As pup parents we often focus on our dogs’ nutritional and physical health. We read ingredient labels, we go on long walks, but how much time do you spend thinking about your dog’s mental health? One way to help our pups feel happy and prevent boredom is to keep their minds active.
Puppies, senior dogs, and active dogs all get bored. How do you know your dog is dying for something to keep them busy?
Signs Your Dogs Needs More Mental Stimulation
Destructive behavior is the obvious sign your dog needs more mental exercise. From chewing to barking, to other mischievous behavior, bored dogs get themselves into trouble. This frustrates most dog owners, but these unwanted habits are symptoms that your dog is frustrated with a lack of mental stimulation.
Other signs of boredom include:
- Excessive barking
- Excessive licking or chewing
- Under-foot syndrome (your dog won’t leave your side)
- Being overly naughty: pulling things from the trash or stealing items off the coffee table
How Mental Stimulation Benefits Your Dog
Keeping your dog’s brain busy and challenged is equally essential to your pup’s health as their diet and exercise. Boredom can lead to depression, anxiety, and stress for dogs. Keeping your dog’s brain busy can reduce and slow dementia and strengthen your bond with your pup.
Basically, a busy dog is a happy dog. And a happy dog means happy dog parents!
1. Play Pooch Hide-and-Seek
Mental stimulation should appeal to your dog’s senses. Playing puppy hide-and-seek is perfect for this! Let your dog sniff out her favorite treats from hiding spot around the house. Let your pup listen from another room then open the door and let the game begin.
Turn mealtime into a mental stimulating treat with a snuffle mat. This not only exercises your dog’s brain but lets her use her natural instincts to make mealtime more satisfying.
2. A Few New Toys Will Bust That Boredom
Fresh toys liven up playtime. When a dog sees an unfamiliar toy, the investigation and excitement triggers additional fun.
Try a 4 pack of plush toys or a 6 pack of rope toys. You can save some of the toys and pull a new one out every week or so. As you introduce new toys, cycle the others back into hiding to make playtime exciting for months!
3. Teach Your Dog New Tricks
The saying “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks” is a myth. From puppies to senior pups, training and tricks keeps your dog’s brain alight and excited. Build on tricks your dog already knows to help set her up for success.
You can even move training to a new location to make it fresh and more challenging for your dog.
4. Let Your Pup Make Some New Pals
A playmate can help your dog exercise her social skills and allow for some puppy play. From chase to tug-o-war, dog buddies keep each other on their toes. Bring your dog to the dog park to help your pup make new pals. If you’re having friends over, let them bring their dogs!
Dog rope toys are perfect for encouraging tug and positive dog interaction.
So, to our 2-legged friends, we hope your 4-legged best friends remain happy and healthy for years to come. If you notice your dog expressing signs of boredom, try some of these easy techniques and let the good times roll!