When we think about what kind of exercise our dogs need, physical workouts are usually the first thing people consider. However, our furry friends need a mental activities as much as they need physical ones. Historically, canines would have to navigate various terrains, hunt for their food, and think strategically in the wild. With a couple of great brain exercises to challenge your dog, you’ll keep your companion happier and healthier!
Take a Training Class
Some owners may wonder why mental exercise matters. After all, most house pets have the luxury of living a pampered life; which is actually at the heart of the problem. Without mental stimulation, dogs may exhibit signs of boredom or even anxiety. Some dogs in need of mental exercise get a little too enthusiastic. Julius K9 has some great tips on calming an overly excitable pup that any dog owner can thrive from.
In obedience school, trainers challenge a dog’s mind with new commands, which builds a dog’s confidence. The more your dog understands, the less likely they are to exhibit negative behaviors like over-excitement.
Online resources like Adrienne Farricelli’s Brain Training for Dogs is an excellent resource you can implement right at home. She’s a professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer whose methods are force-free and gentle (positive reinforcement).
Keep Games Engaging
Most dogs love a good old-fashioned game of fetch. Why not make playtime even more exciting with a round of hide-and-seek? Or teach your dog the names of their toys and train them to grab each one on command.
Most canine experts will tell you that mental stimulation heightens a dog’s mind. The right games keep your dog thinking so your canine buddy can utilize its natural instincts.
Build an Obstacle Course
What better way to work your dog’s mind (and body) than with an obstacle course? Let creativity take over and use household objects to create blockades and more for your dog to navigate. You could have your dog jump over a broom or through a hula hoop.
If you decide to do this, remember that navigating the course may take some time. Your dog may be a little scared at first, but with plenty of praise and a few tasty treats, your pup will run the course in no time!
Go on a Walk
If you plan to go for a run or hike, then take your dog with you! Sniffing out new places stimulates their brain and introduces them to unexplored territory. Best yet, this gives the two of you more time to bond as you put your minds and bodies to work!
Keeping your dog’s mind engaged is important, so remember to set aside plenty of time for play. The only thing limiting the list of great brain exercises to challenge your dog is your imagination. While you could introduce new games for playtime, you could also go on more walks or take a trip to the dog park. As long as you stimulate their mind, your pooch is sure to feel happy!