Written by: Sean McDaniel
Seattle Family Dog Training
Have you ever heard the old adage, “A tired dog is a good dog?” Well, a few years back we decided to put that adage to the test.
As a dog trainer for over a decade, I’ve never turned down a dog-problem. Consequently, I’ve seen just about every dog-related issue under the sun. There are perpetual debates over which training method is best and how to go about solving dogs’ behavioral challenges. Instead of pitting two training methodologies against one another, we thought we’d compare a group of dogs going through ‘obedience’ training and a group merely exercising regularly.
The two groups filled out preliminary assessments on their dogs’ traits and issues, and then took part in either six weeks of obedience training or six weeks of an exercise program. The unscientific parts of this experiment are the sample size and the variance in types of exercise. There were only 6 participants in each group and the exercising group each did different things. Some “exercisers” went for a run twice a day; other dogs ran next to a cycling owner, some played fetch, while some did a mix of activities. The “exercisers” were directed to do at least 30-45 minutes of exercise twice a day with one session happening in the morning. They slowly ramped up the amount and intensity of exercise over two weeks and most of the participants had some really good workouts going with their dogs for the last 3-4 weeks of the test.
All participants in the “obedience training” group had goods results with all of their issues, and their dogs’ improved in both obedience skills and what we would call “annoyance behaviors” such as: jumping up, digging, barking, chasing other animals, and general over-excitement.
Generally, the “exercise group” told us that their dog was much easier to live with during their new exercise regimen. They also told us that the people in the house experienced less stress due to not worrying about their dog’s “problem” behaviors as much.
So, did this experiment help map out the canine genome or discover a cure for hip-dysplasia – well … no. It was helpful to us though to show, in some more structured way, that the adage about a “tired dog being a good dog” really is true.
What does this mean for you? Well, it’s all good news. While there will be no shortage of issues left for professional trainers to help folks with; you might be able to take your first steps in solving some behavior problems today. Go for a long hike, a bike ride, a run (if your able) or play some vigorous fetch with your dog, and see if some of your dog’s “annoying” behaviors don’t start to wane for you too. By the way, there’s also a rumor out there that spending time walking, hiking, cycling and playing fetch with your dog is good for humans as well?
You can contact the author with comments or questions about this article and other dog-related questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Live in the Spokane area and need some help exercising your dog? Check in with Bare Paws Running.
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