At the Behavior Service, we believe that "a tired dog is a happy dog." Ideally, a young healthy dog should have a minimum of 20-30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise. Some ways to get your pet’s heart rate elevated include long walks, running and games of frisbee or fetch. Other options such as swimming are also great for older dogs, as it is not as demanding and puts less stress on their joints, or agility classes with the added benefit of enhancing communication skills and bonding with your dog.
Aerobic exercise also stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that helps to stabilize mood and produces feelings of contentment, which can help relax an otherwise anxious or aggressive dog. It is important to provide some environmental enrichment for your dog. Too much time spent bored can lead to destructive and attention-seeking behaviors. There are several types of interactive toys you can provide your dog with at home, such as food puzzles, treat balls and "Kong" toys, filled with food or delicious treats. Putting your dog’s toys on rotation will keep them novel and fun. You can also provide your pet access to a window with a bird feeder for home entertainment. Take your dog to new places filled with new and interesting smells for them to investigate. Some owners also choose to take their dogs to daycare for socialization and interaction while they are at work.
At the Behavior Service, we believe that "a tired dog is a happy dog."