Has your dog ever chewed on your personal belongings? Shoes, cables, furniture, or clothes?
Many dog owners tend to perceive this kind of puppy behaviour as cute and playful. However, when you read between the lines, you’ll notice that what seems like regular dog antics might actually be pointing towards an issue of concern.
These actions are a sign of a lack of physical and mental stimulation for dogs. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to incorporate activities into you and your pet’s daily routine. At the end of the day, this will result in a more balanced, harmonious relationship.
In this post, we will share why physical and mental stimulation for dogs is necessary and tips on strengthening the bond you two share.
Tips on How to Provide Mental Stimulation for Dogs
Exerting effort into providing mental stimulation for dogs is an important way of helping them work off excess energy. Dogs that are understimulated can display undesirable behaviours, and if left unnoticed, under-stimulation can cause long-term mischief. As a pet owner, you need to make sure that your dog is part of the daily flow of your life so they don’t feel isolated and end up begging for attention.
Here are examples of ways how you can incorporate mental stimulation for dogs.
Training and Practice
Dogs benefit from new challenges and learning experiences. On your end, it takes patience and repetition for your pet to learn a new habit, which means that you would have to put in the extra effort to train your dog and practice the tricks frequently. Training and constant practice is an ideal form of mental stimulation for dogs. There are many tricks you can teach your dog, and basic, food-stimulated ones such as “paw,” “sit,” and “stay” are great places to start. Once your dog starts showing obedience, make sure to reward them with a treat for doing a good job!
Sniffing and Hunting
Dogs possess a powerful ability to smell, which means that their favourite mental stimulation is to sniff around where there’s a wide array of scents. If you reside in an area close to nature such as hills, woods, or the beach, walk your dog into these areas and see how excited they get. Taking your dog on hunting trips can also be an option for mental stimulation for dogs, as they get to make use of their sniffing skills. When you take your dog hunting, be sure to follow guidelines and restrictions in the areas you wish to visit.
Provide and Hide Toys
If your time is limited and you can’t get outside, you can still practice activities at home that enhance mental stimulation for dogs. There are tons of dog mental stimulation toys available online, or you can buy one from your local retailer. These toys are puzzles, and your dog loves to crack the code – usually to get to the much-anticipated treat that awaits them!
Dogs also love to search and find things — and playing hide and seek might just become one of your pet’s new favourite mental stimulation activities! You can hide their favourite toy somewhere in the yard, which will keep them busy for a long time. Keep in mind that engaging with you and their immediate surroundings is the best form of mental stimulation for dogs.
Tips on How to Maintain Physical Stimulation
Physical activities are just as important as mental stimulation for dogs. Exercise is key to maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints. It is also an ideal way to keep their major organs functioning properly. Well-exercised dogs not only look good, but they also feel good and tend to live longer, healthier lives. Exercise works off excess energy so they can focus on acting more behaved at home.
Here are examples of physical stimulation practices for your dog.
Take Your Dog Swimming
Swimming is a great physical exercise for dogs. If you are lucky enough to live near a lake or ocean, you can take this opportunity to have regular swimming dates with your pup. Not only does your dog get to frolic around the water, but you also get to enjoy a much-needed break. Incorporate other activities while swimming by playing fetch with water-safe balls or toys that you can use to play catch.
Run With Your Dog
You probably notice your dog doing the “zoomies” when they have too much energy. Why not harness this energy by taking your dog with you during your morning or afternoon run? This way, the two of you can enjoy some outdoor time together. It’s also an excellent way to increase your dog’s stamina and strength. However, it is important to keep in mind that you should be willing to pause when your dog shows signs of exhaustion or when your dog wants to sniff around other dogs. It is your dog’s outing, after all!
An age-old way to give physical and mental stimulation for dogs is by playing catch. Once you have taught your dog how to bring back something you have thrown, you can play catch in more challenging ways, such as throwing a small football across your yard or in areas where your dog can run freely and come back to you.
Need More Tips for Mental Stimulation for Dogs?
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If you need more tips on how to provide physical and mental stimulation for your dogs, feel free to reach out. Contact us today for more information, or visit our blog to gain more insight on how to be a dog parent.