Indoor Activities To Keep Your Dog’s Brain Stimulated
Being cooped up inside due to rainy or chilly weather means you may not be able to exercise your dog. However, you can still exercise your pooch indoors with mental stimulation. Keeping your pet mentally challenged and exposing her or him to new activities is just as important as taking your pet for everyday walks.
In fact, mental stimulation makes dogs feel more tired than physical activity. This is because figuring out a puzzle or learning a new trick requires their full, undivided attention.
Adding mental exercise to your hound’s routine can help resolve hyperactivity, boredom, and destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, destroying the house, or eating socks. It can also boost mood and keep your dog happy.
Here are some great ways to challenge your canine’s mind:
Play Games Using Your Dog’s Food
Did you know mental stimulation can be used at mealtimes? Instead of just filling your pet’s bowl with food, try putting some kibble in a ball with holes. This lets your furry friend focus on releasing the food by rolling it across the floor. Not only does this encourage your pet’s natural ability to scavenge and hunt, but it also makes mealtime more fun.
Teach Your Furry Companion New Tricks
Training sessions provide your dog with a mental challenge. Once your canine has mastered the basic commands of sit, stay, come and lay down, try more intricate tricks. These may include crossing paws, barking on command and playing dead. Training can also help improve your pooch’s confidence and impulse control, as well as strengthen the bond between canine and owner.
Play Scent Work Games
Nose work games can help your dog improve her or his natural sense of smell. Try playing “go find it” by hiding bits of food or treats around the house. Start with easy spots and praise your dog every time she or he finds a treat. After your pet gets the hang of the game, you can start hiding the treats in more difficult-to-find areas, which encourages your dog to use her or his nose.
Construct an Indoor Agility Course
An obstacle course doesn’t have to be outside; you can easily set one up in the comfort of your home. Get creative and put down some pillows, create a course of stuffed toys and make a row of sticky notes on the floor. Have your pooch jump over the pillows, weave through the toys and sticky notes, and end by jumping on a blanket. Try to create a different pattern each time. This should help keep your dog physically and mentally active.
Play the Shell Game
To play this game with your dog, hide a treat under one of three identical cups. Make sure you let your pet watch as you hide the treat. Shuffle the cups and then encourage your canine to “find the treat.” If your pooch gets it right, she or he gets the treat. If not, start the game over. This game helps your pet work on developing problem-solving skills.
Let Your Dog Help With Chores
Teaching your canine to help with chores around the house is a great way to get her or him engaged and mentally stimulated. It’ll also give your pooch a sense of accomplishment. Get creative and give your pet a job, such as fetching the newspaper or opening the fridge (by tying a towel around the handle).
The next time your canine is bored or causes household chaos, try adding interactive games, puzzles, and toys to the routine. You can even try activities that cater to your dog’s specific breed, such as herding, scent work, or hunting games. With a little planning and creativity, you can easily bring more mental stimulation into your canine’s environment.
AUTHOR BIO: Alec Hutchins is Chief Marketing Officer of Recherche Kennels – Cavs, a professional breeding and training facility. Recherche Kennels has over 10 years of experience breeding with top parent bloodlines and training puppies to be the perfect family pet.