There is no dispute that dogs need physical exercise. But did you know that’s not all they need? Dogs also need mental stimulation in order to keep their minds sharp. While physical exercise is important, mental exercise is, too. Here are six ways to mentally challenge your dog.
Teach Them a New Trick
If your pup already knows the basics – like sit, stay, down, and come – why not teach them a new one? You can try paw, rollover, speak, or even more advanced ones like teaching them the names of their toys. Having them learn a new trick provides them with a mental challenge and you get to watch as your pup learns something new!
DIY Puzzle Toys
While dogs love their standard toys – like plush toys or rubber bones – they aren’t always the most mentally stimulating. So, why not make your own? All you’ll need is a muffin tin, tennis balls, and treats. Place one or two treats in the empty tins and cover the rest of the spaces with tennis balls. Then, let your dog find the treats! You can work on how fast they can find the treats and gradually increase the intensity of the game.
Take Them On Errand Runs
Bringing your dog on even the smallest errand run – like to the mailbox or to a friend’s house – will provide your pup with new and exciting stimulants. The foreign sights and sounds provide mental stimulation and will teach your dog important social skills. Even taking them on short car rides will help with mentally challenge your pup.
Give Them a Job
If there’s one things dogs love, it’s having a job. Dogs are bred to herd and hunt. If they don’t have a job to do, they become bored and restless. So, try engaging your pup in some sports – like agility or Flyball – or even just a game of fetch in the backyard. Taking them on hikes or swims will help tire them out and keep them mentally fit.
Meet New People
When a dog meets a new person or dog, they are introduced to new sounds, sights, and scents. Try taking them to the local dog park or even a new park where they don’t know anyone. You can also take them to friends’ houses, restaurants, or shops and let them explore their new surroundings.
Buy Them New Toys
Dog can get bored of the same things day in and day out. So, try rotating their toys. Have some extra toys on hand so when they get tired of their current one, you can toss them a new one. Depending on how easily they get bored, you may have to change them weekly! New toys will force your pup to figure out how to chew it or play with it – providing the ultimate mental stimulation.
While physical exercise is absolutely important, mental exercise is just as imperative. Like humans, dogs can become bored rather easily and don’t always have the proper outlets to express their boredom. So, providing them with mental challenges keep them happy and healthy.
One of the best ways to keep them mentally and physically fit is to give them daily walks. If you aren’t always able to walk your pup as much as you’d like, let For Your Spot help. We provide completely customizable dog walking services perfect for busy humans. Learn more about our services here.