Dogs need to be mentally stimulated to be happy. Even more so in these days when we are living, in which walks and physical activity have been reduced. Here are a few exercises to keep your dog’s brain active and well entertained.
The games listed below, as well as entertaining your dog, will enhance his intelligence and promote your bond. Most movie therapists in popular essay topics about dogs recommend using games to stimulate your pet’s intellectual abilities.
To play them, you need edible treats, imagination, and a desire to enjoy time with your dog.
1. Smell carpet
If you have a slightly thickly furred carpet, you can ask your dog to sit down while you spread some treats on it. Then you can give a signal to activate and start tracking with smell and sight and eat them.
If you don’t have a carpet, you can use several towels and take advantage of some folds to hide the treats better. You can also make other dog sniffing games.
2. Hide and seek
Choose one of your dog’s favorite toys or an edible treat that you know he loves, show it to your dog and hide it in a room, leaving him outside momentarily while he waits. Then let him come in and look for the toy. This exercise will encourage the search and crawl instinct.
Make sure you hide the toy or prize in a safe place, so your dog doesn’t hurt himself when he goes looking for it.
3. Avoiding obstacles
Choose a toy that your dog will like very much and sweep the path to him with different obstacles. The idea is to get him to think about how to get around them to get to the toy. Position the challenges so that your dog has to go around them, underneath them, or jump over them, for example. The idea is to increase his ability to solve problems.
4. Interactive toys
Interactive toys are used to give your dog a mental challenge to solve: he’ll have to find a way to get the edible treats that the toy hides inside. To do this, he will need to use his paws, his mouth, etc.
In the toy section of the website or the Mascoteros app, you have super exciting interactive toys and games to choose from.
Take three glasses (preferably plastic so they can’t be broken) and hide a prize in one of them. Show it to your dog, let smell it, and then move the cups as a hatchet-man would, and let nose choose where the prize is.
With these five simple games, you have a great time at home entertaining your dog. You can progressively raise the level of each exercise, but try not to overdo it because if you overdo it, your dog will get frustrated and lose interest in the game.
Why is mental stimulation necessary for your dog?
Dogs are intelligent animals, and they need daily challenges. In fact, throughout the ages, dogs have traditionally been animals that have accompanied humans in various tasks (hunting, herding, guarding, etc.). All those jobs involved constant mental activation. Today, our dogs still need cognitive challenges, even if they live in a flat and no longer go out every day to “work.”
Mental stimulation is positive because:
- It fights boredom.
2. It keeps stress and anxiety levels at bay.
3. It helps prevent behavioral problems such as excessive barking or destruction of objects.
It is a solution against boredom.
In nature, the senses most used by dogs are smell and hearing. And all new olfactory and auditory stimuli arouse their interest and keep them mentally active.
These days of confinement, our dogs have to make do with the smells and sounds of home, because walks have become shorter and positively less stimulating. So we have an opportunity to stimulate those two senses by doing some exercises indoors.
Combat stress and behavioral problems
Boredom and lack of mental stimulation can lead to stress and frustration. It’s like when a child is asked to be quiet for too long.
Doing some exercises to activate the mind helps to regulate stress and anxiety levels, which are the leading causes of some behavioral problems such as:
- Excessive barking
- Constant attention to detail
- Reactivity and even aggressiveness etc.
Playing activates the mind.
Canine intelligence is surprising and, according to some studies, comparable to that of a two-year-old.
Dogs are capable of making decisions, solving problems, and understanding concrete concepts. Therefore, we can take advantage of something as simple as a play to stimulate all these abilities. Because, while playing, the dog makes decisions, solves challenges, and tests its ability to understand situations.
Playing is innate to all dogs. The tendency that all dogs have to perform is developing their instinctive behaviors: hunting, searching, tracking, hiding, chasing. It can become a handy tool to promote cognitive ability.