Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brain Food.

Feed your dog's brain. Start with actual fuel -- the food your dog eats. Make it good. Be sure it's got the good stuff in it. Just like us, dogs only function 100% when their diet is good. If anyone has done any recent research on ADHD in kids you know that many believe medication may not be the answer but rather a diet change. Dogs are the same, behavior can be very closely related to behavior issues. Look at what your dog is eating.

Be sure your dog's food does not contain any of the following: wheat, soy, gluten (or gluten meal), dyes, sugar (sorghum) and some dogs don't do well with grains. I personally stay away from grains for my dogs, but that's just me.

Here is a list of foods I like and recommend.

Nature's Recipe: Farm Stand Selects (website)
Ingredients (first 20): Turkey, turkey meal, ground rice, barley, chicken fat, (preserved with mixed tocopherols), oatmeal, potato protein, cranberries, apples, peas, carrots, animal digest, tomato, pomace, sodium tripolyphosphate, flax seed, potassium chloride, salt, vitamins . . .
Where to buy: You can get this at Petsmart and Petco. I like Petco because you can get their shopper's card and get your 10th bag free. I don't usually see great benefits with the Petsmart card.

Taste of the Wild: Pacific Stream Canine (website)
Ingredients (first 25): Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, canola oil, salmon meal, smoked salmon, potato fiber, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried fermentation products of Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement . . .
Where to buy: This will be at specialty stores only, such as Canine Commissary, Pet Supplies Plus, Lucky Dog Barkery, City Pet Supply, Master Made Feed, and some daycares and groom shops.

Canidae: All Life Stages Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey, Lamb & Fish (website)
Ingredients (first 25): Chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb, potatoes, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), lamb meal, ocean fish meal, tomato pomace, natural flavor, choline chloride, sun cured alfalfa meal, inulin (from chicory root), lecithin, sage extract, cranberries, beta carotene, rosemary extract, sunflower oil, yucca schidigera extract, dried enterococcus faecium, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, dried bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation solubles, vitamin E . . .
Where to buy: This will be at specialty stores only, such as Canine Commissary, Pet Supplies Plus, Lucky Dog Barkery, City Pet Supply, Master Made Feed, and some daycares and groom shops.

Those are just a few, of many, that I recommend. If you want a full list email me and I'll get you a list. . . . Now that your dog's brain is being fed properly let's go for challenges and training that keep your dog mentally stimulated. First, I sent a great list to start with on my blog post "Cabin Fever". While those are all indoor activities for rainy days (or snowy!) you can do those anytime or all the time!

There are several toys you can use to occupy Fido's time and stimulate his mind. For puppy owners tether your dog to you or a stationary object near you with a 4-5 foot leash and give him one of these toys to work on while you work or do the dishes. If you can't tether, or prefer not to, then put the toy in the crate with Fido.

All dogs need mental stimulation but terrier, working, sporting and herding breeds find themselves in trouble more than some dogs due to their sharp little minds. You need to stimulate your dog properly as much as possible. One-on-one training is best but when you can't do that be sure to substitute it with something.

Great toys/activities for dogs of all ages.

KONG® Wobbler. This one is brand new and can be used for your dog's meal. Don't use treats but make it the only way Fido gets his food. Often dogs don't mess with these items with treats in them because it's too much work to get out so they think, "I'll get food later, this is too much work I'll just wait for the food bowl . . ." So make them work for that food that normally goes in the food bowl! (Purchase here.) Watch dogs go to work on the Wobbler in this video.

Bob-a-Lot. This is similar to the Wobbler but hey, variety is always good! I think it bobbles a little more and the food comes out of the bottom instead of the middle, so some minor differences. (Purchase here.)

Dog Brick. This is a true gem! The dog has to slide the "bricks" to discover the treats. The artist is Nina Ottosson and she has designed many remarkable dog puzzles that are truly challenging and fun. (You can get most of these on but many you can purchase here.) Here is a video of a dog with the Brick.

Those are just a few of the fun things out there. Try some of those on your dog. But never use a toy to replace training with your dog and one-on-one. Join a group class for a great doggie bonding and training experience. For those with dogs that need something stimulating or if you want something aside from the same old obedience try our new upcoming "Fungility" class!

No comments:

Post a Comment