After you’ve spent money to train your protection dog, you will see that your dog likes to keep busy. They have spent hours being highly stimulated by their trainer. When the sessions are over and your dog returns home, it might need you to provide physical and mental stimulation, too.
Consider how humans often need continuing education to expand their worlds. Dogs that have protection training need to be mentally stimulated, too. They can get bored easily, and by providing stimulation, you keep them on their toes, ready for action.
If you do not stimulate your trained protection dog, bad behaviors can arise. Of course, dogs need routines, but it can get boring doing the same thing every day. Dogs can develop mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. When you do not stimulate your dog, they can pick up bad behaviors, like
- Destroying and chewing on things
- Constant digging
- Whining and barking
- Excessive sleeping
When you begin to stimulate your protection dog, be sure to stimulate all of their senses. Some breeds will need more than others, as some dogs need to have more time with people. When you stimulate your dog, you help exercise your dog’s brain to reduce stress and aggressive behaviors. You will also strengthen your bond with your dog. These are a few things you can do to stimulate your family protection dog:
Social Interaction with Other Dogs
People need to interact with other people, and dogs need time with other dogs. People cannot provide the same stimulation that dogs can with other dogs. If you have friends with dogs, it is important to give the two of your dogs time together in a safe place. If you have a dog park nearby, give your dog a chance to play with other dogs. Rather than leave their dogs home alone all day, some people put their dogs in doggie daycare for social interaction.
Keep your eyes on your dog for any signs of aggression so you can intervene when necessary. Start bringing your dog around other dogs as soon as possible so your dog learns to socialize.
Practice Training Activities
Before you bring your dog home from the trainer, ask what training activities you can work on at home. Then, practice them. You can also work on other traditional dog training activities like sitting, begging, catching balls or discs, or other obedience skills. If your dog loves to swim, then take your dog swimming and teach it how to dive off a dock. You can even train your dog to do help with cleaning their toys around the house. Just like children, dogs enjoy learning new things.
Every time you take your dog to a new place, you can practice training activities. For example, if you take your dog camping or hiking, you can train them on how to behave in a tent or out in the woods. If you live where dogs are allowed in public places, you can work on training activities like sitting at the table or putting items in a cart.
Play Games Together
Dogs enjoy playing games, and they appreciate it when you play with them. Some dogs love playing catch or fetch. Others enjoy looking for treasures. First, you show them the items, then hide it and let your dog look for it. Others enjoy tug-o-war, but occasionally you have to let your dog win.
When you play games with your dog, be sure to reward your dog for good behavior. During game time, let your dog have fun, but remind your dog when to sit or stay.
Stimulate Your Dog’s Senses
Like humans, dogs rely heavily on their senses. But, their senses are different than ours. For example, dogs use their noses with more importance than humans do. To stimulate your dog’s nose, give your dog different things to smell, like herbs that stimulate or relax them. Let them smell flowers and different types of food.
Dogs also like to listen to music. If the weather is bad, you can stay inside and take the time to share different types of music with your dog. Try different beats, classical music, jazz, and relaxing sounds, too. Try listening to individual instruments to see how those affect your dog’s behavior.
Dogs also like to be visually stimulated. There are videos all over social media of dogs watching TV and engaging with the images on the screen. Try watching videos of other animals, especially dogs, and see how those stimulate your beloved pet.
Find Interactive Toys
Dogs need toys, and some provide more stimulation than others. Of course, distractive toys like squeaky toys or stuffed animals provide comfort for some dogs. But, the ones you want for your protection dogs are the ones that provide mental stimulation, like puzzles or Babble Balls. For additional stimulation, work on helping your dog identify the toy by a name, but keep the names simple.