When we thinking of dogs and what they “need”, physical stimulation is generally the first thing that comes to mind. Owners who are experiencing behavioral issues with their dogs at home often say, “but he goes on a long walk everyday!”, not realizing that’s only addressing half of the problem.
Mental stimulation is also required in order to have a well balanced dog. Dogs have a brain and are capable of learning, so it makes sense that they would get mentally bored. A dog that is bored is going to find something to entertain himself….your couch, the corners of your table, the mail that comes through the slot, the tempting trash can in the kitchen and pretty much anything else they can get their paws and teeth into.
Think back to the origins of dog breeding, dogs were bred for different tasks; Dachshunds were bred to burrow into badger holes, Labrador Retrievers were bred to work along side fisherman and assist in bringing in the nets and Siberian Huskies were bred to be sled dogs. Classified as a “working group” dog, Siberian Huskies are notorious for their strong prey drive and desire to wander. They often channel their inner Harry Houdini and will go searching for adventure if one isn’t provided to them. Each breed originated from the need to accomplish a task, this is bred into our animals, and yet we require no “work” from them.
Here are three easy ways to keep your dog mentally stimulated:
- Bring them to Camp– Camp gives dogs physical and mental stimulation as it engages all their senses, there’s plenty to smell and hear and lots of friends to play with!
- Use mental stimulation toys such as Kongs, puzzle feeders and other “thinking” toys.
- Practice basic obedience commands at home-this will ensure you have a well trained dog and also that your dogs brain is stimulated. 10 minutes of mental stimulation is equivalent to 30 minutes of physical exercise!