Sit, down, stay, speak! Those are the cues we tend to focus on teaching our puppies, but well-rounded training should focus on both the behavioral responses, and their mental and emotional state. If dogs could talk, they’d probably say “I’m bored” a few times a day, but since they can’t we find them chewing on our furniture or shoes, and misbehaving in other mischievous ways around the house.
Have you thought about why they react this way?
Believe it or not, the answer may be as simple as, your dog is not mentally stimulated enough. Instead of adding more physical exercise to your dog’s routine to try and calm them down, we recommend adding in some mental enrichment activities to alleviate their boredom and stress.
Keeping a dog mentally stimulated is one of the best ways to keep them happy, calm, and relaxed. Listed below are a few of our favorite enrichment activities!
4 Ways to Give Your Dog More Mental Stimulation
Work For the Food
Meal time is your pet’s favorite part of the day no doubt, but instead of just handing over their food and letting them devour it, try making them work for it a little bit. Our dogs usually have it pretty easy when it comes to meal time, so changing up their feeding routine and making a fun game out of it with a food dispensing toy can be mentally enriching and stimulating.
Play the Scent Game
Dogs’ noses are natural wonders! They are uniquely structured and can pick up the faintest of scents. Nosework teaches your dog how to problem solve, and it can help them gain confidence and independence.
Nosework is also exhausting. Got a hyperactive dog? Rather than constantly amping him up with more and more exercise (like fetch), try nosework. Problem-solving is exhausting (remember how you felt after the SAT, ACT, or a big day at work?). Pair that with the soothing effects of sniffing, and nosework is one of the most powerful tools out there for soothing a hyperactive dog.
All dogs can do nosework.
The best part yet is that even if your dog is blind, deaf, three-legged, or all three, she can do nosework. This is great for dogs with hip issues, older dogs, or shy dogs. Aggressive dogs can also get great exercise without putting others at risk
The scent game is simple, just hide their favorite smelly treats in secret spots and then let them loose to find them.
Obstacle Course Challenge
Backyards and routine walks can only offer so much enjoyment and enrichment for your dogs, so we highly recommend occasionally challenging your dog with an obstacle course. Weave poles, tunnels, and jumps are a great way to mentally and physically enrich your puppy to help kill two birds with one stone.
Visit PawHootz Pet Resort
At PawHootz Pet Resort, we understand that selecting the right care for your pet is an important decision. That’s why we continue to expand and improve our programs based on our commitment to keeping your loved ones happy, healthy and safe while in our care.
Our Enrichment Daycare is designed to provide an enhanced level of hands-on care and mental stimulation to meet the unique needs and characteristics of each pup. Our Enrichment Coordinators will play learning, scent tracking, and brain games with your pup. They will also enjoy water-themed play, arts and crafts, and much more. We’ll balance these fun learning experiences with yummy treats, puzzles, and rest time in between.
You can learn more about the benefits of enrichment care for your pet’s in one of our blogs or you can contact us to learn more!