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Even the most inexperienced dog owner knows the importance of exercising your pooch. It’s important to burn off excess energy and keep their bones and muscles strong. However, what frequently gets overlooked by pet owners is the need to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Here’s how to keep your dog mentally fit!
The Importance of Mental Fitness
Dogs are active animals who need regular exercise, not just to work their bodies, but also their minds. Boredom in dogs can lead to a variety of negative behaviors such as whining, digging and chewing. But a mentally stimulated dog who isn’t bored will live a happier life. Mentally fit pups even experience less separation anxiety!
Ways to Keep Your Dog Mentally Fit
Simply taking your dog for a walk is a great way to work their body and brain. Dogs love your company. Going on a walk is an excellent bonding experience for you both. On your walk, your dog gets to use their incredibly powerful nose. Their nose is like a second pair of eyes for them. Exploring the world with their nose is a terrific mental workout. Leaving the house presents all kinds of new sights and smells. You might also run into other pooches. Quality time with other dogs is also good mental stimulation since dogs are social creatures. As long as your pup isn’t dog-reactive, interacting with other dogs is a good opportunity for your pooch to brush up on their socialization skills.
Playing games with your dog is another way to keep your dog mentally fit, and it can be fun for both of you! The Chuckit Kick Fetch puts a new spin on playing fetch or a game of kick with your pet. And the Wickedbone chew toy is fully automated to keep your dog occupied for hours. It plays with your dog for you!
Puzzles are good mental stimulation for your dog and don’t require you to be an active participant. They’re great for keeping your pet busy when you’re running errands or doing paperwork. The Buster Dog Maze makes your pup go through a maze to get treats or food. This puzzle is perfect if you need your dog to eat slower. The Andiker Fun Feeder bowl is also good during mealtime. Some toys are just like human puzzles, such as this brick treat puzzle. And this interactive squirrel den dog toy lets you hide squeaky toys in a plush stump for your dog to find. You can also try treat-dispensing puzzle toys from Arf Pets, West Paw or Starmark.
If you have a bored dog, you can also try training them with tricks and agility. Ultimately, dogs very much want to please us. When they perform a command well, this makes them happy. It’s even better when they get a treat for a reward! Learn how to teach your dog a variety of tricks with 101 Dog Tricks, a training book. Once you’ve mastered that, set up an agility course for your pup.
What do you do to keep your dog mentally fit? Let us know on Facebook!