Mental Stimulation for Dogs

The mental well being of a dog is highly important and there are a few mental stimulation techniques that should be used by all owners. A dog that is not mentally stimulated may develop behavioral problems and may also become lethargic or depressed.

Why Dogs Need Mental Stimulation

A dog needs continual mental stimulation as otherwise he will become bored or lethargic. A dog needs daily exercise and stimulating activities.

If the dog doesn’t get the mental stimulation he needs he will develop:

  • Behavior problems such as chewing, biting or elimination in the home due to boredom
  • Stress
  • Depression

In addition to these possible problems, the dog will also be more prone to diseases, as the immune system can weaken due to stress or depression.

Exercise Is Essential

Exercise is a great mental stimulation for the dog and the dog needs this on a daily basis. Dogs or different breeds may have different exercise needs, but all require at least 15 minutes of exercise per day. The more exercise your dog gets, the better. During exercise, serotonin is released in the dog’s body and this will give the dog a state of well being.

The exercise may be any activity including walking, hiking, running along your bike, swimming or fetch games. The exercise has many health and mental benefits, but it is also an activity involving you and your pet, so it is a bonding experience that is highly important for the dog’s mental well being.

Social Interactions

All dogs need social interactions, otherwise they can develop destructive behavior. You should make sure your dog meets other dogs on a daily basis and gets the chance of playing with them.

If you have the space, it is recommended to have 2 or more dogs in your home.

The interaction with people is also important for dogs. Dogs like to get attention from people.

Daily Challenges

Your dog should be challenged on a daily basis, so that he will be mentally stimulated. You can find ways to challenge the dog; this doesn’t have to be a complex game. Some ideas that you can use include:

  • Making tunnels out of boxes (make sure the materials you use are safe and don’t have splinters or nails that could injure the pet)
  • New toys
  • Food puzzles
  • A hidden treasure (i.e. treat) in the home

Find new ways to challenge your dog and you will have an active, fit dog that is healthy.

What to Avoid

You should avoid keeping your dog indoors all day, as this will make him bored. You should also avoid:

  • Keeping the dog in a small crate/ space for most of the day
  • Not giving any attention to the dog during the day
  • Keeping the dog tied on a leash
  • Reducing the dog’s social interaction with other people and other canines, which is essential for the dog’s well being
  • Getting toys that are not interesting for the dog.