Did you know that satisfying your dog’s eager mind can tire them out quicker than thirty minutes of physical exercise? You heard that right! Putting your dog’s mind to work with an activity will not only keep them engaged for hours, but it will also satisfy their innate desires, and stretch their mental muscles.
Enrichment activities and toys do not have to be difficult to organize, or expensive. Here are just a few ideas to keep your dog’s brain working hard!
Designate Sniff Walks
Designating your time outdoors for your dog to use their nose will provide them a wealth of enriching information. It can sometimes be frustrating to stop and let your dog sniff every blade of grass, but if you assign a walk to just allowing them to sniff you help them gather important intel on what has crossed by, and it can relax the anxious dog to be more aware of their surroundings. Dogs can also decompress from a stressful situation, like coming home from the vet or groomers, if given the chance to use their senses. Giving them the opportunity to explore their walks through the use of their nose will stimulate their minds and create a more positive walk for the both of you.
“Humans are more about the destination, dogs more about the journey.”
You may have seen loads of dog puzzles online and may have wondered, what the point in that is. Dogs share a lot of similarities with their direct ancestors, the grey wolf. That being said, a large portion of a wild dog’s day involved hunting for food. In the same fashion, puzzles offer tons of enrichment by curing boredom, and encouraging your dog to use their brain power to access treats. Puzzles can come in many different sizes and shapes, ranging from easy to advanced levels, so there is a suitable option out there for your dog!
Alternatively, you can always distribute treats around the house while assigning your dog the “wait” command. Upon release, your dog can free roam the entire house in search for the treats. This method may not keep your dog occupied for hours, but they will thank you for it!
Another idea is to distribute treats inside of a towel, and wrap it like a tube and then tie it in a knot. This is a quick way to stimulate your dog’s mind, without it costing you a thing!
There are many snuffle mats available for your dog in different fun shapes and sizes. Snuffle mats are made with loose fabric and special hiding places for treats that creates the perfect engagement for your dog to search for their reward.
Frozen Enrichment Toys
There are countless choices of enrichment toys that you can fill, freeze, and serve, to occupy your pet for up to an hour (or more, if you’re lucky!). We recommend filling these toys with purposeful supplements like bone broth, or kefir. Alternatively, you can also use high-quality gently cooked food like Dog Standards. Some great enrichment toy choices are:
- West Paw Toppl
- West Paw Puzzelspiel
- Totally Pooch Mushroom
- Messy Mutts Lick Mats
- DexyPaws Lick Mats
Lastly, interactive toys make a great choice for canine enrichment and mental stimulation. These types of toys allow your dog to sniff our treats while dispensing them at a slow pace. Keep in mind that these toys are not meant for chewing and only for interactive purposes only.
Some great interactive toy ideas are: