9 Unique Activities to Help Stimulate Your Dog
Everyone knows that dogs need exercise on a regular basis and that walking dogs is a common activity. However, exercising a dog’s mental capabilities is just as important as physical exercise. The smarter the dog is, the more important this becomes. However, all dogs need to use their minds including their genetically determined personality traits. They also enjoy sensory stimulation just like people do.
9 Unique Activities Your Dog Will Love
These are a variety of activities that range from direct contact with your dog to activities that work well when you are not at home. Consider the breed(s) of your pet and which activities will most engage them. Your dog’s training will affect their ability to have fun too. Finally, reserve certain toys for those times when your dog is alone. They’ll last longer, both physically and as a mental stimulation.
You can hide in the house but it’s much better to go to some woods nearby. One person holds the dog while the other runs and hides. This is an excellent way to let dogs use all their senses. They track ‘game’, have the joy of running with their pack, and can reunite with ‘missing’ pack members. Then they switch to a different scent and get to do it all over again.
Learn A New Trick
Training is a great way to maintain discipline and stimulate your dog. Use familiar commands but add new ones too. The goal is to give them the stimulation of the mental journey that will eventually bring them to knowing something new. It might be picking up toys, learning new words, or signaling when the school bus is coming for the kids.
Plan walks around the times that other dog owners are walking and let the dogs get to know each other. You might even plan supervised “playdates” with them. Extended family can be a great support in this, but neighbors may live closer.
Trixie Dog Toys are puzzles designed for dogs. Dogs get to open things, knock things over, solve mysteries, and try new problem-solving skills.
Tug-A-Jug is another toy that keeps dogs active and busy. This toy has a couple steps to it and could be called a game.
You can often make your own versions of commercial toys using items around the house that would be safe for your dog.
Put treats in a muffin tin and then place a tennis ball into each cup. The dog has to figure out how to get the balls out and get their reward.
Use a tennis ball that has a slit cut into it so that it holds treats and gives a dog something to do on a rainy day. It’s a homemade Kong toy in case your real Kong is missing!
Saving empty paper towel rolls lets you hide treats inside and fold the ends closed. The dog gets to tear into their “prey” and find the treat inside.
You can half-bury a plastic bin in your yard, fill it with play sand, and bury toys in it. Your digger will be grateful!
Mental Stimulation For Better Health and Behavior
Dogs thrive where they are engaged. Mixed breeds may not feel the pull of their genetic traits but they still enjoy having a job. Purebreds often have an intense drive to herd, fetch, guard, dig, or do other activities. Helping them practice those traits makes everyone happier. Leaving a dog to come up with their own mental stimulation can be a really bad idea. Here are some general results that follow when you help your dog to be happy:
- You reduce their boredom and anxiety.
- You channel the energy of any genetic personality traits they have.
- You really enjoy the company of your dog and exercise your own mind, too!