My dog never did anything like this before

Imagine that there is a child on the playground that routinely taunts, makes fun of, and intimidates the other children. How long would you wait before you interrupted this behavior? How long do you imagine this would go on before it would at some point escalate to something physical? Dogs are the same, but far too often owners misinterpret the body language that clearly say’s “I’m a bully and I’m looking for trouble.” I often will watch dogs play at the dog park and I will hear loving owners excuse their dog’s behavior by saying things like “He just likes to play rough.” or “That’s how he plays.” Much like the schoolyard bully is having fun at the expense of others a dog who is practicing bad behaviors may be playing or having fun.

Enrichment

When we think about what is natural, healthy behaviors and lifestyles for domestic dogs we don’t think of hanging out inside all day, staring out the window all day. While some owners think of their dogs as lazy the truth is it’s very rare for a dog to be what we consider lazy. Dogs have been developed to be masters at conserving energy, so that on those long cattle drives or days hunting birds with their handlers they don’t get burned out or use to many precious calories. In the animal world efficiency is the name of the game. What is true is that a little yard time and hanging out indoors all the time rarely satisfies the needs of any adolescent dog regardless of breed.