Guess I am not sure where the cliche “quality time” originated, but apparently this term caught on and became a yuppie buzzword to differentiate it from just “regular time”. Most of the folks I know feel that all time should be quality time, but the fact is that all time is not equal. Just being with your family, friends, and furbabies is not always “quality time.”

One of the main reasons given for relinquishing a dog is behavior problems, and often the problem is that the dogs are not getting enough “quality time”, and as a result, they resort to inappropriate, often destructive behavior. They are bored! Dogs need a lot of exercise, both mental and physical., and without it, most of them will invent their own “games” like “Let’s see how much stuffing is in Dad’s favorite chair,”, or “How many holes can I chew in the door/wall/carpet.” All dogs need physical activity, and with busy schedules and hectic lifestyles, it is easy to just settle for a five or ten minute walk down the block, which is not enough!

Cesar Milan is making millions solving dog problems, and if all dog caregivers simply followed his first rule: EXERCISE, many of the behavior problems would be eliminated. Your dog needs daily, serious walks, especially if he spends much of his time alone home while you are at work. ( Serious walks are good for you too!) By giving your dog acceptable outlets for his energy, your relationship won’t be strained, and you won’t have to worry about the condition your house will be in when you come home.

Here are a few tips for curing cabin fever, and fostering good relationships: ,

  • Teaching a dog to catch and fetch a Frisbee or stick, or anything else you are willing to throw, is cheap, easy exercise. You only have to stand in one spot for a few minutes with your dog while he exercises his entire body. Many dogs will fetch anything you are willing to throw, for hours.
  • Social interaction is important for your dog, and he needs to practice his social skills with other dogs. If your town doesn’t have a dog park, perhaps you could schedule “play dates” with a friend’s dog where they can interact, hopefully in a large, securely fenced area.
  • Do you have a treadmill? In nasty weather, a treadmill can be a lifesaver… may take some patience, and maybe a little treat bribery, but most dogs, if introduced properly, will learn to enjoy the treadmill.
  • Kongs and Buster Cubes are my very favorite toys for dogs left home alone. Most of the Kong toys are meant to be filled, and depending on the filling, your dog can be kept busy for hours. Buster cubes are also meant to be filled with small dry treats or kibble. When the dog shoves the toy around, pieces of food randomly fall out. If you use Kongs and Buster Cubes, be sure to count the food as part of their daily ration.
  • Turn on the television to a channel your dog might enjoy, or leave the radio on with soft, relaxing music. It will make him feel less alone.

If your dog is getting adequate physical and mental exercise, she will be sleeping ON the rug instead of chewing it up!