Sure, you can walk your dog a million miles and they will be physically exhausted but what are they doing to exercise their mind? Lack of mental stimulation can lead to unwanted behaviors which can ultimately lead a dog to rescue and as much as we love rescuing dogs, we’d love for our pups to stay with their owners forever, if possible!
Signs Your Dog Isn’t Getting Enough Mental Stimulation
He digs excessively in the backyard.
Your neighbors complain that he barks all day while you’re gone.
He chews on anything and everything in the house.
He gets into the trash constantly.
He’s gaining weight.
He follows you around constantly when you are home.
There has been many great mentally stimulating food bowls invented that even have my brain thinking! This absolute easiest thing a pet owner can do to reduce boredom for her pooch is to leave him with some challenging dog feeders. A few of my favorites include these puzzle toys that dispense treats or food to your dog once he/she unlocks the mechanism for dispersion. I like to alternate between the following for my dog (click on the image to purchase):
I also highly recommend the Sniffle Mat. I know, it’s completely out of left field - like why didn’t I invent this but it’s completely awesome! One catch, your dog could potentially catch on faster then expected and basically takes away the purpose of the entire mat but thankful, my dog doesn’t catch on quickly (sorry, Deuce!). The reviews are meh - like I said, either your dog will figure it out and the mat will be a dud or he’ll stay busy for hours!
Who in the heck said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?! I just taught my husband how to change a toilet paper roll (totally kidding, kind of). In all seriousness, spending a few minutes per day reviewing tricks that they already know and learning new tricks will help stimulate their mind, especially if you have a breed that loves to please!
Here are some other dog enrichment ideas that have worked for us in the past.
Before letting your dog out in the backyard for some afternoon exercise and potty breaks, toss a handful of kibble into the yard. It gives them the opportunity to investigate the yard and put their nose to work!
A ride in the car is a great way to entertain your pup for a while. If you’re out running errands, bring him with you! More and more businesses and restaurants are welcoming pets to sit at your feet while you enjoy a coffee, and there are lots of stores that allow dogs on leashes for a stroll (Home Depot, Lowes, and Bass Pro Shops are all pup-friendly and very stimulating for dogs). Stay tuned for a guide to pet-friendly businesses in St. Cloud coming soon!
And thanks to Amazon, you can choose from a variety of stimulating feeders and toys to keep your pup happy and their mind healthy!
Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is just as important as keeping him physically fit. Dogs are intelligent animals that are just as much brain as they are brawn. A bored dog is a destructive dog, but these are countless ideas to keep your pups frontal lobe fired up.