July 16, 2010
It seems mom and I have been receiving Dear Inquisitive Canine emails from distraught dog guardians needing help with their “escape artist” dogs. It appears these pooches aren’t clear on boundaries at home. These dogs allegedly prefer to jump the fence and visit with friends and neighbors than stay put in their yard.
Being an inquisitive canine I would want to ask these inquisitive dog guardians a few questions before they start blaming the dog to want to find his or her own entertainment:
- Have you taught your dog the behavior you want?
- How often do you reward your dog with food treats, praise, petting and playtime for performing the behaviors you want?
- What type of motivation is there to stay in the yard?
Mom has taken her certified dog trainer skills to our Dear Inquisitive Canine column providing home management and dog training tips – the complete post will be published the beginning of August on Noozhawk. As for yours truly, I’d like to add in a few of my own canine suggestions:
- Use the “bad” behavior to your own advantage: If your dog enjoys doing things that you’d normally consider “bad”, why not instead look at these behaviors as a way to reward? This way, you know you can motivate your dog and use the motivation to your own advantage. You’re just redirecting the activity to something safe.
- For instance, if your dog loves to jump the fence for the purpose of visiting neighbors, then first ask your dog to do something such as play “Coming when called” games at home with the family, then instead of rewarding with food, put your dog on leash and walk him or her to friends and neighbors for a little meet and greet or play-date with the other dogs. Or host a get together at your own home.
- Mental stimulation: Physical exercise is always great for energetic dogs that enjoy exercise. However, sometimes you end up with a better conditioned dog that finds more energy to do the things you don’t want. Many of us canines are similar to humans in that we need as much mental exercise as we do physical, along with social stimulation.
- Dog training classes similar to what my mom teaches here in Ventura. Even a manners class would give a dog something to do that takes critical thinking skills. Plus it’s physical and social stimulation as well. Beside “obedience” classes there are other options such as dog sports like the dog agility class I take here in Camarillo with our friend Miss. Margie and the Seaside Scramblers. There’s also Flyball, Canine Freestyle, Rally-O and so much more. Doing an online search will certainly bring up lots of choices.
- If you don’t have such resources close by or that don’t fit with your schedule, you might want to check out our Out of the Box Dog Training Game. Perfect for having fun with, and enhancing the bond you share with your dog while teaching the behaviors you want! Talk about a win-win.
Hmm, I wonder if the US Track and Field will ever consider having a dog team for hurdles…something for this inquisitive canine to ponder…