Mom, I’m bored. Dogs are a lot like children. If you don’t give them something fun to do, they will make their own fun—and often not in ways you approve of.
Give your Miniature Schnauzer plenty of physical and mental exercise, and you get a happier, healthier, better-behaved dog. Well-exercised dogs bark less, chew less, sleep more, and rest easier if left home alone. They are also much less likely to rummage through the trash or attack the couch cushions.
What about leash walks?
Leash walks are great brainteasers because of all the sensory information dogs get from them, but they don’t count as aerobic exercise. Your dog needs to run, swim, or do something else that gets his heart pumping for at least 30 minutes every day.
Important: Puppies under a year old are not able to withstand sustained leash walks because their growth plates are not closed yet. Puppies should get off-leash exercise and free play where they can choose their own pace and rest if they need to. If you can’t let your puppy off-leash in a particular area, that’s okay, just forget about taking a brisk walk. Let her sniff and noodle around at her own pace.
Workouts for the body.
- Chasing a ball or Frisbee
- Playing tug
- Active play with other dogs
- Off-leash romps or hikes
Work to Eat.
- Work to eat. Biologically speaking, your Miniature Schnauzer is not supposed to have a bowl of kibble plunked down in front of him. He is a hunter by nature, meant to work for his keep. Mimic this by serving your dog’s food in a Kong or treat ball. You can also hide your dog’s food around the house or yard like a scavenger hunt or treasure trail. Your dog will spend the first part of the day figuring out how to get at his food and the rest of it recovering from the mental effort. Perfect!
- Toys galore. Toys are a great way to engage your dog’s brain. Dogs have distinctly individual toy preferences, depending on the day, time, and situation. Do some detective work and find out what truly tickles your dog.
The best toys have a purpose. They deliver food, present a challenge, squeak, or make themselves interesting in some other way. Some classics to consider: Rope toys, plush toys (with or without squeakers), Hide-A-Bee (Squirrel, Bird), tricky treat balls, soft rubber toys (vinyl), and hard rubber toys like Kongs and Nyla bones.
Giving your Miniature Schnauzer adequate physical and mental exercise is going to have a huge impact on your everyday life. She’ll get into less trouble, and be more calm and contented overall!
We’ve given you a few ideas to get you started. To get maximum impact on your Miniature Schnauzer, be sure to check out the book Canine Enrichment for the Real World by Allie Bender and Emily Strong.
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