veggie stock into it along with dog treats, sardines or fish pieces (whatever will entice them) and freeze it overnight. Then, place it on the grass in the shade of the backyard and watch them enjoy it for hours. Licking an ice block is a good way for an anxious dog to break the habit of pacing, barking and becoming worked up and stressed.
Another idea to keep our dogs entertained and occupied is to organise a treat hunt in the backyard. You can use your dog’s dinner biscuits or some healthy treats. Sprinkle these around the lawn (if your dog is a digger, I recommend sticking to concrete) and they will have the best time using their senses! It’s a great enrichment activity.
These tips and ideas will help you and your dog maintain a healthy relationship balance at home.
For more training tips or to learn more about Taylor Wheeler visit https://www.dogtraininglifestyle.com/