Dogs have certain breed characteristics that require specific stimulation to promote their innate instincts. Dalmatians, for example, were originally trained to run in front of horse-drawn carriages and clear a path to guide horses and firefighters to the fires (not your typical “couch potato” dog). Retrievers, on the other hand, need to fetch game, scent hounds want to flush them out, herding dogs want to organize the flock; and so on. While some dogs are content to stay in your lap all day, many are left home alone while their busy parents work all day. Boredom and unspent energy ensues which can lead to obesity, frustration and worse, behavior problems.
While every Pet Parent should realize the importance of daily exercise and mental stimulation for our pets, it isn’t easy when you work all day and come home too exhausted to take your dog for a walk. Hence, the innovation of some pretty cool pet products that offer entertainment, exercise and mental stimulation for our dogs left home alone (these are great solutions for working parents):
(1). Aikiou Food Bowls for Dogs. These unique food bowls slow down food consumption, entertain and stimulate Fido’s genetic need to forage for food. Visit Aikiou.com for product details.
(2). A similar Food Bowl product is offered by Northmate, along with a special version for cats. Shaped like a tuft of grass, Fido’s food is scattered across this unique bowl and it is up to him to push it out. See Northmate.com
(3). Pet Zen Treadmills. These are specific treadmills designed for dogs. Not cheap ($500), yet effective once you have your dog trained to get on and off. Easily stored away, all you have to do is stand by and watch Fido jog his way to nirvana. See Petzenproducts.com for details.
(4). Go-Go Dog Pals: a specially-crafted remote control toy for Fido’s entertainment. Pricey at $230, all YOU have to do is stand there with the remote while Fido chases a number of go-go -decorated mobile toys that zip around the backyard while he takes chase. See gogodogpals.com
(5). The Woofer Vest: if you like to walk your dog, yet need personal entertainment and motivation to “get going”, consider the Woofer vest ($100-$120) with built-in speakers and a special pouch to hold your Ipod, Iphone or MP3 player. See woofer.com.
While these products are fun, innovative and “cutting edge”, it does not replace the importance of spending one-on-one time with your dog. If you can’t afford entertainment toys, do find the time to take her for walks (varying the route for added stimulation). Consider a dog park (see our tips on Dog Park etiquette and local parks on our Home Page)
Consider doggie daycare at least once or twice a week
Hire a dog walker
Negotiate with friends, family or neighbors to trade dog duty
Spend your lunch break with your dog
MAKE HAPPY TAILS HAPPEN DAILY WITH YOUR DOG!
Photo image courtesy of Photostock @ Freedigitalphotos.net