How to Provide Mental Stimulation for Your Dog

People often focus on giving their dog physical exercise but don’t realise mental stimulation is important too. Have you ever taken your dog on a really long walk and they still come home and want to play? They may be physically tired after their walk but they also need to work their mind.

A lack of mental stimulation can cause dogs to become bored, destructive and extremely frustrated. They need to keep their minds active to stay happy and healthy. There are lots of different ways you can provide mental stimulation for your dog. Here are a few ideas to get you
started.

Canine sports

If you have a very active dog then canine sports are ideal. They test your dog’s mind and provide them with a challenge. Perhaps one of the most challenging canine sports is agility, where your dog needs to navigate through different obstacles by following your commands. It’s great fun for both you and your dog is particularly good for very smart dogs that need to constantly work their mind. Other options include Flyball, Cani X and a new dog sport from Germany called Treibball.

Play

Play is an excellent way of engaging your dog’s brain. Play is an important for your dog’s physical and mental health. You can use toys such as chew toys, tug of war toys and kongs to encourage your dog to play. Playing with other dogs is also a fantastic way for your dog to burn some energy, keep their brain active and most importantly have some fun.

There are lots of different games you can play with your dog to provide them with mental stimulation. Scent and retrieval games where your dog has to think are ideal. You can also buy board games, puzzles and interactive games that are designed especially for dogs.

Walks

Don’t just take your dog on exactly the same walk every day. Try taking them on walks to new places. They will enjoy exploring new environments and finding lots of new smells. Swap your usual walk to the local dog park for a trip to the woods or a walk round your local town for a change.

Time with other dogs

Spending time with other dogs will help to provide your dog with the mental stimulation they need. Simply interacting with another dog forces your dog to use their brain. Make sure your dog gets to socialise with other dogs on a regular basis.

Training and obedience

Just a few minutes of obedience training can leave some dogs feeling very tired. This is because it gets them to work their mind and requires a lot of concentration. Spend a bit of time doing training and obedience with your dog every day if you want to keep their mind active and have a well behaved dog.

Day trips

Taking your dog out and about is a great way to work their mind. Going on an adventure to a new place is very exciting for dogs. Taking in a new environment will stimulate their senses and help to keep their brain busy. It’s great fun taking your dog out and about so don’t leave them behind when
you go on your next weekend trip or day out.

Daycare

All the dogs that come to our daycare centre benefit from mental stimulation. They get to play and interact with lots of other dogs, meet new people and take advantage of our fantastic facilities. Your dog will definitely get the mental stimulation they need if they come to daycare a few days a week. We provide mental stimulated activities and structured exercise for all the dogs in our care.