For dogs, a huge part of remaining physically and mentally sound involves exercise and lots of it. When the weather goes wild, so can an understimulated, bored, pent up dog! Inclement weather often causes major issues with getting enough activity to keep a Service Dog focused, relaxed, and happy. Learn about indoor energy burners and some easy alternatives anyone can use! Service Dog trainers and handlers everywhere know that top performance from a canine partner requires careful balancing of work, play, and learning. Any deficits in a dog's care can cause an avalanche of issues with a dog's training or work, especially if the lapse involves nutrition, rest, or exercise. Exercise in particular, experts say, has the biggest ripple effect on a dog's behavior. "A tired dog is a happy dog," canine behaviorists often joke. However, a lack of activity is no laughing matter, as it can disrupt even the most well-trained dog's ability to focus and function. Unfortunately for dog lovers everywhere, though, Mother Nature doesn't care about your Service Dog's exercise needs. Endless rain, gray skies, and chilly temperatures often make going outside to exercise your Service Dog a real challenge. When inclement weather continues for days or even weeks on end, it can get increasingly more difficult to meet your Service Dog's need for a solid workout. Fortunately, though, there are tons of easy ways to exercise a dog indoors, some of which you may not have considered! Use Your Dog's Natural Play Style to Exercise Indoors To discover ideas that might work for you and your dog, begin by examining your dog's play style. Different breeds tend towards distinct categories of play, but every dog remains an individual. As an example, lots of herding dogs play chase games. Many bully breed dogs, however, prefer body slamming and full contact wrestling. What types of games and activities does your partner enjoy? Many play styles readily adapt to indoor activities. Pups who enjoy tugging, contact and wrestling games, or softer / solo play types entertain easily indoors. Think creatively and use items lying around the house. Maybe dining room chairs magically morph part of a maze or a blanket becomes a hideout for a chase game. Full Body Motions Burn Lots of Energy (and Yeah, a Bit of Equipment Helps) For dogs with more active play styles or those with higher energy, working on jumps, send outs, or highly physical tricks offer plenty of opportunities to burn
During Week 3, your focus was on learning about the theory behind distraction proofing and changing canine behavior. Now that you've studied the concepts, it's time to put them to work in the week 4 Service Dog Challenge: "Focus, Fido!"