Keeping your dog / pup entertained by Louise Thompson

Today I have a guest writer post for you.

This article is by Louise Thompson of Paws Abilities Behaviour & Learning Centre. Louise is an accredited / certified animal behaviour consultant & professional dog trainer.

To find more of her articles you can like her facebook page or visit her web site

And if you are looking for a behaviourist take a look here: Animal Behaviourists SA

Thanks Lou, for passing this info to me to help curb Blu’s chewing habits 🙂

image from google images

image from google images


Remember to Inspect your dog/puppy’s mouth regularly – dogs, just like people can suffer from dental and gum disease. Leave your dog/pup items of natural material to chew on in the garden.
Save the man made materials for special games/occasions when playing with you. This will also help to lesson damage of household goods.

Giving your dog/pup something to chew – is giving him something to do! Today, many of our pets are kept in solitary confinement in concrete prisons, with no view of the outside world, nothing to do or think about, apart from pulling the washing off the line, digging up the new seedlings and shredding the pool cleaner! These dogs suffer from extreme frustration and stress. Giving them something to chew on and keeps dogs and pups occupied helping to lesson their stress and provide an appropriate outlet for their frustration from our modern life style.

      •Puppies that are teething need to chew on something to relieve gum irritation.


      •Chewing is a “natural” behaviour and if your dog/pup is not provided with something “appropriate” to chew – he will improvise!


      •Chewing on something natural – bone/cow hoof or leather chew keeps the pet occupied and thus reduces other “destructive” behaviour.


      •Bones/hooves and chews help to satisfy the natural need to gnaw.


      Chewing exercises jaw & teeth and develops muscles.


      •Chewing helps to keep the dogs teeth clean and strong.


      •Chewing helps to alleviate boredom especially good for dogs that have to be left alone for any period of time – such as when you are at work or go out for a Sunday picnic!


      •Chewing bones or hooves lessens teeth damage, as most dogs’ teeth are damaged from chewing things that are carelessly left lying around in the garden (stones, bricks, etc) Large raw, entire/uncut bones (such as an entire femur) and commercially prepared cow hooves do not damage teeth!


    •Chewing gets the dog to work for his treats! The good things in life are not free! The good things in life come from you! This will also help to maintain your status (higher ranking) in the human/dog pack.


    •Order a large ox femur from your butcher – the bigger the better! If you have a small breed of dog or a pup, the bone can easily be as big as, or even bigger than the pup/dog.
    •Small bones are extremely dangerous as they can splinter and perforate intestines or bowel which could be fatal.
    •Round shin bones can become stuck on the dog’s lower jaw, or in one of the back teeth, going rotten and causing problems. So when choosing a bone this rule applies: – The bigger the bone is – the better!
      •If you have two dogs, order and put out three bones, and make sure the dogs are given then at a good distance from each other, with the spare in the middle.


    This is to avoid possessive aggression between the dogs. If you have three dogs, you will need five bones and so on and so forth. These are put out at a good distance from each other in order to avoid any possessive aggression developing (from the dogs that is) over ownership.
    •Do not let the butcher cut the bone as it could splinter and cause problems like perforation of the bowel or intestines which can be fatal to your dog/pup!
    •Do not cook the bone, or it will soften and then is very difficult to digest when eaten and can cause problems like blockages in both bowel and intestine as the cooked soft bone hardens when digested and is painful for the dog to pass.
    •Give it to the pup/dog as is! Watch the dog entertain himself for hours, dragging it around, and exercising his jaw and developing his powerful forequarter muscles.
    •The dog/pup will drag it around the garden, the sand that sticks onto the bone acts as a sort of toothpaste cleaning the teeth better than brushing!
    •If you are worried that the marrow in the bone might upset your dogs’ stomach. Use an ice cream sundae spoon and scoop out the marrow, which can then be added to the dog/pup’s meals a little at a time.
    •Bones, cow hooves, and even some leather hide; “chews” can be scattered around the garden to give your dog/pup something to look for and then keep him occupied with chewing.
    •Remember the same rule applies with all chews that the dogs could fight or be possessive over. Make sure that you have tossed a plentiful supply in order to avoid possessive aggression.
    •All these are a wonderful way to keep your pup/dog occupied and out of trouble.


“Man made” toys should be kept for special occasions, and at the end of the game should not be left for the pup to play with but should be kept in your possession. You should retain ownership of the toy, until you feel like playing again, in order to ensure your higher status in the pack. There are numerous suitable toys available from pet shops, flea markets, super stores and your local veterinarian.

Here are a few examples of toys made from “man made materials” that you can play with: –

ROPE TUG TOYS: Rope tug toys come in may different types, lengths and shapes, the longer ones are designed for playing “Tug” Rope tug toys are great for cleaning teeth, and strengthening the jaw, but beware of playing “tug” with a genetically dominant breed such as terriers, or breeds that are going to be large and formidable, as you do not want the dog to learn to use his strength against you.
“Tug” is a great game to play to teach a dog the basic “Fetch” “Hold” commands in learning to retrieve. It is also a good game to play with a more submissive pup/dog to help increase confidence.

RUBBER TOYS: Rubber toys come in various shapes and sizes, one of the most useful ones is a “Conk” which is a sort of rubber ball in a cone shape, and when thrown bounces wildly in many different directions. This is wonderful exercise for the dog/pup, and keeps the animal agile and supple. The “Conk” is hollow in the middle and can be used to play “Fetch” with the reward hidden in the middle of the toy. Try some peanut butter, and a doggie chew, wedged in the hollow part, and put it into the freezer to make it last longer and then your dog will have his own special “doggie ice cream”. Try to experiment with different fillings and see how your dog enjoys playing “fetch”.

Rubber balls are great to throw, as they are heavier and go a greater distance than the tennis ball, they also are not as easily destroyed as they are made of a good robust material.

SQUEAKY TOYS: Squeaky toys – dogs love the “prey” drive of hunting these squeaky victims, and are really good for dogs that do not have a particular interest in retrieve. The “hunt” game is very rewarding for terriers, and dogs with strong hunting instincts. Often as the dog/pup runs with the squeaky, they learn to chew or mouth the toy to make it squeak more, which intensifies the game and fun is had by all. They also come in various shapes sizes and designs. As they are easily chewed up and destroyed it is suggested that you do not leave them with the dog/pup for any period of time.

THE FRISBEE. Frisbee’s are a great way to exercise a dog using minimum effort. Easy to throw and easy for the dog/pup to hold in his mouth they are a great source of entertainment both for the dog/pup and the owner. Beware of leaving them with the dog as they are chewed up and destroyed very easily.


Remember the dog/pup will not be able to tell the difference between old or new items.If you give the dog/pup your old shoes/takkies, how do you expect him to know the difference between the old shoe and the new one! Rather get him his own toys. Toys that he can easily identify as his own, and in this way the dog will not become confused and mistake your valuable household things for his own!


Unless you have prepared the pup and will follow the rules as already described.
This is extremely important, especially if you have young children in the household.

If you give the dog/pup items like stuffed animals, teddy’s etc, he could easily become confused or even possessive when he sees the children with these same kinds of toys. The child could bend down and try to remove the toy and this could result in a tragedy. A tragedy which should have been avoided!

The only household items that are not easily mistaken are things like empty two litre cold drink bottles. Remove the lid and any labels that could be swallowed and are of course unable to be digested.

Especially with young or bored dogs, do not leave tempting items lying around. Pick up the hose pipe, shut the garage doors, close the cupboards and get the kids to tidy up after themselves and be responsible for their own belongings! Out of sight – out of mind!

KEEP MAN-MADE TOYS FOR SPECIAL OCCASSIONS: Save the toys made from man made material for special occasions, when you are actually involved, playing with your pup. Maintain your higher status over the dog with toys at the end of the game you should retain possession of the toy.

Do not let the dog initiate or demand play with toys. All games including a “prize” (toy) should be initiated by you the owner played on your terms and ended when you decide. You as the pack leader should make these decisions.

Even if it is only complying with a simple command to “Sit”. The dog/pup should learn that nothing in life is for free!

COW HOOVES, AND LEATHER CHEWS: Try to vary the things that you leave in the garden to entertain your dog/pup. If he seems to get bored with the cow hooves rotate them. Remember each cow hoof comes from a different cow, so from the dogs point of view has a different scent.

ENTIRE OX FEMUR BONES With the femur bones – save them for a really special occasion! A time when you know that the dog is going to be left ‘home alone” for a longer period of time than usual, and then dish out the big guns (the ox femur) to help him to get over any possible loneliness in your absence. The bone can be removed when you get home, rinsed off under the tap and put back into the fridge for re-cycling!

In this way the dog does not view your absence as such a bad thing, you are building up his confidence for being “home alone” and you could be preventing him from developing serious behavioural problems such as separation anxiety!

Louise Thompson
Paws Abilities Behaviour & Learning Centre.
*Senior Accredited Animal Behaviour Consultant & Professional Trainer
Accredited as a *Senior Consultant with the Animal Behaviour Consultants of Southern Africa©®™.
Registration No *SAABC/1996/004/Canine/Feline/Equine/Avian
Certified Companion Animal Behaviourist.
Certified with the SA Board of Companion Animal Professionals.
Registration No AB/63
Member of the Pet Professional Guild – The Association for Force Free Pet Professionals.

If you would like to feature as a writer on 8ight contact me on links are always included to your site and social media therefore leaving all credit in tact.

You can follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Google+ or Tumblr

Last but not least you can fill in your email addy in the “you have mail” box (in the right hand column or in the bottom right hand corner), click the “follow” button and have up coming posts delivered to your email. *Try it – it’s as good as having your dog bring your newspaper to you in the mornings*

AND THANK YOU for stopping by!!


About Di

Di believes that the most important and most fulfilling “job” she has is being a mom of two. She is an author and animal communicator. Her greatest passion is animals and their welfare. She enjoys writing about animals and topics to help others with their spiritual growth.

Posted on January 13, 2013, in Animal Welfare, Doggy Style, Guest Writer, Interesting Articles, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: