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December 16, 2023 25 mins

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Ever thought that your furry friend's anxious behavior might just be a cry for more physical or mental stimulation? Join me, Will Bangura, as we unpack this intriguing possibility. Be prepared to challenge what you know about canine anxiety and discover how enrichment activities might be the secret to keeping your dog happy and healthy. From agility training to simple games of fetch, we discuss how these activities can offer a safe outlet for your pet's energy and satisfy their primal instincts.

Let's add another layer to the mix - socialization. Does your dog get enough of it? And more importantly, is it the right kind? We take a hard look at dog parks and daycares, throwing light on the dangers these places can pose. This isn't about fear-mongering. It's about understanding the importance of safe and breed-specific socialization. So, let's dive deep into the world of canine behavior, learn more about our pets’ individual needs, and pave the way for a better quality of life for them. After all, their well-being is our priority.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Does your dog have anxiety, or could it possibly be
a lack of enrichment?
You know, when we think aboutour canine companions, their
well-being is at the forefrontof our minds.
We want them to be happy.
Just like us, though, dogs canexperience anxiety, and that can
significantly impact theirquality of life.

However, it's essential toconsider whether what appears to
be anxiety might sometimes be aresult of a lack of proper
mental and or physicalenrichment.
Don't go anywhere.
We're going to dive into thisin 60 seconds.

Speaker 2 (00:39):
Raised by wolves with canine DNA and his blood.
Having trained more than 24,000vets helping you and your fur
babies thrive, live in studiowith Will Bangura answering your
pet behavior and trainingquestions.
Ladies and gentlemen, pleasewelcome your host and favorite
pet behavior expert, WillBangura.

Speaker 1 (01:09):
Would you like to go on walkies?
Good day dog lovers.
I'm Will Bangura.
Thanks for joining me foranother episode of Dog Training
Hey, do me a favor, seriously,can you?
Can you do me a favor?
If you're listening to thispodcast, if you like or love

what I'm doing here, could youdo me a huge favor.
Could you just hit pause injust a second, take 30 seconds
of your time and give us a fivestar review on Apple Podcast or
Spotify, wherever you'relistening to this podcast.
I really appreciate that.
That's the best way that youcan say thank you.

I love what I do, helpingeverybody out.
Today I want to talk about atopic that gets talked about a
lot in training circles amongsttrainers and behavior
consultants and veterinarybehaviorists.
The idea of enrichment andmaking sure that dogs are

getting enough mental andphysical stimulation is a huge
deal right now.
10, 20 years ago, no, you neverheard about enrichment as an
Now some dogs have real anxietyand we'll talk about that and

how we can differentiate betweenthe two, but there are a lot of
dogs that what looks likeanxiety, what oftentimes is seen
as unruly behavior, can bebecause of boredom, can be
because your dog may not begetting enough physical

stimulation and mentalstimulation, and one of the
things that I want you to hearthis is very important you
taking your dog for a walkdoesn't do it.
That doesn't cut it.
You can take your dog for awalk every day.

I'm sorry that's not enough.
When you took on theresponsibility to have a dog,
it's my belief that you need tomeet their needs, because, hey,
can they meet their needs ontheir own?
Not if they're living in yourhome, not if you are the one

that basically is in charge ofwhat they do.
Okay Now, anxiety in dogs canmanifest itself in lots of
different forms.
It can be anything from verysubtle signs to more outward
It can be due to severalfactors.

Anxiety can be due to thingssuch as genetics, environment,
past traumatic experiences.
But did you know that some dogbreeds are more prone to anxiety
due to their inherent traitsand history?

For example, breeds like bordercollies and Australian
shepherds, known for their highintelligence and their high
energy levels?
Well, often those breedsrequire more mental stimulation
than others.
Without it, they can developsymptoms of anxiety.

Similarly, breeds such as theGerman Shepherd, labrador
Retrievers those dogs, you knowthey're big on forming extremely
strong bonds with their petguardians, they can be more
prone to experience separationanxiety.

So if you're not familiar withenrichment, let's talk about the
role of enrichment.
Enrichment is crucial inhelping to address, bring down
and mitigate anxiety, especiallyin breeds that are more

predisposed to it.
Now, I've already kind oftalked about it, but enrichment
refers to activities andenvironments that provide mental
and physical stimulation, whichthen addresses the innate needs
of a dog.
And without adequate enrichment, a dog's pint of energy and

their intelligence can manifestas what some people think is
And I've already said that, inaddition to mental stimulation,
dogs need a lot of physicalenrichment.
And physical enrichment goesbeyond the regular walk.

It's about engaging your dog inactivities that will satisfy
their natural instincts andprovide a healthy outlet for
their energy.
You know so.
For example, there's a reasonwhy a lot of Border Collies,
there's a reason why a lot ofAustralian shepherds and the pet

parents for those breeds doagility training.
Agility training is a fantastic, fantastic outlet for breeds
like, like I said, borderCollies, australian shepherds.
Navigating through obstaclecourses not only exercises their
bodies, but it also producesmental stimulation.

I mean, think about, thinkabout what those breeds were
bred for.
What is their job?
Are they running around Herdinglivestock?
For you, imagine what it's likebeing a herding dog and

actually doing your job everyday.
Think about the physical andthe mental stimulation that
those dogs get.
And that's what they need.
And now we've taken that natural, innate tendency that's been
bred in the dog and because wetake it out of its natural

inclinations and what this breedshould be doing, and now we've
got them pent up in a house.
And you know what if and thisis a lot of folks what if you
got to go to work for eighthours?
Well, what if you've got anhour commute to work?
What if you've got an hourcommute back?
Now we're talking about 10hours.

And do you sleep?
Eight, because that's 18.
Now we've got five hours, Ithink, left.
You gotta eat, you gotta shower.
Where's the time for your dog?
Some other enrichment activities.
Let's talk about some otherones Fetch and Frisbee.

You know what?
They're simple, yet they'reextremely effective.
Playing fetch, playing Frisbee,those games they can
significantly benefit,especially high energy breeds
like Labrador Retrievers or JackRussell Terriers.
Okay, that offers both physicalexercise and mental engagement.

Playing fetch, playing FrisbeeNow, another fantastic activity
for dogs is swimming.
There are very few things thatare as beneficial as swimming.
Especially for breeds likeLabrador's, swimming is an
excellent form of exercise.

The other thing it's gentle onthe joints.
Hey, it's great for overallfitness.
We could all benefit from that,not just our dogs.
But it's not just about physicalactivity and, like I said, dogs
need more than a walk.
That's just not gonna cut it,especially when we're talking

about these high energy breeds,the hunting breeds, the herding
They need a lot, and oftentimeswe don't think about that when
we're selecting the dog or typeof breed we want.
But now we've got that, whatare we gonna do?
Because they get bored, andthat's why mental enrichment is

just as important as physicalactivity.
And this is all aboutchallenging your dog's mind,
keeping them mentally stimulatedand engaged, all right.
So how do you do that?
Well, one great way to do thatis by using puzzle toys.

Have you ever used puzzle toys?
Do you know anybody that's donethat?
Have you ever heard of that?
Well, toys that require dogs tosolve puzzles, for treats,
things of that nature.
They're excellent for mentalstimulation.
They're especially beneficialfor, like I said, these real
intelligent breeds like GermanShepherds, border Collies.

You know one of the way you canget a muffin pan, a muffin tin
you know what I'm talking aboutand you could put oh, maybe two
treats, maybe you've got like 12muffins you can put in that pan
No, in that pan you're notputting muffins, okay, you're

gonna put maybe two or threetreats and you're gonna put a
tennis ball on top of each ofthe holes that you'd normally
pour in the muffin batter.
So the dog's looking at 12tennis balls and maybe two or
three of them.
Underneath there's a treat andyour dog has to find it.

It's a fantastic exercise.
It costs you little to nothing.
Most people have some tennisballs if they have a dog, and a
lot of people have muffin pansMaybe not today, in 2023, but
you know, I've got a muffin pan.
All right, one of the otherthings, and we should be doing

this anyway.
But think about it Until.
Enrichment through trainingsessions.
Having regular trainingsessions especially hey, listen
even if your dog has gonethrough a training program, even
if your dog responds to yourcues and is well-trained,

regularly training, maintainingthat, running your dog through
the paces, having regulartraining sessions is gonna be
great, even if they already knowthis stuff for mental
enrichment, you can also have alot of fun with it.
You can focus on new tricks ornew commands.

Trick training is a lot of fun.
Everybody I know that works ordoes trick training with their
dogs has a blast.
It's fun for you, it's fun forthe dog and it definitely
stimulates them mentally.
So that's a great thing thatyou can do Scent games.

Do you know that 12.5% of adog's brain structure is devoted
to scent and your dog smelling?
Now, to give you an idea, acomparison, when it comes to
humans, the physical structureof our brain less than.01% of

our brain anatomy and structureis devoted to smelling and to
Again, 12% of the dog's brainstructure is devoted to smelling
and scent.
If you really want to stimulateyour dog mentally, one of the

absolute best ways that you cando that is through doing scent
games Engaging your dog's senseof smell, such as hiding treats
around the house or hiding themin your yard.
That's a fantastic way toprovide your dog with mental

Also, you know breeds likebeagles with their keen sense of
They can really benefit fromthose activities.
Do you have a hound type breed?
Yeah, that will definitely helpthem.

Scent games for all breeds.
It's a fan.
If you've never done it.
Get on YouTube, go to Amazon,get a book on how to do scent
Maybe I should probably do apodcast just about doing scent
games and maybe I can findsomebody who's really an expert
in it and do an interview withthem.

I'm going to have to put thaton my list for podcast ideas for
Alright, let's talk aboutrecognizing and addressing
anxiety, because this is part ofwhy I'm even bringing this up.
Like I said earlier, it'scrucial to distinguish between
anxiety and lack of enrichment.

Now, while both can existsimilar behaviors yeah, they're
very similar, but theirmanagement differs.
If your dog shows signs ofdistress, such as I don't know
excessive barking, destructivebehavior or restlessness,

consider whether theirenrichment needs are being met.
However, if these behaviors, ifthey persist despite adequate
physical and adequate mentalstimulation, well then it might
be time to consult aprofessional for possible

anxiety issues.
Now, you want to make sure, ifyou do contact a professional,
that they know what they'retalking about.
Fortunately, the dog trainingindustry is not regulated
Anybody can call themselves adog trainer and they could have
no education, no true formalunderstanding of animal behavior
, and they could be doing thingsthat are detrimental to your

So you want to make sure thatyou find somebody that's
certified, and there's differentcertifications.
Some are bogus and some arevery reputable.
The certification council forprofessional dog trainers again,
the certification council forprofessional dog trainers.
You can do a Google search forthat.

They have a directory of veryhighly skilled and qualified dog
trainers that are certified andalso behavior consultants.
Now, if you can't find somebodyqualified where you live, near
where you live, around you, youcan contact me.
I do behavior consultationsglobally.

I do them virtually.
Listen, you're the one thatneeds to be taught what to do.
You'd be amazed.
I don't need to be there.
I have people all over theworld having great success
through the coaching thatthey're getting online with our
virtual video conferences.
So you can go todogbehavioristcom

dogbehavioristcom and if youneed to find somebody, like I
said, you can send me a messagethere.
Also, if you've not been to mywebsite, at dogbehavioristcom,
there's over 80 free articles onvarious different behavior
It's highly unlikely thatyou're not going to be able to

find an article that is going todiscuss whatever kind of
behavior problem you're dealingwith with your dog.
So please check out my website,dogbehavioristcom.
Go to the menu, look forarticles.
Click on the articles.
There's a lot of greatinformation there.
I want to take a quick second totalk to you about calm dogs.

Calm dogs is a natural calmingaid that I spent five years
researching and developing.
That's right.
Calm dogs is my creation.
I developed calm dogs for dogswith anxiety, fears, phobias,
reactivity and even aggression.
I created calm dogs to helpdogs that have noise
sensitivities, like a fear ofthunderstorms or fireworks.
Calm dogs also works great fordogs with separation anxiety, a

fear of car rides and travel.
Calm dogs even helps those dogswith a fear of vet visits or
In fact, I'm so confident thatcalm dogs will help your dog
that I make it absolutelyrisk-free.
Calm dogs comes with 100% moneyback guarantee.
My promise to you is verysimple Calm dogs works for your
dog or it's free.

Take the 45-day calm dogchallenge.
Go to calmdogscom ordoganxietycom to learn more
about calm dogs and how it canhelp your dog today, risk-free,
at calmdogscom or doganxietycom.
All right, let's get back to ourtopic at hand.
We're talking about is your doganxious or is it a lack of

Let's talk about creating anenriched environment.
Creating an enrichedenvironment for your dogs, about
understanding and catering totheir specific needs.
Part of that involves, first ofall, consistency and routine.
Dogs thrive, they absolutelythrive on routine, creating a

predictable schedule foractivities and when they're
chilling out, that cansignificantly reduce anxiety.
I cannot tell you enough howimportant routine structure and
actually with that routine andstructure, if you can create

patterns, that's gonna help alot.
Think about it one of thethings that dogs with anxiety,
any animal with anxiety, evenpeople one of the biggest things
where there's a problem is theycan't predict what's gonna
If somebody, a human and even adog, if you can predict what's

gonna happen, things are not asscary.
So by having structure, byhaving routine, by creating
patterns through your day and itbeing the same for your dog,
that is gonna have a calmingeffect on a lot of dogs.
Now, another thing as far ascreating an enriched environment

is having a variety ofactivities, incorporating
different types of physical andmental activities.
Not just the same thing, buthaving a variety and keeping
things interesting for your dogis also gonna prevent boredom
and help with anxiety.

Now, the other thing as far ascreating an enriched environment
having appropriate socialinteractions.
Now, I said appropriate.
If you have listened to me forany time.
You know I am not a fan of dogparks and I am really, for the
most part, I'm not a fan ofdoggy daycare.

Yes, dogs are social animals.
They need that socialinteraction.
However, what they don't needis to be around unstable dogs,
dogs that are reactive, dogsthat are aggressive dogs that
are fearful, dogs that areskittish.
So I'm very particular aboutwhat dogs my dogs get to be

around, what dogs they socializewith, and it's just a handful,
and that's okay.
Which one of your friends,which one of your family members
have dogs that you know arechill, very stable and aren't

suffering from anxiety, fears,phobias, aggression, reactivity?
Those are the dogs you wannahave play dates with.
Those are the dogs you wannahang out with.
Taking your dog to a dog parkit's kinda like spinning that
roulette wheel.
It's a gamble.
Usually it's not a matter of ifyour dog's gonna be in an

It's usually a matter of not if, but when.
If you frequent dog parksfrequently enough and you spend
enough time in them, again, it'susually not a matter of if.
It's a matter of when yourdog's gonna end up in an
altercation and if that happens,hopefully it doesn't ruin your

dog for life, hopefully itdoesn't imprint on your dog's
nervous system.
Hopefully it doesn't causeissues where, hey, now you do
have to hire a behaviorist or abehavior consultant to help you
because your dog's all messed up.
So, even though socialization isimportant for dogs, especially

for the more social breeds,right, cocker, spaniels, king
Charles Cavalier, very, very,very social animals.
Now, I said it a little bitearlier, while certain breeds
are more prone to anxiety, oftenwhat is perceived as anxiety is

a lack of proper mental andphysical enrichment.
By you understanding thespecific needs of specific
breeds especially if you haveone of these breeds and you
being able to provide a balancedmix of physical and mental

stimulation, you are gonnasignificantly enhance your dog's
quality of life.
Remember, every dog is uniqueand, hey, what works for one
might not work for another.
You need to be observing howyour dog responds to different

enrichment activities.
You need to understand yourdog's individual needs and when
you do and you can provide thatappropriate mental and physical
stimulation, that's one of thegreat keys to having a very

healthy, a very happy and a verywell-adjusted canine.
Well, I just wanted to take thatminute to talk about this.
It's a huge topic.
You're probably seeing it onthe internet social media.
All the trainers are talkingabout it.
I thought I would address it.
Hey, have a great weekendeverybody.

Have a great day.
Tell your friends about thepodcast, give us a review.
If you love what we do, I'moutta here.
Oh, come on.
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
Thank you.
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