Have you been challenging your dog mentally? Are you providing enrichment for your dog?
“What do you mean by that?”
Well, dogs are pretty smart. Taking them for a walk helps exercise their legs, and letting them play in the doggy park with other dogs makes them happy, but what about their mental health? You need to keep up with your dog intellectually, and that means stimulating his mind through canine enrichment games. This should be a part of his daily routine to help him live a meaningful life.
One of the best things about enrichment games is that they can prevent your dog from developing behavioral issues such as excessive barking or chewing. When playing such games with your dog, find a balance between mental and physical exertion. The goal is to tire your dog so that physically, he is exhausted, and his brain is active so he feels satisfied.
Below are five enrichment ideas to help your dog grow:
1. Puzzle With Interactive Feeder
Is your dog a quick eater? How about slowing down his food intake, while simultaneously challenging him to earn his food. They say that we shouldn’t play with our food. However, in this case, letting your dog eat his food after working for it is a great idea. There are puzzles for this that can be filled with treats. Every time your dog moves a section, a treat will be revealed. Dogs can get easily frustrated. So, make sure you start with a simple puzzle board and progress slowly.
2. Summer Treat – Frozen Treats
Dogs also feel the heat, and the best way to cool them down and occupy their mind is to give them frozen treats. You can do the same with toys. Watch your dog play with the ice block for hours to get to the treat in the center.
3. Ball Pit Treasure Hunt
Does your dog have a favorite toy? Now, all you need is a ball pit filled with balls and random objects. Throw in his toy and let him look for it. Encourage your dog by dropping a treat here and there for interacting with his ball pit.
4. Treat Shaker
You can either make a shaker at home with toilet paper rolls or buy one online. For the former idea, simply attach two toilet paper rolls, push them in from both ends, and then cut a treat-sized hole in the middle. Fill the shaker with treats, and let your dog have fun with it.
5. A DIY Obstacle Course
You can easily find dozens of inspirations online on how to make a DIY obstacle course. Don’t go all out on your first try. Create a small tunnel, put down some hazard cones for navigation, and add a snuffle mat for the ultimate prize discovery. This will challenge your dog mentally and physically, allowing him to get his daily nourishment with a side of fun.
Remember that all dogs are different, and some may need more encouragement, while others may need to learn how to calmly interact with their enrichment. It is important to understand how your dog reacts to these kinds of things in order to provide the best experiences for them.
Not sure where to start? Why not hire a force-free dog trainer to help you get started? Working with a professional will allow you to spot certain nuances in your dog’s behavior from the get-go.
For dog training in Miami, visit the website Dances with Dogs. They provide both in-person and online dog training. To know more about their services or to schedule an appointment, call 786-299-1552.