It is important to remember dogs are intelligent animals and for some breeds especially mental stimulation can be crucial for their development and well being, in turn will also help to build your bond with your dog.
For some, a bored dog can also turn into a destructive or noisy dog as they begin to find their own entertainment, which could potentially lead a variety of behavioural problems. Providing enrichment for your dog does not need to be expensive, it just needs to keep their brain active and be enough to hold their attention.
If you have a garden, scatter some of their kibble or a few extra treats in various places around the grass, giving them the chance to sniff and hunt out the food. Kong toys are also a great way to provide stimulation, they can be filled with your dog’s favourite treat and your dog can be safely left on their own while they attempt to work out how to remove the treats. Kong’s are also extremely durable meaning they can be washed and used over and over again.
Change up the walking routine
Daily walks can get a little mundane if you’re going the same route everyday. Switch it up by exploring new a new park and changing your pace. Allowing your dog to smell their surroundings adds mental stimulation. They’re not just visual creatures – they learn a lot from all those interesting smells. Giving them the opportunity to sniff around adds a lot of great mental stimulation.
Puzzle feeders can also make dinner time more entertaining, they are designed in various ways to ensure your dog has to work out different methods to get their food, they can also be helpful for dogs who eat too fast and need help with slowing down their eating habits.
Why not spend an twenty minutes a day teaching your dog a new trick, for breeds such as collies this can be especially rewarding, along with the basic sit or leave, why not teach them to high five or roll over? If you also have young children get them involved with training to help build their bond with the dog as well as teaching them how to be a responsible dog owner.
Organise a doggy date
If you have a friend or neighbour with a dog, why not mix up your dog’s walk by bringing a friend or let them have a play date at home. As much as dog’s love interacting with people, they also love engaging with their own kind and it crucially important for learning in puppies and younger dogs.
If both your dog and yourself are quite active why not consider taking up agility? Many towns have agility groups that take on new members and some dogs really thrive in these classes. (We would advise your Veterinary Surgeon assesses that your dog is healthy and able to take on an agility class)
A mentally and physically stimulated dog is a happy dog and depending on the breed you may find some need more than others, therefore when considering getting a dog this is something you should look in to, to ensure you are correctly suited for all the breed’s needs.