Dogs, like people, get bored of the same routine. It is important to keep them mentally challenged and expose them to new things regularly. New challenges and experiences will keep your dog mentally sharp and happy. Here are some tips to keep your dog mentally challenged according to Wallys World of Dogs: Long Island Dog Training:
Introduce New Tricks
Every time you introduce a new trick in your dog’s training session, you give it a mental challenge. You can get new ideas from books, the internet, or by speaking to professional trainers. Sometimes, your dog’s temperament may also improve and it may become less anxious because of the mental challenges.
Run Errands With Your Dog
Make sure you involve your dog in all errands. Whether you are going to the mailbox, purchasing groceries or milk, or getting your car washed, take your dog everywhere. The new experiences and places will stimulate your dog’s brain and help it to stay mentally sharp.
Introduce your Dog to New Faces
Get your dog to meet new people and other dogs. This way, you will be introducing them to new sounds, smells, and sights. Take your dog to the dog park, where it will come face to face with several other dogs. This human and animal interaction will help the dog engage different senses.
Let your Dog Work for Its Food
Most of the time, we tend to put food in our dog’s bowl and place it down for it to lap it up. While there is nothing wrong with doing that, you will be giving up on an opportunity to stimulate your four-legged friend mentally. Dogs are natural scavengers and will take well to exciting elements in their feeding routine. If you can, change up your dog’s feeding routine. Try and make mealtime a fun game. Get a food-dispensing toy and let your dog play with it to find the food and eat.
Allow your Dog to Explore the Area During Walk Time
Going for a walk with you is one of the most exciting parts of your dog’s day. While walking is a great physical exercise, it can also mentally stimulate your dog and keep it sharp. Your dog will sniff around and explore the area on walks. Don’t stop it from doing so. While the walk may proceed slower than expected, it will also introduce your dog to new smells and sights. If you don’t want your dog to go around sniffing everyone and everything, then keep a designated area where you let it sniff around and explore. You will notice your dog is much more tired after a mentally stimulating walk and will also sleep well.
Introduce Nose Work Games
Some dogs love nose work games. These games require them to use their nose to find things. This way, dogs can hone in their natural skill of sniffing and finding things. You can throw food items and send your dog to hunt for them by sniffing them. It could be anything, from a bone, a treat, to pieces of carrots. Initially, begin with something that has a strong smell, and you can include other treats, as well, when your dog gets the hang of the game.
Create an Obstacle Course for your Dog
A good obstacle course will be a good mental workout for your dog. Let your dog find a way around the obstacles to reach from one point to another. You can teach your dog to jump over a broomstick, get its leash, pick up its blanket, or weave through cones. You can even make your own agility jumps or poles at home. Obstacle courses are a great mental stimulator because they need the dog to do one new thing after another.
Engage in Interactive Play with your Dog
No matter what you engage your dog with, it will love playing with you the most. Engaging in interactive play is one of the simplest ways to keep your dog mentally sharp. Many studies have found that a dog engaging in more playtime is less likely to suffer from behavioral issues. Play a game of fetch or tug of war with your fur baby. Not only will these games give your dog mental stimulation, but they will also strengthen your bond.
Mental stimulation can go a long way in improving your dog’s mental health and behavior. Speak to professional dog trainers to know how else you can mentally stimulate your dog.