Tuesday, September 18

The Power of Mental Stimulation

So many of my clients contact me because of bad behavior caused by boredom.  Yes, your dogs get bored too.  Most people think if you exercise your dog physically, that is all you need, but in fact that is only half of it.  I have seen it over and over again in my training, mental stimulation will tire your dog and keep them happy.

A lot of people think this means buying a lot of expensive puzzles or games, but that is not necessarily the case.  You can certainly do that and if your dog likes the puzzle or game they will have hours of fun and stimulation.  But if they don't, that is a lot of money wasted.

You can start by carving out 10-15 minutes twice a day to do obedience commands and tricks.  The easiest time is meal times.  Before giving your dog the food, have them sit, down, stay, shake, go to their bed, dance, play dead or anything else they may know.  With each command give them a treat or better yet, use their food.  You can feed them their entire meal this way making them work for every bite or just a few and then you give them the rest in the bowl.  

Your dog will enjoy the interaction with you as well you are working on mental stimulation.

I know mornings can be hectic, but it is important to exercise both the mind and body in the morning to prepare your dog to be home all day.  Though your dog may have a break in the middle of the day, it is likely to be purely physical.  Something else you can do is leave out brain teaser toys.  These can be anything from a buster cube to a self made treat in a bottle.  There are so many of these types of toys now.  Just the other day I saw a ball inside a big ball, this was made for our ball obsessed dogs.  They will chase the little ball inside for hours, until they are tired or move on to something else.  

Having several of these types of toys out during the day will help your dogs stay entertained and keep them out of trouble.

If you have questions about what you can do specifically for your dog, give me a bark!  I would love to help you and your dog find the balance of mind and body stimulation.

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