Does your dog have the winter blues?

February is one of the busiest times for dog trainers because this is when dogs having been cooped up from cold winter days are bouncing off the walls, jumping on countertops and chewing on hands among other things.  “But I walk him,” many owners will say.  But sometimes our estimation of the amount of exercise or frequency can get a little like my Weight Watcher’s log ins…a bit fudged.  Or the walk may consist of multi-tasking and not much interaction.  And with sometimes long days spent in the crate things can get a little ho-hum and the urge to be naughty to gain attention becomes so tempting. What is an owner to do?  Mental exercise can actually tire a dog more than physical exercise and can help to get destructive behavior under control by re-channeling and creating a canine Einstein.  There are many fun mental activities and games that the whole family can participate in.  Dog pulling on the leash?  How about setting up soccer cones inside or out and doing weaves, figure eights and circles.  You can add rugs for pause spots and place a broomstick across two chairs and voila’ instant indoor agility course! Want to train your dog to use his head and his nose.  Hide his treats and put him in a WAIT and then release with OKAy asking him to GO FIND. After assisting him the first one or two he will catch on very quickly. Or if you love music and dancing pick a favorite tune and choreograph a routine including spins and steeping forward and backward keeping your dog guessing as you sashay across the floor. Your dog will thank you with better behavior and you will feel better too!

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