Ideas From You to Enhance My Dog's Life - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow Ideas From You to Enhance My Dog's Life

I was hoping people could share some ways they enhance their dogs life.
Also suggestions as to what I can add on or change to enhance my dogs life.

For those who don't know and updates for others:
She still has SA, although it's improved some over time, its still there..
I have debated a bigger kennel rather than her XL plastic crate. I am worried that she will hurt herself somehow trying to escape, as she bangs against the metal door on her plastic crate she currently has, unless i turn the metal door to the wall and than she doesn't bang on the metal door, because I think she realizes that she cant break through it that way. But i was thinking if it was a bigger kennel, she would have more room to stretch her legs (literally) be able to enjoy herself more? I do work 35-50 hours a week.. There are some welded wire kennel's that seem safer than chain link, as chain link gives and some dogs will chew through it, etc.

Also because of her hips I dont allow her to run very much if at all. During the summer we can swim as a great way to release her energy. We walk about 2-4 miles a day, i feel like even that she is sore.. (I do split up the 3 miles, 2-3 times a day) Before it started to freeze rain which left a lot of places icy for weeks, i was able to take her to new places- new stimulation. At this point we been mainly going in town.

She does play with one other dog, since she likes other dogs.

I been doing great obedience with her, we learn a new trick every 2 weeks on average. We keep sessions short as she gets frustrated easy and will become rude and do it a few times a day using treats at first until she fully understands, than toys as a reward and than she does the trick and will get what she wants such as going outside as the reward. I try to reinforce it. Also part of her basic NILIF.

I do get her new toys, antlers, etc. She has the kong wobler and a few other treaty games which are fun for her.

I was thinking about starting tracking with her, and recently purchased a book on it, as i know nothing about. I think i've seen people on here, with HD dogs have their dogs do tracking. Zelda seems to enjoy smelling things and will follow a little trail it seems.. (not that i know a lot about it)

Anyways most of you know a lot about my dog i'm sure already.. (as this might be repetitive for some)
But the guilt i feel when i leave her and I know some dogs are a lot worse of it, but sometimes i feel like i could be a much better person for her and need ideas. I just feel so guilty whenever I leave her! SA dogs are hard.. I want her life to be more enhanced somehow when I'm away. Do you guys have any ideas on that too?


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 11:07 PM
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I definitely second your idea of tracking. My girl didn't have SA, but she did lack confidence. Tracking built her up, and it burns a surprising amount of their energy. You don't really need a huge amount of space, you can do it in any weather (even downpours), and you may be amazed at watching her work.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 01:16 AM
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not sure what sa is.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 01:22 AM
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Food, toys, treats - all great, but what will truly enrich her life is doing something special with you. Something that works the mind as much as it works the body, something that involves her natural instincts and will fulfill her as a dog...

I agree with the tracking, that should be low impact for her and be a nice physically easy yet stimulating activity. Working her nose will be hugely rewarding for her, give it a shot!

It is really nice that you care so much about fulfilling her - she is lucky to have you!

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by huntergreen View Post
not sure what sa is.
I'm guessing separation anxiety...😉

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 08:16 AM
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Have you considered looking for a "Nose Work" class in your area? It is GREAT game for the dog and just as in tracking, she would be using her nose! An organized class would get her out of the house for a team activity with you and they are exhausted when they come home. There is only one dog at a time in the room they "search" in so you wouldn't have to contend with other dogs being around for a distraction.

You can also do this at home! Basics: You put the dog in another room (I don't like tying them in the room). If there are other animals in the house, they need to be in another room while your dog searches. All you need are several boxes (approximately shoe box size or a little larger), a small container, like one that cottage cheese come in, with holes poked in the lid and a great treat like little pieces of cooked liver or steak or chicken for the "hide" and then additional treats for the "find". Put some liver inside the container and also on top of the container and set it inside the box. You will be using the same box each time for the "hide" (you mark the outside of the box so you will know which one in case they all look the same). Then you scatter the boxes around the room and when you let her out, you tell her to "SEEK" or "FIND IT" or whatever term you like, but that "term" is only used for THIS activity. If tracking, you would use a different term. Then you let them into the room and tell them to "Find It". Once they show an interest in the box that has the liver in it, praise them, let them eat the treat off of the lid and then take the lid off of the container and let them eat the treat inside the container while giving them encouraging praises for doing a great job! We even threw extra treats into the box and let them eat them. After they get the hang of it, they will be whining in the other room while you are switching the boxes around to do it again! Some people use their favorite toy but my instructor told me that they could not have it any other time except when looking for it during the nose work game, so we chose good smelling food.

Here are some other explanations Getting Started in Nose Work | Dog Star Daily K9 Nose Work - week 1 | Something Wagging This Way Comes
Find some books here: FUN NOSEWORK FOR DOGS, 2ND EDITION - Dog Training and Behavior -

Also, Google "Beginner Nose Work Video's" and you can watch how it is done. You can make it harder when she has it down pat by setting some boxes higher like on the couch etc.!

Have fun! I know your girl will just LOVE this!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 08:17 AM
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How does the dog greet you? How is the dog when you leave the house?

I think they are vital signs about a dog with separation anxiety. How you act can have different affects on the dogs state of mind.

Do you feel sorry for the dog?

Do you ever leave her out of her crate?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 12:00 PM
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Things I do to make my dog(s) life tat much more enjoyable:

I put in a doggie door. It eliminates the potty anxiety on both me and the dogs. Huge stress reliever.

Full body doggie massage. It's easy and relaxing for both involved. I just rub away with three fingers, working deeper into the muscles as I go. Dogs often doze off while I do this. Takes maybe 10 minutes.

I'll pop a big bowl of popcorn and share it. One for me(kernel, not bowl), one for Allie, one for Cable. They do no tricks, just get treat after treat while I sit there telling them what good dogs they are. Since there are tons of individual kernels in a bowl the fun sharing time lasts awhile.

I will take an empty 2 liter soda bottle and bang on them with it. It makes all sorts of noise, does not hurt them and they both go hog-wild trying to grab it. I hoot and hollar and run around, winding them up. Ends up as a cuddle pile on the floor, both dogs snorting and rooting.

Small fun things that get their minds clicking away. Trust building exercises really.Oh and I throw pillows at them all the time. If they catch me picking up a pillow they will drop into a play stance, so I have to be sneaky. That's a tricky one tho, as you don't want the pillow to become the target, they ignore the pillow and come after me. That took some training.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 04:17 PM
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Love Brembo's ideas and all would help w/ S/A. Have you thought about using a puzzle ball in her crate to allow her to use her brain while crate?. i used to use a a ball to feed the girls when they were still segregated last year. Stuffing a kong and freezing it before giving it is always a great enrichment for dogs. Could be a away to feed a meal and makes the crate time pretty enjoyable.

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