1. Bonding, building trust: Holding the dry end of a bully stick and letting your dog chew on the other end is a great way to connect while you are both relaxing. Bully sticks can be a great little toy to have and you may want to learn more about their use and why dogs love them so much. This is a surprisingly easy and important mini-training exercise you can do to establish good habits. Holding your dog’s chew teaches them to trust you with their valuables. Through this simple exercise, your dog will learn that you are not out to snatch away anything good from them. Thanks to doing this consistently when he was a puppy, Miles is not possessive about his toys or chews, simply because he knows he doesn’t have to be.
2. Busy dog downtime: Mentally and physically busy dogs such as Miles and other Welsh terriers often take awhile to learn how to relax. It often seems at first as if they only have an “on” switch, and a “off” switch! Providing them with a chew on a regular basis a great way to help teach your dog how to deal with anxiety while also relaxing.
3. Travel, Training Class, Outside the Home: A chew provides your dog with an activity that is calming when traveling, or in any other sort of unfamiliar, exciting, or possibly stressful place. Offering a solid chew to your dog keeps them near you and helps them control their anxiety levels through a self-directed activity. In training class, when there are lots of other dogs around, nothing helps keep a distractible dog focused and calm better than having a bully stick held for them. They will be facing you, and getting out any anxiety through chewing. The funniest thing to see is Miles anxious because he wants to chase other dogs, and in turn chewing harder and harder on his bully stick to distract himself. It really works! The poor guy wants nothing more than to terrorize his classmates, especially when they are tearing through an agility course, but through his chew has an outlet to re-direct and focus his frustration, energy, and anxiety — all while staying in one spot, and behaving himself. With a high prey drive dog, I feel it is extremely important to offer such release when you are putting them in a confined space like a car, small classroom, friend’s home, etc. Give them a tiny outlet, and you will avoid all sorts of unnecessary stress and problems!
Emma Kesler, CDBC, CPDT-KA is an award winning certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Dog Trainer who has worked exclusively virtually with clients from across the world for the past decade. Emma shares her life with her Welsh Terrier copilot Miles.
This is for all of the wild dogs out there, for the people who love them, and for those who want get to know them. You've come to the right place. 🐶
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