Ask Away Blog: How to Stimulate Your Dog's Mind

How to Stimulate Your Dog's Mind

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

 

If you’re a dog owner, you’ll want to ensure your dog is fulfilled and as content as he or she possibly can be. In order to achieve that, you need to go the extra mile to ensure you’re keeping your dog stimulated mentally. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll become bored and behavioral issues can then arise.

So what can you do differently if you’re concerned that your dog isn’t currently getting the mental stimulation they require. It’s a tough question but there are lots of ways to approach this. Each of the ideas below will help you stimulate your dog’s mind and keep them happy.

Work on New Tricks

If you haven’t provided your dog with much obedience training, that’s definitely a good place to start. Working on tricks and obedience tasks is a good way to stimulate them. Training requires focus for dogs and they have to really use their brains to understand what’s required of them in various situations. Whether they’re trained or not, there’s always a new trick that you can try and teach them, so give this a try. They might enjoy it more than you expect.

Make An Obstacle Course in the Garden

Making an obstacle course for your dog to use is a great way to stimulate your dog in a new and interesting way. Not only does it confront them with challenges that they have to use their minds to overcome, but it also helps them get more exercise into their schedule. That’s why these kinds of courses and agility training tasks are seen as so important for so many dogs. They offer both physical and mental stimulation for the dog at the same time.

Take Them to Different Places

If you tend to walk your dog through the same old locations all the time, they’re not going to be as mentally stimulated as they would be if you were to take them to different locations and vary things up. New terrain offers new areas of interest, new smells and all kinds of new stimulation that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. So if you haven’t done so much up until now, try taking them to new places and explore them together.

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Use Interactive Toys

Using interactive dog toys is a great way to stimulate your dog's mind even as they play and have fun. Most dogs enjoy playing around with different toys, and they’ll obsess over that new toy for a while. But it quickly tends to lose their attention unless it does something different. They’re more likely to stay engaged and stimulated with an interactive toy that makes them think or requires something of them. So explore the options and try them out with your pet.

Let Them Explore More When Out and About

When you’re out and about with your dog, you should let them explore the landscape and sniff as much as they want. When you let them explore a little more, you give them the extra level of stimulation they’re looking for. Seeing and smelling new things is certainly a form of mental stimulation for your dog, so don’t pull them away too quickly. Give them the time and space they need in order to explore.

Encourage Them to Recognize Names

If you go out of your way to get your dog to learn to recognize the names of people and names that they can associate with certain activities or toys, they’ll make a big step forward in terms of mental stimulation. It’ll also make it easier for your dog to understand what you’re trying to communicate to them. And although they’re never going to talk back, they can at least get a better idea of what you’re trying to say.

Arrange Playdates with Other Dogs

It’s really important for dogs to be socialized because this is a core part of keeping them mentally stimulated. Interacting and playing with other dogs does them the world of good. And if they get used to doing this, they won’t be as hostile to other dogs they come into contact with. So arrange some playdates with dog owners you know and let both of your dogs benefit.

Choose a few or even all of the examples above and try them out with your dog if you want to offer them a little more in the way of mental stimulation. You’ll find that they love some of these exercises and others not so much because all dogs are different.



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