Liiillliiii !!!! Yes, where is the little girl again? “- Mum looks up from her book, master puts the newspaper aside and together they look for the garden from the bitch, which was just so happy in the grass. “Here I am!” Lilli seems to shout and stands on the other side, waving his tail, before she goes for a sprint through the strange garden. “It’s all so exciting !!!” It’s not the first time that Lilli has slipped through a gap in the fence into the neighboring garden. “Does not she have anything to do with us?” Lilli’s owners ask the dog trainer desperately when she comes next time. “Why does she want to leave us?” “It has nothing to do with attachment, Lilli undoubtedly loves you,” the trainer calms down. “But she is just dull if she has no employment in the garden. Then she’s looking for her own adventure. ”
What our housemates need
Do you really have to treat your beloved four-legged friend around the clock so that he does not come up with stupid thoughts? Even dog owners finally have a job, household, children, friends and every now and then a right to a bit of laze. Are regular walks, romping with fellows and cuddling with mistress and master not enough? In principle, a great base program. However, our wise darlings also want to be mentally challenged. Therefore, the optimal activities, which use a four-legged friends mentally and physically, together:
But do not worry! “The four-legged friends do not need everything at the same time!”, Explains Mag. Gudrun Braun, senior trainer at the Vienna Animal Protection House. At any rate, there must be an extensive walk every day and the opportunity to meet other dogs. In addition, variable mental activities such as training, sniffing or intelligence games should be incorporated. “How often and how long dogs have to be occupied, is individually different”, so the trainer. Some need ten minutes of mental work, others need several short work sessions throughout the day. “Dogs living in an unfriendly environment need more opportunities to use all their senses than dogs whose household is busy anyway and who accompany their owners everywhere. “Because a dog who is underutilized and has no adventures in his head, seeks out these experiences on his own – he goes hunting, visits the neighbor’s garden or even develops behavioral disorders out of frustration,” confirms veterinarian and behavioral trainer Dr. med. Nora Marx-Dawid. “Nose work is very important for the mental stimulation of the four-legged friends”.
Schnüffelgarten for bored “runaways”
While we perceive humans primarily a foreign environment with the eyes, in dogs add to the visual stimuli even the innumerable olfactory impressions, with which they perceive the world. Therefore, sniffing for our pets is mental work and enormously important. For example, we should give them time to walk around a new environment. Mag. Gudrun Braun advises to combine walks with search games and to hide treats or toys in the grass, leaves, shrubs etc.
If you have your own garden, you can create an exciting snooping zone for the bored roommate. “This part of the garden should not be so well maintained. A pile of leaves, a hill Bark mulch, a mountain of uncleaned branches, in which the dog may dig for hidden delicacies extensively, provide the conditions for all sorts of fun and mental activity. Very good for such a sniff garden are also very smelling plants and herbs such as lavender and rosemary, “says Mag. Braun. It comes through both different substrates as well as by strongly smelling plants to interactions with the odor molecules of treats, which is particularly exciting. Bet that dogs like Lilli in such a snooping garden do not even think about visiting the neighbors?
Creative game ideas for the home
But even dogs who do not have a garden can be sufficiently mentally challenged with creative play ideas and have a lot of fun. Mag. Braun has developed a lot of games out of her occupation with her pet dogs, where frustration and stress are reduced by the stimulation of all senses.
Here is a small selection for imitation:
Destruction Box: For dogs who like to bite their blankets or baskets, a Destruction Box is the ideal toy: Fill a cardboard box with crumpled newspaper with treats or treats hidden in them. Your darling may now destroy to his heart’s content, get rid of any frustration and at the same time use his nose with the treat. Blankets and baskets will remain untouched in the future.
For grass eater: Your dog loves green stuff, say: grass? Then this is the ideal game for him: lick a whole head of salad with treats like Frolic rings. Your darling may pick the salad to get the rewards or eat it up. Is very healthy and fun!
Melon “dessert”: Take a whole unpeeled melon and make holes in it with an apple casing cookie cutter. These holes fill with liver pate or treats. Every four-legged friend will find this fruit “dessert” delicious.
Ice Age: On hot summer days we can hardly resist a bag of ice cream. Why should your dog be denied this pleasure? Freeze a kong and then fill the ice-cold toy with food, liverwurst or treats. This stimulates the taste buds of the animal once in a different way.
If you can invest more time, you might enjoy learning to play one of the many dog sports with your four-legged roommate. Below is a small selection:
Agility: The dog has to negotiate a course of various obstacles as fast and error-free as possible, while the owner runs beside the obstacles and motivates and guides him. Prerequisite: Fitness and good basic obedience.
Hooper’s Agility: Moderate Agility shape, which is also suitable for older dogs and not so brisk owners. The dog is led by a distance over a call and body language through a course. The owner is not running.
Obedience: obedience training, where you have to perform various exercises (from “place” to “retrieve”) quickly and accurately. Prerequisite: Good basic obedience.
Dogdancing: Joint free exercises and tricks to music. Ideal for docile, obedient dogs.
Flyball: The dog has to press a ball-throwing machine with his paw or nose and then retrieve the ball. Prerequisite: concentration, intelligence, retrenchment.
Tracking and sniffing courses: intensive nose work. The search for missing objects and people is trained.
Tricks: On your own or in courses (instructions on the Internet) you can teach the four-legged friends many tricks: from “paw” on “dead spots” to “open drawers”. It trains the brain and makes it fun for the dogs.
Do not forget to take a break!
All of these ideas help to make your dog a busy and happy animal, with whom it can live much more pleasantly than with an under-challenged and bored four-legged friend, who is looking for his own adventure. But everything with measure and goal! Excessive demands are just as bad as underfunding. Dr. Nora Marx-Dawid: “If a dog is constantly overwhelmed, stress is the result. And we know that prolonged stress weakens the immune system and damages one’s health. ” Both the vet and Mag. Braun advise, therefore, to treat the dog absolutely to take his breaks – with gentle massages, cuddling together and in between short gas rounds without much distraction. Not to forget: An adult dog needs 16 to 18 hours of sleep every day!