We are pleased to present our new series of TRAINING TIPS provided by our training partners Crawford Canine Connection. Mary and Kimberlee have done wonderful work with our very own Troy and BT using their positive reinforcement training techniques. Thank you Crawford Canine Connection for your support! Please check them out at www.crawfordcanineconnection.com
Meeting the Basics
Is your dog bored? Ask any dog guardian and they will be sure to tell you the food, the toys, the exercise and the love they provide their dog. But ask the dog if their needs are being met and the answer may surprise and disappoint you.
As trainers at Crawford Canine Connection who work with dogs with behavioral problems, the one critical element many dog guardians haven’t considered is mental enrichment. No matter how far removed our companion dogs are from their ancestors, there are common genetics that will not go away. Dogs are predators and scavengers. They enjoy and are instinctually built to search for their meals. The science behind this phenomenon is called contrafreeloading and it has been demonstrated that when offered a choice between food provided or food that requires effort, the animal prefers the food that requires effort.
Mental challenges not only make the most mundane activity exciting but also greatly enhances the lives of our companion dogs by giving them a job and an outlet for their energy. Mental exhaustion can be as rewarding for our dogs as physical exhaustion and maybe more so as they gain self-confidence each time they are successful. As winter approaches and days are shorter, bump up the mental exercises with games of hide and seek or teach a new trick. *While commercial dog puzzles are available, even feeding your dog its kibble in an egg carton or in an empty plastic water bottle that they have to figure out how to get the kibble out satisfies these basic instincts and makes eating a fun event that lasts longer than 30 seconds.
*With all food puzzles and especially home-made puzzles, animals should be supervised during use.