Embrace your Breed(s)!

One thing that I believe will help current and future dog owners is to embrace their breed(s). Do not discourage their natural drive or instincts. When a dog breed was developed it was bred for a purpose. Retrieving, herding, guarding, scent work, etc. Now a days many of those breeds are bred for companions and not working dogs- but they still have those instincts and need an outlet for them. If not given proper mental and physical stimulation they can become destructive.

For example, I hear over and over that new owners are frustrated that their Sheepadoodle puppy tries to "herd" small children and nips at their heels. Old English Sheepdogs are a working breed. They have been bred for hundreds of years to herd livestock. When small children cry or yell in that high pitched tone the dog thinks that is a good thing- a signal to continue, not stop. Even mixing them with another breed isn't going breed out that instinct. Instead of getting frustrated (both you and your pup!) try giving him an appropriate outlet to exercise that instinct. There are many options to try- and its not a one size fits all. You may need to experiment a bit to find something your dog enjoys.

For herding there are balls that bounce in all kinds of crazy directions that mimic animals darting about, or get a large hard ball that he can push around the yard. Hiding treats around the house works their minds if they enjoy scent work. A game of hide and seek or fetch is great for retrievers. The possibilities are endless.

If we embrace their breed(s) drive and instincts and give them an appropriate outlet it will exercise their minds as well as their bodies and they will be happier for it.

There are hundreds of toys and activities you can buy- and just as many you can make yourself.

A great book to pick up if you want to learn more is The Canine Enrichment Book . They also have a FB group you can join. Canine Enrichment