The saying goes a tired dog is a happy dog and with increased need for social distancing and staying home during the coronovirus pandemic, it’s even more important to keep your dog mentally stimulated to make up for any lack of exercise they may have to endure.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to keep your dog from becoming bored. This can involve playing games, playing with toys or doing training exercises.
For example, Nina Ottosson and Outward Hound have partnered to create a number of great dog puzzle toys, which you can buy on Amazon.
British dog trainer Victoria Stilwell also has released several videos on mental enrichment exercises you can do with your dog. From a game of hide and seek, to teaching them impulse control, there are a range of activities to enhance your bond with your dog.
Hide and seek is very much putting your dog’s nose to work. It’s a game that is easy to do and very rewarding for the dog. In the video below, Stilwell explains the basics, which can be set up outdoors or indoors.
Another activity is teaching impulse control if your dog gets too excited during play. Stilwell employs a dog teaser wand or dog flirt pole. It’s basically a rod with a toy attached with a rope. This is an especially good exercise for puppies and this is a great activity for kids too.
Other great activities are employing problem-solving activities around food. Anything that gets your dog actively involved in problem solving means they are expending mental energy.
Stilwell shows how the toys and games can be done at feeding times for extra impact.
And remember, no matter what the game or exercise you do with your dog (big or small), your dog will appreciate the time you spend with them!