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can fun go too far? CPDT Nicole Larocco-Skeehan on endless energy and overstimulation Pet parents of athletic dogs often try to manage all that energy by ramping up workouts. While this achieves a tired dog in the immediate, constantly adding intensity to your dog’s workouts eventually creates a super athlete who requires more and more exercise to remain cool. How can you give high-strung pets the amount of exercise they physically need? By training the brain, too! CREATE THE QUIET Teach your dog to settle (note: this is different than teaching “stay” or “go to your place”). You’ll need a leash, a chair, a book, a comfy bed or blanket, and a new chew toy. ✓ With your dog leashed: put the chew toy on the bed. Sit in the chair next to it and step on the leash, giving your dog about half its length to move around. EXPLORE YOUR SURROUNDINGS Take your dog somewhere new! Try a new trail for a hike, a new park or even just switch up your regular walking route. Even better, try some tracking. Teach your dog how to use his nose to sniff out treats or toys. ✓ Start with your dog on a “stay” in one part of your house (or tether him to something if you haven’t yet mastered stay). ✓ While your dog holds in place, hide kibble, tiny treats or a few favorite toys around your house below nose level. ✓ Release your dog and encourage him to find the hidden treasures by walking through the house and ✓ Say "settle" once: then read your book and wait for the dog to relax. Resist the urge to praise or scold him; this game is all about teaching your dog how to relax and not attempt to elicit reaction from you. ✓ Once you're sure your dog is relaxed (it may take up to an hour), release your foot from the leash and allow the dog to move about the house as normal. Do not praise or offer treats. Repeat this exercise once a day, or whenever you have quiet time. praising him for sniffing and looking for the reward. No need for praise when he gets it; that tiny treat is reward enough. ✓ As your dog becomes more proficient, start hiding treasures in elevated spots or in places that require your dog to push through barriers to get them. 22 fun in the sun issue


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