My puppy is bored. I know this because he steals things to get my attention. It has gone from an occasional thing to almost a constant thing. He gets at least a 1 hour walk/run per day and lots of love.
I do not ignore my dog, but I realize that he obviously needs more in order to be satisfied. What are some simple and practical, relatively inexpensive ways that I can entertain him in the house? Mind teasers? Intellectual stimulation?
(He is almost 8 months old, neutred, and knows basic obedience)
First, Marlan is gorgeous!
Second, I've had the best luck w/ breaking exercise into several times a day. And yes, I do realize that I have a very flexible schedule and most people don't. But here is how I typically break it out: an early morning round of retrieves, then in the afternoon we go on a long walk/swim/trip to the dog park, then a few hours after her dinner we go out for another good round of retrieving. In between she just sleeps!
In terms of indoor exercises, my daughter plays "hide 'n seek" w/ Sami all the time. It's a terrific exercise -- she practicies staying until my daughter calls her. My neighbor does the same thing w/ her dog's toys. They hide a toy and their dog will hunt it down. We also do retrieving or keep away in the house when the weather is bad.
I know what you mean! Puppy Labs need soooo much attention don't they? I cant give as much as I (and Merlin) would like, as I work full time a few days a week. So those 3-4 days he is left by himself for 8 hours. He has sooo many toys though, and some I only give him when I leave the house. Toys like kongs are good for a few hours, and I cut a little hole in empty 2L coke bottles and fill that with treats too.
You can also qget these giant balls that the lions in the zoos over here play with, and they are the size of a soccar ball, and extremely strong plastic. Merlin loves it becase he cant get his mouth around it, and it always rolls away from him when he chases it!
I dont know what the weather is like there, but it gets very hot here, so Merlin has a lil childs "clam shell", just a paddling pool. He luurves splashing around in that.
A game our dogs have enjoyed is "get the slipper, get the toy". We put them in a sit/stay and show them a slipper, show them a toy and then send them to get one or the other. When they get it right, big party!! It really excersizes their mind.
Retrieving and swimming are great things. Sign up for advanced obedience classes or agility. Try and find others with dogs and set up a weekly dog romp...the list is endless. I used to put duck scent on a stuffed duck and put Rider in a room and then hide it. He'd run from room to room looking for it and he'd finally find it. That was easy...We would also spend 15 minutes a night working on obedience stuff and one night a week we were doing an advanced class.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
Get involved earning AKC titles -- Rally is a great mental stimulation for an 8-m.o. pup who knows commands. You'll get the satisfaction of doing well in competition, and your dog will arrive home from shows absolutely exhausted and ready for a good snooze!
If you have a good friend or family member with a dog, I find this best. My sister has a 2 year old that my 5 month old pup can't get enough of. We alternate 2 days a week, leaving them at each others house.
He is totally content that day and exhausted the next. That pretty much leaves 2 days a week (two days after dog playdate and 1 day before it.) That i pretty much focus all my downtime on my dog. I've been doing it 3 weeks and less biting, less stealing things, less destructive behavior.
When we first got Popy she had "bored lab" syndrome which was very costly. She ate 2 pairs of school shoes, 3 handbag straps and countless other things. I found that when i leave her (which is only twice a week) for more than 2 hours that i need to leave her with something to chew on....a frozen kong, a digestable hide chew, or a sterilised bone.
They are all different and i am sure that with a little experimentation you will find what "pushes the buttons" with your puppy. Above all else, have patience, shouting at them after the event is meaningless to them....it is not their fault that they miss us!!
Thanks for the great suggestions and tips!
Last night I tried hide and seek with him, and also the game where I hide his toy and he has to find it. He really likes these.
I also placed an ad in my work's internal classifieds asking for a local weekly/biweekly playmate for him. Hopefully someone will respond, because I think this is a great idea!
Lastly, I am planning to join an obedience class with Mar. I have been thinking about agility training for a while now, but he needs to complete at least one obedience class before most places will let him start.
I am sure that with the combination of these things, he'll have lots to keep him busy. He is such a great dog!
One thing that happened with Amber was she broke two toes at 12 weeks of age so I had my mom look after her while I was at work. My mom taught her the names of multiple toys. (about 20) (yeah Amber is spoiled) and she talked to amber and explained stuff like Amber was a 4 or 5 year old kid. No baby talk just simple explanations.
Kelly and Amber