Dogs are intelligent creatures and capable of learning. Just like us, dogs can get bored with the same old routine and activity. Just as important as taking them for walks and exercising them, we should also keep our dogs mentally challenged and frequently exposed to new things. Bored dogs, like bored humans, can develop counter-productive and destructive behaviors. Bored dogs also have the tendency to direct their negative energy on other things like your furniture, sofa or bedsheet.
There are several activities that can stimulate the minds of your dogs and help them to be smart. Here are just a few of the creative ways you can give your dogs their mental exercise:
1. Break the routine and work on a new trick
Every time your dog is involved in a training session with you, you are providing your pooch with a mental challenge. Look around your house or the dog’s familiar of something out of the ordinary and look for a way to have new tricks your dog can work on. If your dog has been repeatedly exposed to the same instruction of sit, stay and roll over, and you think it’s ready to move past the basic commands, then you can ask for a professional dog trainer ideas for new tricks and training ideas. You can also check out books or scan the Internet for useful tips on working on a new trick with your dog.
2. Take dog games or toys to a new level
Start with a gradual transition to more complex and stimulating games for your dog. You can purchase a doggie board game, a canine puzzle or a stacking ring to challenge your pup. You can design or improvise toys that can hide doggie treats and toys for them to look for. You can step up the difficulty level by hiding the treats in other places farther from the dog or by hiding the treat and masking its scent by putting it near in the laundry basket or the kitchen.
3. Take your dog for a ride
If your dog has been constantly your jogging or brisk walking partner for quite some time, it would be nice to break the routine once in a while. You can start with a quick run to the mailbox, then progress to letting them sit behind you in the car, until they are behaved enough to sit beside you in the driver seat. New sights, sounds and places will expose your dog to a variety of stimuli and keep their brains active by processing these stimuli.
4. Improve your communication with your dog
Vocal commands and cues are sometimes not enough for a dog’s brain exercise and development. You can watch TV programs with your dog and tell them the name of the object they find interesting in the TV show. If they bark at the site of a colored ball and look attentively at you, let them know that what they saw is a “ball” by talking to them and looking them in the eyes. This way, there is a connection between owner and dog, and a better learning environment.
5. Improve your dog’s social life.
New stimuli are provided to your dog every time you bring your dog to the park to meet a new person or fellow canine. They are introduced to new faces, sights, sounds, and other dogs to sniff. Places such as the dog park can give your dogs the opportunity to engage their senses and make discoveries.
6. Get your dog to know music
Music has a soothing and nurturing aspect when it comes to humans, and even plants. Consider the type of music you expose your dogs to because they have sensitive ears. Soothing music can create a relaxing environment allows your dog to release stress and anxiety. Dogs who are exposed to music tend to be calmer have improved attention. Thus, music can be a good tool to improve your dog’s brain functions.
7. Add variety to your dog interactions
Even daily activities have an effect on the minds of our dogs. If they see our approach and treatment as the same each day, they may get bored or try to get our attention. As a dog owner, a dog lover or enthusiast, you have to be spontaneous and creative when it comes to your pets. You can change your commands or add more words to them for the dog to try to identify. You also teach dogs to fetch other things rather than just a ball or a Frisbee.
These things and so much more can be applied to make our dogs smarter and better behaved. Keep in mind what’s good and appropriate for your dogs when trying out something new for them. With the right activity and mental stimulation your dogs can surprise you with doing many things you initially thought they can’t do.