A lot of people would say a good dog is “obedient,” or “friendly,” or maybe “quiet.” Come to think of it, good dogs have a long list of don’ts: They don’t chew the furniture, they don’t steal your shoes, they don’t pull on leash, they don’t dump the garbage can while you’re out and have a party on the kitchen floor.
But a dog has to keep busy somehow. So what do good dogs do while they’re busy not doing all the things we don’t want them to do?
- Get a romp off leash or a long walk or a game with you every morning.
- Eat their meals out of food-dispensing toys.
- Get regular reward-based training to teach them good manners and fun tricks.
- Have predictable, consistent rules to live by.
You get the idea: Good dogs need our help to be good.
Give your dog plenty of exercise to burn off steam early in the day, and you make it likelier that she’ll rest and relax while you’re gone instead of looking for things to do because she’s bored and climbing out of her skin.
Use food-dispensing chew toys and push toys for her meals, and not only will you burn off more energy, you’ll also keep her from chewing your table legs, shoes, and remotes.
Teach her manners with reward-based training, and not only will she have good manners, she’ll also learn that you’re fun to pay attention to.
And keep her world predictable and consistent, because humans aren’t the only ones who feel more secure when we know how to get along with our family.