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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 22 August 2007 Issue

WHAT JILL KNOWS: Dogs Bored in Back Yard

Dear Jill,

We have two 21 month old Labrador one black and one brown.

We leave them in the garden when we go out as the brown lab started chewing the walls. Now we have the problem that every time we go out he chews anything he can find in the garden. We thought by having two they would be company for both of them. The black lab seems fine is there anything we can do. I always give them a chewy bone when I go out.

Thanks,
Penny
___________

Dear Penny,

YES, there's plenty you can do. For starters, how much exercise do you give your dogs? (Yard time in the back yard doesn't count!) Do you take them for walks? If so, how many times a day and for how long? Labradors are big dogs, with a need for a high amount of exercise and outings. When their natural need to run and walk for miles every day is not met, they get bored, frustrated and naturally work out their frustrations on your walls and anything else they can find to chew. This doesn't make them "bad dogs", just frustrated dogs!!

For starters, I recommend a trip to the vet to check your brown lab. He may have a medical issue, or a tooth problem, which is causing him to act out. Once the vet rules out any health issue, I recommend taking your dogs to a local dog park every day for fun, socialization and exercise. Daily walks are an absolute must-- at least twice a day for at least a mile or two. If you cannot walk, hire a dog walker to exercise them daily. If there's a local swimming hole you can bring them to often, swimming is a great form of exercise. Remember: A well-exercised dog is a HAPPY dog!

Also, dogs need a social life, too. Take them places, go for hikes, bring them to friends' home who have dogs, so they can play together. Being in a yard, whether you're with another dog or not, while your human is away is, not all that entertaining. Actually, It can be downright dull and anxiety-inducing. He may be bored or anxious about something. Try giving him much more exercise, socializing him, give him different bones and toys to chew on. If none of these things make any difference, attend a dog obedience class with him. If you've already done the dog obedience classes, how about a reputable doggy day care visit for him and his buddy, say twice a week? We have a local one where I live that charges $10. for 4 hours or $15. for the day. Four hours of playing with other dogs makes SUCH a difference in a bored dog!! An entire day of playing with a group of dogs can be just the thing your dogs need!

I wish you and your dogs the very best. Please let me know how it goes!

Love and paw pats,
Jillouise Breslauer
Companion Animal Behavior Consultant
e-mail: PetBehaveConsult@aol.com 

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