It’s definitely a good idea to learn how to mentally stimulate your dog to ensure that they live a happy and fulfilling life. Regular mental stimulation for dogs can also help prevent them from engaging in any undesirable behaviors like chewing, barking, digging, eating garbage, and any other ways your dog might act out.
Dogs need mental stimulation just as much as they need regular exercise. Unfortunately, many dog owners tend to think that physical activity alone will be enough to stimulate their dog’s mind. In reality, dogs that don’t get enough mental stimulation will easily get bored, and they will find ways to release their pent up frustration that you probably won’t like.
Puppies also need more mental stimulation than older dogs to help them burn off their boundless energy and to engage their curious minds. If you provide your puppy with a wide range of engaging activities early on it will also make it easier to introduce them to new activities throughout their life.
Thankfully there are many different ways to mentally stimulate your dog, and many of them won’t cost very much, and there are even some interactive dog toys that will keep your dog from being bored when they are home alone.
Continue reading this article to learn some mentally stimulating activities and fun games to play with your dog inside and outside.
Mental Stimulation Games for Dogs
Interactive Dog Toys
Puzzle toys are a great way to keep a curious dog mentally stimulated. Interactive dog toys like dog puzzles can keep a dog occupied for up to 10 to 15 minutes as they try to figure out how to release a treat from a really challenging dog toy. This form of mental stimulation will help your dog hone their natural problem-solving skills, and it will also engage their prey drive.
Puzzle games for dogs will also make a huge difference in your dog’s behavior over time. They will give your dog something entertaining and rewarding to focus on, and you can find them with different levels of complexity so they are sure to stimulate a dog’s mind.
Dog puzzle toys can also help teach a dog new ways to solve problems, and it can make them more self-confident and determined in other areas of their life.
One thing to keep in mind about dog puzzles is that they aren’t suited for all dogs. In some cases, some challenging dog toys can be a little overwhelming and frustrating for certain dogs. In addition, larger more aggressive dogs might just chew right through the puzzle to get at the treat inside.
Dog puzzles like Outward Hound Ottosson Puzzle Brick Dog Toy (Buy Online), and the Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Casino (Buy Online) are a great puzzle toy to start out with if you want to challenge your dog’s mind.
It’s also a good idea to get a few different puzzle games for dogs, so they don’t get bored solving the same puzzle every time.
Make Them Work for Their Food – Dog Treat Toys
Most dogs don’t have to work for their food as their wild ancestors would in the wild. Usually, they just have to stand there and we’ll put food right in their bowl, or at most, we might throw a treat at them as a reward from time to time. Your dog might seem to like living the easy life, but in reality, they need to have a little more challenge for their mental well being.
One easy way to mentally stimulate your dog around feeding time is to try giving them a treat-dispensing toy such as the Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball (Buy Online), or the Kong Wobbler (Buy Online). These types of toys are also much simpler than dog puzzles, so all your dog will have to do is roll it around in order to get the treats to come out of the hole.
Dog Camera Treat Dispenser – How To Mentally Stimulate Your Dog
If you want an easy way to keep a dog from being bored when they are home alone you can get an internet-connected dog camera with a treat dispenser. This will allow you to keep an eye on your dog when they are home alone, and you can even talk to them via the built-in speaker and microphone.
Treat Dispensing Dog Cameras like the Furbo (Buy Online) can be controlled either with an app on a smartphone or with a voice assistant like an Amazon Echo. The smartphone app will also let you launch a treat for your dog so you can reward them for being good when you’re not home.
Teach a Dog New Tricks – Tricks To Teach Your Dog
Teaching a dog new tricks doesn’t need to be hard. By spending just a little time each day training your dog you’ll be surprised what your dog can learn. In addition, you’ll also figure out how to communicate with your dog, which can help improve their behavior and strengthen your bond.
How many tricks does your dog know? Can they stay, come here & lay down? If they can great, but even if they can’t there are many different tricks that you can teach your dog.
If you’re looking for a great set of useful dog tricks to get you started I highly recommend Brain Training for Dogs (Learn More). This training system makes it easy to teach any dog a wide range of tricks even if they don’t know any tricks at all. One of my favorite tricks is the airplane game since it’s a great way to get your dog to learn new tricks, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to see results.
Teaching your dog new tricks each day is a great form of mental stimulation, and it can even help improve the confidence of a shy or skittish dog. You can learn more about unique tricks to teach your dog at this link if you’re ready to get started.
Scent Training for Dogs – How To Mentally Stimulate Your Dog
Dogs have a sense of smell that is 100 times better than a humans nose. Their brain also has a much larger olfactory bulb. That means they perceive the world more as a rich tapestry of smells instead of sights and sounds. That’s why it’s important to focus on their sense of smell if you really want to know how to mentally stimulate your dog.
First and foremost it’s a good idea to introduce your dog to new scents whenever possible. You can do this by walking them in new areas, or by taking them to the dog park and allowing them to smell new dogs.
You can also try scent training to let them focus their minds on their keen sense of smell using the UKC Nosework Kit (Buy Online). This small portable scent training kit comes with 36 non-scented cotton swabs and five common target odors such as Birch, Anise, Clove, and Vetiver.
Nosework is a great way to mentally stimulate a dog who is more of a scent hound than a sight dog. This training technique is also modeled after the methods that are used to train police detection dogs. That means it is a real working dog activity that you can do anywhere even if you live in an apartment or have a small yard.
Physical Activity for Dogs – How To Mentally Stimulate Your Dog
Dog Fetch Launcher
Playtime is a must when it comes to mentally stimulating a dog. Normal fetch is all well and good, but it can get a little boring for both you and your dog. Teaching a dog to use the IDOGMATE Big Dog Ball Launcher (Buy Online) will give your dog a more mentally engaging challenge than playing regular fetch.
The best thing about an automatic ball launcher is that your dog can play fetch whenever they want. All you have to do is teach them how to load the ball into the launcher and watch them chase after the ball as it shoots across the yard.
Robot Toys for Dogs
Robot toys for dogs are the ultimate interactive dog toys. They are similar to treat dispensing toys except they actively engage your dog’s prey drive by zooming around autonomously and shooting out treats. In addition, they can be controlled using a Smartphone App, so you can drive the toy around your house over the internet even when you’re not home.
The Pet Fitness Robot (Buy Online) can be programmed to activate at scheduled playtimes, or you can control it manually online. In addition, it has a built in activity monitor so you can keep track of your dog’s daily exercise. It also can be loaded up with treats to ensure your dog wants to play with it, and the treats will guarantee they stay mentally engaged at all times.
Setup an Obstacle Course for Dogs
If you want to know how to keep a dog entertained in a yard then you might want to try agility training. It is one of the best ways to teach a dog useful tricks that will help improve their coordination and help focus their mind
You can easily set up a training course in your back yard with the Better Sporting Dogs Complete Starter Agility Set (Buy Online). This kit comes with a 26” wide adjustable bar jump, a tire jump, 8 weave poles, a 55″ long tunnel, and a pause box. This lightweight kit can be used indoors or outdoors, and each obstacle easily folds down and fits in their own included carrying case.
You can also expand the kit as your dog gets better at navigating the course, and you can even try your hand at dog agility competitions if your dog excels at their training.
Walk Or Go Running With Your Dog
Going for a walk or run can be one of the most exciting parts of a dog’s day. It’s also one of the most important things you can do for their health and to mentally stimulate your dog. In the wild wolves can roam up to 10 miles a day in search of food, so we can at least try to mimic this by taking at least a ½ to 1-mile walk.
Walks are a good exercise for both you and your dog, but it can get a little boring if you don’t mix it up. It’s a good idea to try and follow different paths each day. You also might want to take your dog to new neighborhoods, or somewhere they have never been before. Also, you can try walking through a park so they can experience nature and smell different scents that will help mentally stimulate the natural instincts in your dog.
It’s also a good idea to speed up since dogs can get bored keeping pace with us as we walk. You can try power-walking with your dog, or you can even take them jogging with you. You can even get a Hands Free Dog Leash for Running (Buy Online) that makes it safer and easier to run with your dog.