Pawsabiliity Dog Behaviour and Training
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Why and how to use motivational dog toys......

food ball dog toysMotivational dog toys can often be a most important part of helping to resolve many dog behaviour (or cat behaviour) problems. Dogs need mental stimulation. If they're bored, they'll most likely try to find some way to keep themselves occupied - they're trying to create work for themselves. The problem is that a dogs definition of a good day's work, is frequently not something which we'd like them to do. So what are the preferred choices for dog (or puppy's) employment?

This could be anything from

  • chasing the kids
  • barking at the window
  • biting you
  • barking at you
  • demanding your attention
  • jumping at the wall
  • chasing their tail
  • chasing shadows
  • barking at visitors
  • taking you for a walk
  • chewing the furniture ............. the list is endless.

It's important to remember that there can be many different motivations for odd or unwanted dog behaviours, and the best approach to deal with any strange canine behaviour problem is to meet up with a qualified dog behaviour therapist near your home and work on the issues from a holistic perspective - there is no doubt that approaching your dog's problems from several angles at the same time will be far more effective than trying one thing at at time. Your dog behaviour therapist will therefore devise a behaviour modifcation program which you can all work through together, and really get to the bottom why your dog has decided to behave that way.

What else can we do? One aspect to help with your dogs problems would be to provide them with motivational dog toys. Some of the most effective ones are Kongs, Canac Food Balls, or Molecule balls, or even tasty chocolate chews. Kongs can be stuffed with tasty food treats, and the food balls can be used simply to help your dogs meal stretch over a longer period of time or to give them an extra highlight during the day - perhaps giving them a bit of lunch. Kongs come in a range of shapes and sizes, suitable for different types or dogs - if your dog is a strong chewer, then make sure you get a black kong. There are also many dog food balls on offer - but again, do take care that you're getting something strong enough for your dog's chew strength. Canac food balls are made from really tough plastic. Molecule balls are softer, but can offer a more interesting distribution of the food.

How to introduce the toys - your dog may well not know how to play with food toys. So, to start with, make it quite easy to get the food - use smaller pieces in the canac food ball, and don't make the kongs too packed. (If you make it too hard, they may well simply give up). Then show your dog the toy, and help then to roll it about in the floor - they should soon pick up on the idea.

A word of caution - if your dog is possessive or aggressive in any way, then take great care with the idea of introducing these toys. Again, the best approach is to contact a behaviour therapist who can help you use these motivational dog toys more appropriately as part of the behaviour modification program.

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