by Samantha Quackenbush, Good Dog! Lead Trainer
Have you ever wondered why your dog chooses to chew on your personal belongings or furniture rather than the million toys you have for them? Or why he chooses your child's toys over his own? I have three suggestions to help change this: 1. Have a toy basket specifically for your dogs toys, and keep them picked up as much as possible. This way your dog knows where to find his toys at all times and knows that they are his! Also encourage him to play with the toys in his basket. This can help your dog to differentiate between his toys and your children's. 2. If nobody ever engages the dog with their toys, they aren't as fun! You play a fun game of chase and tug when Spot grabs one of your new shoes. This makes them more fun to play with and chew on, even if the end result is you becoming angry. Bad attention is better than no attention, in a dogs mind. So engage your dog with their toys. On a daily basis, make a point to play a game of tug or fetch with acceptable items from their toy basket. 3. Ever notice how those high priced items you get for Christmas are lots of fun and get used most often right after receiving them? Then they tend to lay around and collect dust. Let's say one of these items gets lost for a while, you find it months later and all the sudden it becomes something you use again quite often. It is the novelty of the item that holds our interest. Same goes for your dogs! You may have provided them with 30 different toys to play with, but find they hardly touch most of them. This is because they have lost their novelty. Try rotating your pups toys out on a daily basis. Each day give them a few toys, while you keep the others put away, out of sight. Then the next day switch them out for a few different toys. You will find that your dog gets more excited over their toys this way than had they remained laying out everywhere, blending in with everything else in your home.