A blog about dog training and dog breeding…and other sundry matters

Posts tagged ‘exercise’

Keeping an active German Shepherd Entertained

Cody and Athena in advanced obedience classes.

German Shepherds are working dogs.  They are active, highly intelligent, fiercely loyal, and enjoy hanging out with their humans.  It is for that reason that they do not do well in kennels away from humans.  They were bred to work closely with humans as herding dogs

Because these dogs are active, they need to live in a household where their minds and bodies will be kept active.  They need exercise such as walking, swimming, jogging (check with your vet before jogging with your dog).  Training will do wonders for keeping your dog mentally active.  Now, you don’t need to train your dog to do Search and Rescue, or to do police work.  Teaching a few simple tricks will suffice.  It will give the dog something to do, allow you to bond with your dog during the training process, and entertain your guests.

An active German Shepherd dog is a happy one.

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A Tired Dog is a Well-Behaved Dog–Tips for Solving Behavioral Issues

Some years ago, when I was new to owning dogs and just starting out as a trainer, I read some very sage advice from a book authored by a well-known trainer.  It said that exercise was perhaps one of the most important things that could help a dog with behavioral issues.

Yesterday Gretchen turned over her aluminum water bucket, flooded out the living room in the process, and proceeded to chew the bucket.   Dogs don’t like metal of any kind in their mouths, and that’s why it’s so hard to teach a dog to retrieve with a metal object.  The fact that Gretchen was chewing her bucket, told me that something was wrong.

Then this morning she barked non-stop while in her crate for no reason, and when I let her out, she ran around the house, jumped on people, crashed into furniture and knocked over the other dogs.  It was as if the neurons in the dog’s brain were firing randomly and in quick succession.

“That dog is possessed!”  Someone commented to me in a tone of disgust.

No, Gretchen wasn’t possessed, nor was she a bad dog.  She was bored, plain and simple.

I took her out for a one-hour walk this evening, and from she enthusiastically jumped out of the car, I could tell that she was so happy to be out of the house.  She sniffed around, then was happy to walk close to me, not exactly loose-leash walking, but not exactly pulling, either.  I didn’t mind; I just wanted this dog to get exercise and have fun in the process.

I brought along a bag of treats and a clicker just in case I decided to do a bit of training with her.  In the past she has not functioned very well in public because she gets so overwhelmed with stimuli.  Tonight she kept checking in with me, and interacting with me, springing into the air with glee when I praised her.  I figured that I’d be able to do training.

Gretchen gobbled up a tasty bit of treat which I offered, so I asked for a sit.  She complied.  We walked a bit, and a man came walking in our direction.  Gretchen reacts to people and other animals, but I kept walking briskly with her, and switched directions with her so that she wouldn’t be walking head on towards the man.  She didn’t even bark.

We ran for a bit, then we walked, then we did a series of sits and downs, but no stays.  We did a bit of heeling.  The little dog just exuded sheer joy.

Many times boredom in dogs manifests itself as digging in the garden, chewing furniture/shoes, dragging clothes off the line, or excessive barking (for no apparent reason).  The dog is not a bad dog.  It needs behavior modification, but it also needs exercise.  Sometimes just exercising the dog until it’s really tired and often will work wonders for the animal.

Now we’re home, and Gretchen’s  zonked out in her crate.

A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, indeed.

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