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Behavior & Training KEEPING DOGS SHARP


A bored dog can become anxious and stressed. Here is a formula to avoid regression during the off-season.

If you enjoy summer sports or outdoor activities with your dog, you shouldn’t stop being active just because the seasons change. Staying active helps to keep your dog’s mental attitude upbeat and avoids boredom, which can lead to anxiety and stress.

“Long layoffs with no stimuli could cause a dog to slide backward and later respond poorly when training is renewed,” says Purina Director of Sporting Dog Programs Bob West. “A year-round exercise program is the most important factor in keeping a dog mentally fit.”

During the off-season, you should try teaching your dog new things. Positive reinforcement fosters a happy, upbeat dog. By introducing new exercises and learning, you prevent stagnation and help your dog to ultimately transition back into his sport more enthusiastically.

Keep in mind it is as important to feed a complete-and-balanced diet during the off-season as it is during peak performance times. “A dog’s caloric needs decrease due to warmer temperatures or less physical demand,” West explains, “but you should feed less food rather than change his diet. Feeding a superior dog food year-round helps to maintain your dog’s muscle tone and overall well-being.”