Mental stimulation for dogs is as essential as for humans. You must have experienced different comments from your friend when you went out for a walk with your four-legged canine friend. Do you take good care of your dog? Do you give it everything it demands? Is it eating well? Is your dog exercising well?
Especially if your dog is ill and is not giving an energetic look, it’s not out of the norm to face these types of comments.
The woe is, nobody questions its mental stimulation. Probably you’ll listen to this comment just once within a couple of months. In fact, its worth asking, as far as the matter of a happy dog is concerned. Mental stimulation is as important as physical stimulation for the well-being of your pup.
Let’s see why mental stimulation is necessary for a dog; explore the signs that tell that your dog needs mental stimulation and tips for mental stimulation for a dog.
Why is mental stimulation for dogs crucial?
You must have heard the maximum “business is the best happiness in the world.” This saying suits well, whether it’s a human or a dog. Similarly, it’s said that “a tired puppy is a happy puppy.” Let’s change the equation a little bit “A mentally stimulated puppy is a happy puppy.” Now it looks more meaningful.
You must not only think about tiring out your dog physically; it can enjoy a happy life only if it is both mentally and physically stimulated. A healthy brain helps a dog digest food more quickly and is less liable to heart issues.
A bored dog is stimulated to destructive behaviors like chewing the plastic items, shoes, shopping bags and digging the debris. It can lead to excessive barking and whining. It will not be able to enjoy a peaceful catnap. So, it’s necessary to keep your dog mentally stimulated and tired.
How to judge if your dog needs mental stimulation?
Whining, excessive barking with seemingly no reason, and chewing on plastic items indicate that it’s time to engage your dog mentally. If your dog is craving to seek your attention apparently for no reason, it means it’s feeling bored.
If you see your dog digs the lawn and debris more often, then it’s time to stimulate your dog mentally. If a dog is showing destructive behaviors and biting its nails, it’s time to burn its extra energy. The dogs that are in dire need of mental stimulation will yawn while not tired and sleepy.
So, if you notice all of these signs, you must schedule a time to provide mental stimulation activities to your dog.
Ten tips for mental stimulation for dogs
1-Let your dog sniff around
Dogs’ sniffing power is 40 times more powerful than ours, so they are good at sniffing naturally. Just like humans, if they don’t utilize their potential natural abilities, their innate skills seem to have fainted. The same is the case for dogs.
In ancient times, locating things by sniffing was not only limited to police dogs, but normal dogs were also good at sniffing. But now, their sniffing potential is rusted.
Research shows that a simple walk is not as effective as the walk accompanied by sniffing is. So, let your dog sniff around in the bushes or around the riverbank while walking. It’s the best mental stimulation for the dogs to return their lost sniffing potential.
2-Go find it
Don’t make your dog a silly fellow by setting up the table with everything on one plate. Hide its food at different spots, give a “GO FIND IT” command and let it explore the food by itself.
Similarly, if your dog demands any toy and treat, or is feeling thirsty, hide its accessories at different places to keep it both mentally and physically busy.
3-Play mental stimulation game
Puppy push-ups, running up and down the stairs, bounce and fetch, Bubble chaser, guess which hand, tug, and shell games are some of the best tricks for mental stimulation for dogs.
Games are as enticing for dogs as humans, so let them enjoy the games that are both physically and mentally good for them.
4-Buy toys for your dog
The market is full of toys for dogs, go and find an enticing toy for your dog to keep it mentally stimulated. Chewable toys are the best option in this case. It will help your dogs get rid of chewing shoes and biting the furniture.
5-Teach new tricks
Although you will not showcase your dog in a dog show, teaching it some tricks after a couple of days is fruitful. You can engage it to learn how to pass different obstacle courses like passing through a circle, agility jumps, poles, and crossing in your legs.
6-Let your dog assist you in your errands
Why bother to finish all the tasks yourself when you have an unpaid companion to assist you with your errands. The major perk is, it is more than happy to help you. Train your dog like a service dog who is always ready to help you.
Giving a job to the dog to finish is an effective mental stimulation for the dog. Let it find your shoes, and collect clothes for laundry.
7-Introduce new canine faces to your dog
Introducing new canine faces to the dogs gives them a chance to meet their mates, and they feel thrilled after visiting their canine friends. Instead, it’s the best option to introduce new sounds and sights.
8-Teach your dog new commands and names of things
Teach your dog all the basic commands like; sit and stand, in and out, no and yes, pick and drop. It should know the names of its food, toys, treats, and different things around it. Add one command and name after a couple of days.
9-Stimulate your puppy’s brain by providing things to chew on
Bully sticks, beef tendons, rawhide, raw lamb bone, lamb horn, beef ribs, beef hooves, and beef strips are the best natural foods for dogs to chew on, which proves best for the mental stimulation for dogs. Instead, you can try chewing toys.
Doggie treadmill is the best physical stimulation for the dog and mental stimulation as it demands too much focus and energy to stay in the same place. So, it will tire out your dog quickly but make sure your dog is first familiar with its sound.
First, try encouraging your dog to stand on a steady treadmill and then start it. Don’t forget to appreciate it by giving the treats.
Mental stimulation for dogs is as necessary as for humans. If you want to keep your dog happy and accompany you for a long time, engage it in different mind-stimulating activities. And all of these activities are not much difficult; you can easily train your dog to these activities at home just by giving some extra focus.
I hope the information from this article will help you take better care of your dog’s physical and mental health. If you have any questions, you can ask in the comments or through the mail.
Thank you for reading!