Dogs need mental stimulation just as much as they need physical exercise. So, try to add a few brain games in your dog’s exercise routine to help exercise his mind, alleviate boredom and decrease the possibility of developing behavioral problems like excessive barking or chewing. Here are some activities that will give your dog great mental stimulation:
Let Him Work For His Food
A big part of taking good care of your dog is to provide him with the right type of foods at the right time daily. This ensures that he grows healthy and strong. To most people, feeding dogs mostly involve placing the food in a bowl and giving it to them to eat. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it goes against the natural scavenging habits of these animals.
So, let your dog work before getting his food like it used to happen in the past. It’s a great way to give him more mental stimulation and keep him busy. Consider changing his feeding routine a little bit. Instead of letting him have his meal pretty easy, try putting the meal in a food dispensing toy. Let him roll the toy around to be able to figure out how to get the food out. Your dog will definitely enjoy this, so try it out.
Let Him Sniff Around
Most dogs look forward to their daily walks because they get to sniff things along the way. To them, walking is more than just physical exercise; they also get to explore and analyze different things. That is why it is recommended that you don’t follow the same walking path with your dog daily. Try different paths in different environments to allow your dog to sniff new and exciting smells out there. If possible, stop for a few minutes along the way to let him sniff as much as he wants to. This will give him great mental stimulation.
Engage More In Interactive Play
Interactive play is where you engage actively when playing with your dog. It is understandable that most people are busy nowadays. But this shouldn’t prevent you from playing with your dog from time to time. Dogs are social creatures who love interacting with both humans and animals. Besides being a great physical exercise, playing strengthens the bond between you and your dog, improves his social skills, keeps him busy and happy and stimulates him mentally.
Several studies have shown that dogs that play more often are less likely to suffer from behavioral problems like excessive barking. Therefore, make a choice from today to start playing with your dog. Examples of interactive plays you may want to try to engage in include the game of tug and fetch.
Teach Him New Tricks
No matter how many tricks your dog already know, he can still learn new ones. Go beyond the basics (such as lay down, come here or sit down) and teach him new and challenging commands or tricks to help boost his focus and confidence and give him a good brain workout.
Try any of these activities on your dog to give him the much-needed mental stimulation.