TIP #1: WORKOUTS FOR THE BRAIN
Work to eat. Biologically speaking, your dog is not supposed to have a bowl of kibble plunked down in front of him. He is a hunter by nature, meant to work for his keep. Mimic this by serving your dog’s food in a Kong or treat ball. Your dog will spend the first part of the day figuring out how to get at his food and the rest of it recovering from the mental effort. Perfect!
Toys galore. Toys are a great way to engage your dog’s brain. Dogs have distinctly individual toy preferences, depending on the day, time, and situation. Do some detective work and find out what truly tickles your dog.
The best toys have a purpose. They deliver food, present a challenge, squeak, or make themselves interesting in some other way. Some classics to consider: Rope toys, plush toys (with or without squeakers), Hide-A-Bee (Squirrel, Bird), tricky treat balls, soft rubber toys (vinyl), and hard rubber toys like Kongs and nyla bones.
Once you have a good selection, develop a toy strategy. Designate a popular toy for use only during alone time, like when you need to leave your dog in his crate, confinement area, or a spare room. Then, rotate the other toys daily to keep the novelty factor high.
TIP #2: PROPER WALKING ETIQUETTE
Have you ever felt dismayed over the shrinking access for our canine companions? I know that to a large degree we've brought it on ourselves by our collective carelessness about proper public and leash-walking etiquette.
Teaching your dog how to walk politely on a leash is more than just a convenience. When you can walk in public with your dog following your moves, he's more likely to stay out of trouble.
Teach your dog the difference between walking and heeling. Whether you're teaching "Heel," or the less formal "Let's walk," the correct position for the part of the leash that stretches from you to the dog is slack, hanging down in a valley. Be sure when your dog is with you that you keep the leash slack. If you keep it tight, he'll think tension in the leash is normal and correct.
Remember that your dog's leash is not a steering wheel or handle. It's a safety belt, intended to prevent your dog from leaving. It's not to be used to pull him around, nor should he drag you along behind him.
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI