Tag Archives: The DogSmith

Keep Fido Mentally and Physically Active – Boredom Busters, Enrichment Exercises & More!

What is Boredom?


Science has only recently began to look at boredom and understand what makes people bored.  A 2012 review of boredom research entitled The Definition, Assessment, and Mitigation of State Boredom Within Educational Settings: A Comprehensive Review (Vogel-Walcutt, J.J., Fiorella, L., Carper, T. et al.) suggested that boredom is a combination of a subjective psychological state of dissatisfaction, frustration or disinterest and an objective lack of neurological excitement, all of which result from a lack of stimulation. (Kubota, 2016).

Do Dogs Suffer from Boredom?

Animal welfare lecturer Charlotte Burn, from The Royal Veterinary College,  observed dogs left alone at home before publishing an essay entitled Bestial boredom: a biological perspective on animal boredom and suggestions for its scientific investigation, in which she states that Chronic inescapable boredom can be extremely aversive, and under stimulation can harm neural, cognitive and behavioural flexibility.”  She told The Times: “They often yawn, bark, howl and whine. Some sleep a lot – a sign of apathy. Some of this is anxiety but often they are just really bored.” 

Take Your Dog to School

A bored dog, lacking appropriate mental and physical stimulation may get himself into trouble by looking for ways to entertain himself. “Animals in barren conditions seek even aversive stimulation, as if bored.” (Burns, 2017).  Problematic behaviors such as digging, incessant barking and inappropriate destructive chewing may be a dog’s way of alleviating boredom and easing anxieties.

Provide Mental and Physical Stimulation for Your Dog

Some simple changes might go a long way in helping overcome boredom and alleviating anxiety by providing both mental and physical stimulation for the pet.

Here are some suggested ‘boredom busters’:

  • Make sure your dog’s diet is nutritionally balanced. A poor diet may not only affect your dog physically, it could also negatively affect their behaviour.
  • Take your dog to school – Learn how to engage and motivate him!
  • Teach your dog some fun tricks – Check out this A, B, C of Apprentice Tricks video for some ideas!
  • Provide interactive feeding and chew toys.
  • Provide a doggie sandpit – an appropriate place for the dog to dig.
  • Provide a doggie paddling pool – a great place to cool off and have fun in the hot summer months.
  • Play fun games with your dog. 
  • Teach your dog how to relax and provide him with a comfortable place to do so.

    DogSmith Slumber Party – The Perfect Doggy Vacay!

  • Vary your walking routine.  Taking the same path every day is monotonous for everyone.
  • Arrange a playdate with a suitable doggie friend.
  • Arrange a Slumber Party or Sleep Over for when you are away.
  • Hire a certified pet care technician to spend time with your dog while you are out at work – to feed him, take him for a walk, play with him…

Fun Games

There are lots of options for fun games you can play with your dog, many of which can help proof some of your cues.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Practice cues such as take it, drop it, sit, down…. while the dog has fun chasing a soft toy on a flirt pole.
  • Play a game of fetch.
  • Play fun scent games like the Find the Hidden ? Game (Insert word of choice e.g. Treats/Vegetables/Ball/Stuffed Toy/Car Keys). Start by ‘hiding’ food in plain sight and gradually increase the level of difficulty.
  • Enjoy a fun game of hide-and-seek. Simply go hide and then call your dog. Start by hiding in a place where you are easy to find and gradually increase the level of difficulty as your dog gets better at the game. This is a great way of proofing your recall cue. Please, remember the recall word is a very important cue and deserves double reinforcement.  What betterthan a fun game and a high-value reinforcer every time your dog comes, no matter how long it takes him to find you.  Please note, if it is taking a very long time, you should probably make the game easier as you want your dog to enjoy the game and have fun finding you, not get frustrated and give up.  
  • A fun tug session is also a great choice!

Interactive Feeding Toys

Whether you would like to keep your pet occupied while you are out; need your dog to be quiet while you make an important phone call; want a good way of slowing down how quickly your dog eats; want to give your dog a job in the form of an opportunity to ‘scavenge’ for his food; want to provide a suitable alternative to chewing up your furniture or nibbling on your ankles … an interactive feeding toy or appropriate chew toy is going to keep your dog busy while also providing great mental stimulation.  I recommend all pet guardians provide their dog with an interactive feeding toy.  My favourites are the KONG Classic, KONG Wobbler, West Paw Zogoflex Toppl or West Paw Zogoflex Tux. Nylabones are also one of my favourite recommendations for those in need of a good, long-lasting chew. 

KONGS and Nylabones come in a range of sizes and chewing options.  KONG options include the KONG® Classic, KONG® Extreme, KONG® Puppy and KONG® Senior. There are also KONG balls, bones, toys on ropes, rings, tires and many more rubber KONG toys. There are Nylabones for soft chewers and Nylabones for extreme chewers.  They come in a variety of shapes and flavors such as peanut butter, bacon, cheese, chicken, Philly cheese steak and more, so there is sure to be one that your dog loves.  Whether purchasing a KONG, a Nylabone or any other interactive feeding toy or chew, please choose the appropriate size and chewing ‘strength’ for your pet. Puppy teething rings are another ‘must buy’ but something a simple as soaking a face cloth in water and popping it into the freezer, means that you always have something on hand to help soothe a puppy’s sore gums.  Please always actively supervise and, if unsure as to whether the pet might try to swallow something, keep hold of it while they enjoy a good chew.

Stuffed KONGS

Stuffing a KONG is not only good for your dog, it is a great way of using up your surplus (doggie appropriate) groceries!  One of my dogs’ favourite recipes is a mixture of cooked sweet potato and flaked chicken mixed with leftover veggies and kéfir. I simply stuff the KONG and pop in the freezer for an extra challenge!

If you and your dog are just starting out with interactive feeding toys, keep it simply by simply stuffing with some loose high-quality kibble, small chunks of meat and cheese or a few small treats. Encourage your dog to play with the toy and offer plenty of praise as he starts moving it around to get the treats out.

Here’s a favourite recipe – the KONG ‘Summer Picnic’

KONG® Classic


  • 1 cup cooked ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Split the mixture between your KONGs and freeze for a greater challenge.

You can find the Kong ‘Summer Picnic’ and lots more stuffing recipes on the KONG website here

Doggie Ice-Cream

Another of my dogs’ favourite recipes is banana ice-cream. I blend the ingredients and pour into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, the doggie ice-cream is served in a West Paw Zogoflex Tux (the perfect size for an ice cream cube!). This is suitable for both feeding toy novices and pros.

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups kéfir or plain low-fat yoghourt
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (organic if you have it)

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until it’s mixed. Pour the mixture into ice trays and freeze.  Serve in a Zogoflex Tux.

One of my dogs’ and my canine clients’ much-loved low-fat alternative to banana ice cream is fish sorbet.  This is how we make it:

West Paw Zogoflex Tux

  • Three-quarters fill an ice tray with water.
  • Flake in some tuna, sardines, mackerel or salmon.
  • Add 3 crushed blueberries or other favourite fruit such as apple, banana or melon to each cube.
  • Freeze and serve in a Zogoflex Tux.


Please note that some food can be toxic or otherwise hazardous to dogs. No onions, sultanas, grapes, raisins, xylitol (artificial sweetener), chocolate, macadamia nuts or cooked bones. This list is not exhaustive.  For more information on foods that could be unsafe for pets, visit the ASPCA’s People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page.


Training Classes

Attending group training classes is a great way of providing both mental and physical stimulation for your dog. If you are new to training, we advise a pet dog manners course – The DogSmith Small Paw Etiquette Puppy Class is a fantastic choice for those of you with young puppies.  The Pet Dog Ambassador programme is a great choice for dogs of all ages. Fun Scent Games and Trick Classes are also highly recommended as both get a big thumbs up from dogs and guardians!  If you or your dog are likely to be unhappy in a group class situation, we highly recommend private training sessions with a qualified force-free trainer.

When Should You Call a Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant?

telephone-dogWhile implementing the above recommended ‘boredom busters’ is going to help provide mental and physical stimulation for your dog, if you have a dog with specific behavioural challenges such as: Aggression toward people; aggression toward dogs or other animals; leash reactivity and impulse control problems; excessive barking or digging; destructive behaviours; growling nipping and snapping behaviours; attachment or separation anxiety problems; shy or fearful behaviours; abnormal behaviors, such as excessive licking, air snapping or obsessive tail chasing; hyperactivity…  we urge you to contact a certified dog behaviour consultant as soon as possible.


More Information

The DogSmith


The DogSmith offers force-free, learning-theory based dog training programmes coupled with professional pet-sitting and dog-walking services.

Whether you’re a dog owner looking to solve a specific behavioral problem, a dog lover simply wanting to strengthen and broaden your relationship with your dog, or a family wanting the best care possible for your pets while you’re away from home, the DogSmith is the only call you’ll ever need to make.

Listen to a five minute podcast about the DogSmith and our training and behavior services. There is a difference between the two.  Alternatively you can contact your DogSmith who will help guide you in your choice of services.

You can locate a local DogSmith here.


The Pet Professional Guild

The Pet Professional Guild is a membership organization representing pet industry professionals who are committed to results based, science based force-free training and pet care.

You can locate a PPG Professional Member in your area by clicking here: PPG Member Search



How Does Your Dog Spend Its Day?

Meet Zeke Hayes, Zeke is one of our regular Dog  Day Care Guests at Oxford Pet Resort & Spa. He loves to get into the drinking water bucket. Zeke is black lab and he is 2 years old and weighs 54 pounds, his sister is five years of age and her name is Chutzpah, she prefers the doggie pool!

Why don’t you come and visit us and check out how much fun our daycare dogs have, I am sure Zeke will share the water with your pooch.


Our Daycare Program, designed by Niki Tudge, limits the number of participants and matches dogs based on age, physical activity and personality traits. In addition, dogs less than 20 pounds have their own “Small Paws” daycare in a separate, specialized environment. Our resort dog playgroup sizes are a maximum of five to ensure we can effectively supervise your dog’s play and guarantee all dog interactions remain polite and stress free while giving them many opportunities to interact safely with their canine buddies.

What is Canine Seperation Anxiety and How Is It Reinforced?

Written by Niki Tudge. Copyright 2011

Separation distress behaviors are those that occur as a result of diminished social contact with a person or a place. When a dog is left alone with diminished social contact it can be an aversive for the dog. The dog becomes conditioned to cues in the departure sequence and this can elicit panic related emotional responses which motivate the operant behaviors we observe such as pacing, chewing and scratching. The operant behaviors we observe as a result of this conditioned emotional response act to negatively reinforce the dog helping to minimize the aversive.

If you have a dog that exhibits separation distress behaviors then contact your local DogSmith, there is hope and there are lots of things you can do to alleviate this distress and change you dogs behavior.

Defying Sluggish Florida Economy, The DogSmith of Palm Beach County Expands

Despite the sluggish economy experienced by many Florida businesses, The DogSmith of Palm Beach County continues to grow and now offers dog training and pet care to neighboring areas.

Jupiter, FL – To meet the growing demand for her dog training and pet care business, Rachel Williams, owner of The DogSmith of Palm Beach County, has announced her partnership with Susan Barton, Certified DogSmith Dog Trainer, to expand operations into Hobe Sound, Jensen Beach, Palm City, and Stuart Florida.  The animal lovers in these cities will now have access to the same free DogSmith puppy socialization classes and canine rescue resource programs enjoyed by Palm Beach County residents.

Susan Barton. CDT, The DogSmith

Welcome To The DogSmith Team

“We are very excited about increasing our ability to offer unrivaled dog training and pet care to more animal lovers in this area,” said Williams.  “We take a lot of pride in our exceptional customer service and professional expertise in every dog training and pet care service we offer, and now we can provide these services to many more pet owners.”

In addition to her years of experience training dogs, Barton qualified for her DogSmith Dog Training certification by completing a comprehensive course of animal learning theory and ‘hands-on’ practical dog handling at the DogSmith National Training Center.  “The training was fantastic,” said Barton, “we spent two weeks working with rescue dogs so we were trained on some very challenging behavior cases.”

According to their mission statement, The DogSmith exists to enhance the lives of pets and their owners by improving their relationship and the quality of the life they share by providing professional support and training to Pet Dog owners, supporting and assisting animal shelters and rescue organizations to minimize the number of unwanted animals and offering affordable and professional care to family pets so that pet ownership is never a burden.

For more information about The DogSmith’s free puppy classes or canine resources program visit www.DogSmith.com or call The DogSmith at 1-888-DogSmith (364-7648)


About The DogSmith – The DogSmith Franchise Services Inc. is a Florida based company whose mission is to enhance the lives of pets and their owners by improving their relationship, and the quality of the life they share, through providing professional support and training to pet dog owners, supporting and assisting animal shelters and rescue organizations to minimize the number of unwanted animals and offering affordable and professional care to family pets so that pet ownership is never a burden. To learn more about, or to become, a DogSmith Franchise Owner  visit www.DogSmithFranchise.com or call 1-888-364-7648

Read our Frequently Asked Questions About The DogSmith

DogSmith FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why should I join The DogSmith Dog Training & Pet Care Franchise?
    There are literally dozens of reasons to join The DogSmith Dog Training & Pet Care Franchise. For starters, opening your own DogSmith dog training and pet care franchise allows you to capitalize on the leading Dog Training & Pet Care business model in the United States. If you’re looking for a national company providing a unique opportunity in a recession-resistant multi-billion dollar industry, then this is it. The DogSmith provides you with the perfect opportunity to abandon your cubicle and join other entrepreneurs doing what you love for a living. The DogSmith leadership team has over 40 years of business management experience committed to supporting you in pursuit of your goals.

    With The DogSmith you will be part of a dynamic team of professionals where you will learn not only to be a dog trainer and canine behavior counselor but you will also learn how to operate a comprehensive pet care business. As a DogSmith you will have access to the most progressive training methods, curriculums, behavior analysis tool kits, franchise library knowledge base and our ongoing education and support systems. Our franchise system also provides you with a proprietary marketing system, DogSmith Brand Standards manual, proprietary marketing collateral and assistance with sales, training and financial management. One of the most valuable aspects of joining The DogSmith is you will have access to our registered marks, logos, and tag lines. You will be provided with proprietary operational and business systems, methods, software and programs at shared costs which greatly reduce your overhead expenses while giving you leading edge technical advantages over your competition.

    Other key advantages to the DogSmith Franchise are that your franchise is scalable so you will never be limited to being just self-employed. By optimizing the opportunities for multiple income streams and leveraging the resources of your employees and contractors you become a true business owner.

    Finally, by joining The DogSmith you hit the ground running avoiding the expensive and frustrating “trial and error” period that most individual new businesses go through. From our strategic and tactical marketing plan to our startup pack containing everything you need to begin marketing your business from the ‘get go’, you greatly minimize the cost and time between opening and profitability.

  2. How much capital do I need to invest into a DogSmith Franchise?
    The initial and only cost is $38,000. This includes your Franchise fee, The DogSmith certification training and includes ongoing education and support via teleconferences, webinars & DogSmith webcasts. Furthermore we continue our support through our annual DogSmith conventions and onsite training workshops. The initial fee also includes your start-up pack which contains everything you need to get your business up and going. Your website pages, toll free number set up, email account and preferred vendor accounts are also included. Any additional investment depends on your personal situation and how you will be structuring your business. Many franchise systems will advertise their fee but you will soon discover that in addition to their initial fee you must also pay a training fee and other additional fees before you can launch your business.
  3. What background and experience do I need to be a successful DogSmith Franchise candidate?
    The DogSmith selects candidates based on their natural talents. We then train for skill and manage and support for quality. We are looking for individuals who enjoy working with people and animals, are reliable, ethical and have a strong drive to succeed. The ideal candidate will also be self motivated, organized, professional, and punctual with a passion for customer service.

Read more of our

DogSmith FAQ’s