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    • Do you have one of those dogs that you’d think would be happiest living on a farm? Do you feel that you don’t have enough hours in the day to devote to exercising your dog? Before sending your dog away from the home and family that he has grown to love, consider some of these tips that will keep your dog mentally and physically challenged.
    1. Exercise your dog daily. Walk your dog outside your property so that he can smell and “read the news” left behind by other dogs and animals. A dog who consistently gets around town in your company doesn’t feel the need to “find greener pastures.” Hire someone to walk your dog if you are physically incapable.
    2. Play fetch and chase games with your friend. Not all dogs are natural retrievers but it is a trainable behavior. Tie a cord to your dog’s toy and drag it around so he can prey on it. Attach the toy to the end of a horse lunge whip and flip it around in all different directions.
    3. Give your dog challenging ways to eat his food instead of plopping it down in a bowl on the floor. Put kibble in a Tug-A-Jug, TreatStick, or Buster Cube which release kibble as the dog pushes the toy around. Stuff a rubber Kong with a mixture of kibble and soft food like cheese, meat or canned dog food and pack it in firmly so it takes more energy to get the food out. Freeze the Kong for more challenge.
    4. Hide toys or treats in old socks, paper bags, cardboard boxes, or rags. Supervise him as he shreds the item to get to his treat.
    5. Let your dog accompany you out to the mailbox, garage or bringing groceries in from the car. Every little bit of interaction and stimulation adds up to a mentally and physically challenged dog.
    6. Teach your dog to jump on and over things and repeat several times in a row. This uses far more energy than walking or even running. Be cautious with overweight dogs or dogs that are prone to joint or back problems.
    7. Teach your dog to put his nose or foot on a target. Gradually move the target farther and farther away, having him return to you for a prized treat after touching the target. Send him repeatedly to the target at the other end of your house or yard so that he gets exercise by doing laps.
    8. Fill a child’s wading pool with sand or dirt and bury a ball or dog toy. Let your dog dig to his heart’s content.
      9. Let your dog play with other dogs. He will get both a physical and mental workout.
      10.Withhold some of your affections for your dog and have him earn pats, hugs, and  “good dogs” by performing a few tricks or obedience behaviors. Do not repeat these in the same pattern each time. Mix it up so the dog has the mental challenge of wondering what is going to come next.

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