by Alison Whittington

Pets | Dogs: Is Your Dog Bored?

Always alert and extremely intelligent, Australian Cattle Dogs (ACDs) thrive on doing a job -- any job. Their type A personalities need a challenge to keep them from becoming bored. In my years working with these playful pups, I've learned a lot about how to ensure any dog doesn't get bored.

If your dog -- no matter the breed -- engages in destructive or neurotic behavior (like digging at the couch or chewing on its fur), boredom could be the underlying cause. But even if you don't have a herd of cattle to move, your active dog will still be one happy helper if you spend as much time as you can directing its energy and putting its dedication to good use. Here, five tips to incorporate into your everyday life to ensure your active dog isn't bored:

1. Solve puzzles.

Make or buy brain teasers. Homemade games, like hiding a treat under a tennis ball in a cupcake tray, are just as challenging as manufactured find-the-kibble mazes.

2. Move it.

Take your ACD jogging, train it for agility, or get involved in any energy-burning sport you can share with your best friend.

3. Teach it tricks & reward desired behavior.

Train and reward your ACD for putting away its toys, undoing a latch or even sneezing on command. Use your imagination to find ways to continually occupy your dog's happiest-when-working mind.

4. Turn routine jobs into play.

An ACD would love to lend a helping paw when you get your mail or need a kitchen towel. Your dog can't be bored if it's participating in (and not just watching) your daily tasks.

5. Take advantage of your dog's devotion.

By nature, ACDs are loyal and super- smart -- a great combination for obedience training. And you'd be surprised how a lot of dogs really can excel way beyond basic sit-stay commands.

Many dogs, not just ACDs, are physically built and mentally wired to be busybodies all day long. It's better to prevent behaviors that are triggered by boredom than it is to correct them. So keep your ACD -- or any high-energy dog, for that matter -- engaged in a variety of fun-filled activities to take full advantage of its zest for life and its devotion to duty.








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Pets | Dogs: Is Your Dog Bored?