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Best Toys for Bored Shepherd?

800 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Kathyy
My big boy, Naches, is part Australian Shepherd and Chow. This is great because he has his lazy moments and his hyper moments. However, we just recently got him and he is really bored. We cannot trust him outdoors without a leash quite yet but we take him out as often as possible. Anyway, he gets super bored and anxious at night and I know it's because he still has unused energy. He isn't awful with his toy, he just likes to naw at them. We would like durable chew toys (no stuffies) that can keep him content for a while, especially since we are kennel training. Any recomendations would help! :wave:
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He's anxious more than bored because he isn't quite sure about his wonderful new home yet. Giving him things to do helps with the anxiety Toys help but what he wants is your guidance. Set up regular training sessions daily, very short with single cues worked on each session. I prefer to do them before meals and use that food for treats.

Feed him with a food puzzle, that is fun for him and for the people watching. You can save empty tissue boxes, milk and water bottles and just pour the kibble in but must watch to be sure he doesn't eat anything he rips off those single use toys. If only I still fed kibble I'd be looking at buying the kong wobbler as it's large and easy to clean and fill but there are many more. Just try out a food puzzle before buying something in case he is beneath them.

I am amazed at the Karen Overall Relaxation Protocol which is a down stay training program that does help relax the dog. I'd add that to your training program once a day. Seems odd but my hyper guy adores working through the program which is just sitting/laying on a mat while I do all sorts of things around and away from him. I did a simple enforced down stay with first dog, leash on and dog laying at my feet. If she got up she was just put back down again until it was time to get up. Amazingly difficult exercise but she learned that laying down was a safe good thing to do almost always. And it is. 13 pound hyper guy is learning the same thing. He's been annoying - he goes to his bed where he's doing the right thing.

You probably cannot wear him out and expect he will be happy and relaxed. My 13 pound dog will run full out for 5 miles next to my trike, lay down panting, get a drink and be up looking for more fun inside a couple minutes. One way you might try is a flirt pole which is basically a sturdy large version of the cat fishing pole game. Tie a skinny rope to a hole in the end of a broom stick or run it through a piece of PVC pipe and tie a lure to the end. Max's favorite lure was an old sock, there's a bit of fake fur on it currently. Then jerk and jump it away from him so he goes to investigate. Or just tie a toy to a rope and play with your 50 pound kitten. I let the dog grab and tug then it goes limp and boring when I want to have dog chase again but up to you. Walks at human speed are boring and the cooperation required for him to behave nicely may be winding him up more than relaxing him so a wild crazy game of flirt pole could help. Also if you aren't already be sure to be happy when he is walking nicely with you, stop and praise and scritch and let him have a good sniff around every so often. I carry treats. Food, leash, poop bags have been walk essentials here for just about 2 decades now.

Another is chewing. I thought that hyper 13 pound dog was sick first time he chewed for 3 hours as he was so relaxed the following day. Trick is finding the right chew, it takes some experience. I use raw bones and that bone that was so wonderful was the joint inside a pork shoulder roast but your dog is much larger so a bigger bone is needed. Pork joints are pretty big already! If you are rich and they are in season a dried ostrich tendon could last a long time. A really huge Himalayan chew could [must be too large for him to get his jaws around it] but even the fanciest bully stick braid probably would be gone quickly. A stinky buffalo horn might satisfy him. Or get him a large kong and stuff it. I simply smear a little peanut butter inside and if I'm annoyed put some bread in the bottom. They can lick it but it won't come out. There are lots of recipes for kong stuffing out there, people get obsessed. You can stuff with part of his dinner and freeze moist fillings.
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