Dogs need both physical and mental stimulation. Just like humans, if your fur baby isn’t stimulated, he will get bored. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never let a dog get bored. Bad things happen when boredom strikes. When I say “bad things,” I mean, chewing things up (like my rug). My toy poodle, Gigi, can be a bit destructive if she isn’t stimulated. Sooooo … I make sure she is constantly entertained (or tired)!
Here are five great ways to stimulate your dog to make sure they are happy and content:
1) Work On A New Trick
A short 15-minute training session every day goes a long way. Think about it – every time you teach your dog a new trick, you are mentally challenging him/her. Dogs love a challenge and they love to learn new things. If you have a new puppy, start with the basic commands: sit, stay, down, come, etc. Once you have the basic commands down, move on to more advanced tricks: paw, roll over, etc. The amount of tricks you can teach your dogs is limitless. I mean, have you checked out the video of the dog who knows how to do laundry?
2) Play Games
Fetch is the big one in my house. My dogs can play fetch for hours. They would love if I never got any work done and just threw a toy across the room all day! Another great, simple, game to play with your dog is tug-of-war.
3) New Toys
Who doesn’t love getting new presents? When I come home with a big bag of toys from the pet store I am greeted with fast-wagging tails. It’s like they know the stuff in the bag is for them 🙂
If you are looking for toys to mentally stimulate your dog, there are actually board games and puzzles specifically designed for canines. Another great toy that will keep your pooch occupied for hours is a Kong.
4) Play Dates
I personally have two dogs, so they always have a friend to play with. BUT sometimes I schedule a special play date with my neighbor’s dog. They will chase each other around my home for a good 15-20 minutes. Then, after they catch their breath, they will grab some toys and play tug-of-war. Not only are they getting great exercise, they are mentally stimulating each other. Plus, if my neighbor tags along, we get to indulge in a nice glass of Pino Noir (double bonus)!
5) Run Errands With Your Pooch
A simple walk to the mailbox can occupy your pooch. If you’re dropping something off at a neighbor’s house or taking a quick trip to the local drive-thru, take your pup along for the ride. Whenever I run errands, I try to take my fur babies along with me. I figure, why should I make them sit home alone when they can get some fresh air and say hi to random people!
*Note: This is not encouraging you to leave your dog alone in the car. If I am stopping into a store that I can’t take my pups into, I make sure my boyfriend tags along and stays in the car with them. I am 100% against leaving my dogs in the car alone (no matter what the weather is like)!