All pet lovers will agree that walking your dog every day will be an excellent physical exercise for them! As much as physical activity is essential, we must also remember to stimulate our dog's mental health as well.
Mental stimulation helps your dog stay happy and healthy! Whenever dogs are bored, they tend to feel anxious and lonely often. And we don't want this to happen, right? And because of dogs' natural instincts, they enjoy hunting and scavenging, which means they'd love it if you keep them busy. According to furbo.com, dogs need opportunities to solve problems and exercise their minds and bodies every day, even when they're left alone.
My dog, Asher, loves to go jogging, hiking, and even paddleboarding with me. He joins all our beach adventures and road trips too. During these activities, I make sure that I prepare something that will aid his mental stimulation.
The easiest way is to go for long walks in the park or run some errands at the supermarket. But instead of the normal routine, allow your dog to wander and smell the bushes, get friendly with another dog, or even do some scavenging hunt. This way, your dog will experience something new!
Spend at least 5 to 15 minutes a day to teach your dog something new. Dogs can learn through daily training because it reinforces your desired response when they practice it every day. You can teach them the "retrieve" and the "drop it" command first, and when they master this, you can move to more complicated tricks. Do not forget to praise them and give them their favorite treats when they do the job well. I swear your dog will love you for this!
Just like the normal hide-and-seek game that we played as kids, you can also do this with your dog. Hide in another room and call your dog's name so your dog can find you. I promise that your dog will be thrilled during this activity! You can also do another game where you'll hide his favorite treats in different areas of the house, and his mission is to find them.
This option is perfect if you plan to go out and don't want your dog to be alone in the house. Doggie Daycares are ideal places for your dog to make new friends and engage in fun activities. Just make sure that your dog is okay with you not being around, and he knows how to respond to other dogs. But if your dog has a medical condition or he's not comfortable with other dogs, I suggest looking for another option aside from daycare.
Every once in a while, gather your dog lover friends and set a playdate. This event can be a walk in the park, a picnic date, or even a mini-tournament to allow your dogs to exercise and play with each other. Socializing with other dogs will be great to stimulate your dog's social skills too!
How do you give your dog mental exercise? Do you take time to play with them and ensure they are always active and mentally stimulated?