Dogs need physical as well as mental stimulation. Unfortunately, many pet owners tend to focus on giving their dog physical exercise and neglect to provide their pet much needed mental stimulation. Dogs requiring mental stimulation will get bored and find ways to “amuse” themselves with undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking, whining, and tail chasing, chewing, and digging holes in the backyard or your favorite carpet.
There are several ways you can mentally encourage your dog, most of which don’t involve any significant expenses. Here are some:
Dont Stick to One Route When Walking Your Dog
Walking your dog is good exercise for you and your pet, but it can get boring for both of you if you just stick to the same route every day. Try to go through different routes. Explore new neighborhoods and change your pace. Walk through a park or forest or walk along a lake. The smell of different surroundings will help mentally stimulate your dog.
Make Your Dog Work for Treats
Hiding treats for your dog to find is a great way to mentally stimulate your pet. You can start off with simply making your dog choose which of your hands has the treat. Then, you can change it up to hiding treats in different parts of the house and then, to places outside of the house, such as your backyard or near the perimeter fence.
Arrange Play Dates for Your Dog
Taking your dog for a ride is an excellent method of mental stimulation. The different sights and sounds that your pet is subjected to throughout the duration of the trip will make the ride interesting. But seeing other dogs at your friend’s place will definitely boost your dog’s emotional and mental state.
Provide Interactive Toys During Playtime
Dogs love playing with toys. They love balls, Frisbees, chew toys, tug-of-war toys, even baskets and boxes. But if you want to really stimulate your dog friend’s brain, you should provide interactive toys, such as those that dispense food. These toys are made of sturdy plastic and you can put kibble inside. If the dog wants to get the food or treat, he has to roll the toy with his nose to release the food.
Rotate Your Dog’s Toys or Give Him New Ones
Just like kids, dogs can get tired of playing with the same toys every single day. Rotate your pet’s toys, or try to give your dog a new toy every few weeks. This is particularly true for dog breeds with short attention spans. They easily get bored. When your dog gets bored, he will find ways to entertain himself and may indulge in destructive behavior.
Bring Your Dog to a Dog Park
Dog parks are great places to bring your canine friend. These are typically enclosures wherein dogs can run free under the supervision of their pet parents.Word of wisdom: your dog may be overwhelmed with seeing different dogs and different people at the dog park for the first time. It would be a good idea to keep your dog on a leash if it is his first visit to the dog park.