How to Exercise Your Dog Mentally, Not Just Physically
How to Exercise Your Dog Mentally, Not Just PhysicallyHave you ever asked yourself, how do I make sure I give my dog enough exercise, mentally and physically? In this article we talk about a couple of cool ways to make sure your beloved pup is well exercised! Chloe just LOVES to chase her ball around the yard or go for long walks, which are great ways for her to get much-needed physical activity. But what about exercise for mental stimulation? Dogs who don't get enough mental stimulation can display all types of unwanted and undesirable behaviors. Many agree that dogs need both mental and physical activity to keep them from getting bored and to help get them fully tired by the end of the day. In fact, time spent in mentally stimulating activities can make a dog even more tired than physical activity! No, Sadie isn't going to sit down with the New York Times crossword or figure out a Sudoku puzzle, but there ARE activities you can do to get her brain working...and wear her out in the process! Walks and playing fetch combine physical with some mental activity; for instance, when playing fetch, your pup will be focused on that object, so that of course takes brain power. Even walks can be mentally stimulating, especially when you go different routes so new smells and sights can be explored. So what else can you do to tax your canine's brain?
Think, Dog, Think!
Making your dog work for food or a treat is a great way to get Buster's gears turning. Hiding treats and making your dog sniff and search really makes them work their gray matter while exercising their powerful sense of smell. Nose work games are stimulating exercises that can really wear a puppy down. You might try by starting out with a treat in a Kong and advancing to more complex challenges, such as having dogs find treats in boxes, in old shoes, or buried in blankets. Interactive toys that dispense food in creative ways are increasingly popular; there are many on the market and these are effective ways to keep your dog mentally challenged. Of course any dog will work hard for a treat! Teaching them new tricks is a great way to mentally stimulate dogs as well. Work on simple ones like sit and work up to "Stay", "Heel" and "Roll Over". Great bonding time and exercises that work the mind! Even a simple game of Hide and Seek (yes, that game you played on summer nights with your friends) can be stimulating for Champ. Once you've taught him "Stay", keep him in one room while you go hide, then call out to him. Still another way to have fun with your buddy while keeping his mind sharp!
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Written by Harrison Howe