The Happiest Pup In The Park – Exercise Your Dogs Mind
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The Happiest Pup In the Park – Exercise Your Dogs Mind

Providing dogs with mental stimulation, as well as physical and social interactions are critical factors for maintaining their behavioral health. When animals are stressed or unhappy it has the same effect as it has on humans; your immune system can become vulnerable and you become susceptible to illness or disease during these times. This means that not only is mental enrichment a good behavioral health benefit but it improves health in general.

I have Chihuahua’s so it does not take much real estate to provide plenty of running room for these little guys. The same can be true for someone with 10 acres of land for a Great Dane to run on! Running, fetching, chasing exercises are beneficial cardio workouts, but the mind needs to be stimulated for animals as well. Dogs really are not much different than we are. Wouldn’t you go crazy if all you ever did was sit on the couch and watch TV? Most people would answer yes. You need to get out and see people, experience new and exciting challenges. It’s easy to understand a dog needs the same thing.

Dogs that lack mental stimulation can develop behavioral problems as a result of this imbalance. Exercising is undoubtedly needed, but you don’t need a physically fit athletic dog that is bored to tears and forced to find his own outlets for mental enrichment. It’s pretty much a given, the outlets he finds, will not be in line with behavior you find acceptable! It doesn’t take a lot of time each day or every few days to provide an array of activity for your dog to keep him balanced with physical and mental exercise.

If you have a dog that spends time each day barking at nothing or chewing on anything he can find to sink his teeth into, furniture included, he may be bored. Parks are a great alternative! There are new smells and activities at the park every single day. When visiting public parks a responsible pet owner will keep their dog on a leash. This provides protection to other people as well as your dog. Even if you have the friendliest dog in the world, it does not mean that you won’t run into that one person who has a real fear of ALL dogs. Be considerate of the things you are not aware of…play it safe and use a leash when visiting public areas.

Dog parks are a great alternative but they are not for every dog nor are they without risks. Aggressive or sick dogs should not be taken to dog parks. Unfortunately not all pet owners are responsible owners which means you may not always be aware of an aggressive dog or which ones may have a contagious aliment. Not all illnesses have visible symptoms therefore some owners may be unaware of their pet’s condition. Use caution when visiting dog parks until you become very familiar with the others who use the park. And always help reduce the risk of spreading illness and disease by picking up after your dog! Discourage your dog from exploring feces left by another animal.

I take my dogs to several different parks. I look for parks that are not heavily populated with people to reduce the anxiety that might develop from being around people who are not respectful of other people or their pets. I use a dog park but I use a great deal of caution and I never trust what someone tells me about their dog until their dog’s actions can validate the owner’s claims! If my dogs do not get to go to the park at least every few days they start to bug me to take them. And when we do go to the park, not only are their appetites good that night but they also sleep well!

The last thing you want to do is reprimand or punish your pet because you aren’t providing the mental stimulation he or she needs. The needs of each breed vary so research your breed and determine how to meet the needs of your breed. By providing your dog mental stimulation as well as physical exercise, you will be ensuring your pet has a long and happy life. I know I have some of the happiest pups in the park when I go! And when my dogs are happy…I am happy!


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