It’s pretty well known that bored dogs cause problems. If you don’t keep your dog’s mind stimulated, chances are that he’ll find activities to stimulate his mind, himself. And you won’t like those activities.
A dog that is mentally stimulated on a daily basis is a happy dog. And happy dogs don’t cause dog problems.
Here’s a quick list of how to keep your dog mentally stimulated:
- Exercise. Lots of exercise. If you can incorporate exercise with another activity such as playing, “Find the ball,” or doing some agility exercises, then that’s even better.
- Brain teaser toys. I’ll be adding some of these to our web site store, later next week. There are a number of cool toys that actually challenge your dog’s mind.
- Small rituals done at the same time of day, every day. For example; feeding time, grooming, walks, “cookie” time, car trips around town, etc…
- Dogs like to work. Teach your dog to bring in the newspaper, carry mail back from the mailbox or to walk out with you when you take the trash out. (Whenever I go through the drive-thru window at McDonald’s, Charlie – my dog – gets to carry the trash bag to the trash receptacle when we’re finished. Sound silly, right? But the dog loves it!)
- Do obedience training with your dog. Obedience training requires your dog to use his brain and think. Knowing that he will be praised for making the right decision and corrected for making the wrong decision (and allowed the opportunity to make the right decision again) instills a sense of responsibility in your dog and demands that he use his noggin. Remember: Dogs are bred to work. They’ve been blessed with super-human instincts and drives and they need an outlet for those drives.
That’s my top 5 for now. Thanks for reading. More later…