“A tired dog is a good dog.”
As dog moms, we know that a tired dog is not only a good dog but she’s also a happy dog. Our dogs like to stay busy, and that means more than just physical activity. It means encouraging them to use their brains to learn new things and experience all that the world has to offer.
If you’re wondering how you can help your dog stay happy, busy, and always learning, check out these 6 ways to mentally stimulate your dog.
6 Ways to Mentally Stimulate Your Dog
1. Take your dog for a walk… and allow her to sniff.
There’s a great big, beautiful world out there and your dog wants to experience it all! When you’re walking your dog, be sure to allow her plenty of time to sniff and explore.
It’s also a great idea to switch up your walk route every now and then. Exploring new neighborhoods or even just taking your usual route in reverse will help mentally stimulate your dog. She’ll also love all the new smells, sights, and sounds when you venture into a new area.
2. Let your dog accompany you when you run errands.
If your dog is anything like mine, the words “let’s go for a ride” will always prompt a lot of excitement. Take your dog with you when you run errands to lift her spirits and allow her to experience the world. There are lots of dog-friendly places to shop where your dog will be welcome. Just be sure to never leave your dog alone in a car, even for “just a minute”.
3. Play games with your dog.
Your dog will love playing games like hide and seek, tug of war, and treasure hunt, and these games are great for exercising your mutt’s brain. It’s also a great way for you to spend a little one-on-one time with your pet. Check out this article for 10 games that your dog will love to play with you!
4. Make your dog work for her food.
Dogs are natural scavengers with built-in skills for hunting their food. Rather than just set a bowl of food in front of your dog, why not put a little mental stimulation on the menu with an automatic food dispenser. Not only will this make mealtime more interesting for your dog, but it will also provide improved digestion, reduced bloating, reduced separation anxiety, and reduced behavioral issues. Who doesn’t want that!
5. Keep your dog’s toys fresh and interesting
Just like the two-legged variety, our four-legged kids can get tired of playing with the same toys every day. That’s why it’s important to keep things interesting. Rotate your dog’s current toys every couple of weeks and be sure to add lots of new, interactive joys. Providing your pooch with toys that challenge her brain will keep her busy and engaged, leaving less time for her to become bored or destructive.
6. Teach your dog a new trick.
Never let it be said that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s so not true. Dogs love to learn new things, regardless of their age, and learning something new is a great mental stimulator. Not sure where to start? Check out this list of 52 tricks to teach your dog.
How do you mentally stimulate your dog? I’d love for you to tell me all about it in a comment below, or better yet, stop by myFacebook page and join in the conversation there.