Dog Mental Stimulation Toys
Is your dog mentally stimulated?
Like humans, dogs get bored and when that happens all sorts of problems arise.
Have you noticed your dog barking, digging, whining or chewing lately?
This may be because he/she needs more mental stimulation.
Here are lots of tips and tricks to keep your dogs brain mentally agile.
1. Make your dog work for his food or treats by adding a food puzzle.
This Bob-a-Lot Dog Toy has kept my miniature dachshund amused for hours. It is a great dog mental stimulation toy. I bought this two years ago and it is still in good working order. It takes most small dog treats but they can be cut down if necessary.
There are also adjustable openings so that you can choose a difficulty level. When your dog gets the hang of how to release the treats, simply make the openings a little smaller.
These dog mental stimulation toys come in different sizes. The small one is perfect for my mini dachshund.
2 Buy good quality, durable dog toys that cannot be destroyed or chewed up. Bad quality toys and stuffing can lead to intestinal blockages for dogs.
The Chuckit! Dog Ball Launcher is great way to throw a ball farther and faster.
3 Sometimes a small plush toy will give comfort to your dog. My dog likes to carry a small toy around, she even takes it to bed with her.
This is the small Kong Bear which Rosie adores, we have had to buy two in case she loses one. In the first photograph, you can see how small they are. There is a lovely pink elephant and duck too, but she loves her bear best.
If your dog is an aggressive chewer and will remove stuffing from toys, try this Stuffless Dog Squeaky Toy. They come in loads of different animal designs (my favourite is the giraffe). These are dog mental stimulation games as well as plush toys. The dogs are joyous when they find one of the hidden squeakers!
4 If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, get an unwashed T-shirt or old sock belonging to yourself and put knots in it until it resembles a ball. The dog will get comfort from the smell when you are not there and it will provide hours of amusement for the dog too. Place one in the dog’s crate at night, it will make him feel secure.
5 Put knots in a piece of rope for the dog to play tug and fetch. If you can, drill a hole through a tennis ball and attach to the end of the rope to make it more fun.
6 Don’t throw away denim jeans cut the material into strips then plait into a super durable and totally free toy for your dog.
7. The reason I like the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball is because there are special clutch holes which allow the dog to get a good grasp of the ball. The dog is entertained by the ‘giggling’ sounds and benefits from lots more exercise when he runs to fetch the ball.
This is a great dog mental stimulation toy to use both indoors and outdoors, great for those Wintry days when you are stuck inside.
8 Have a look for dog training classes in your area, as well as great fun your dog will learn obedience and agility. They also gain loads of social skills from being in the company of other dogs.Imagine how proud you would feel with a certificate to say that your dog has completed the course!
9 Interactive Games (The Cup Game)
This is a game that you can easily do anywhere with your dog to give him mental stimulation. The added bonus is that you will bond with your dog as he/she learns.
You will need at least two, opaque cups, three when the dog is good at this. Line them up on the floor, upside down, and make sure the dog sees you put a treat underneath one of them. Move them around slowly, then get the dog to point out one of the cups by indicating with his nose. If the dog chooses the right one, he gets to enjoy the treat. If not try again!
It’s amazing how quickly the dog will learn to follow the right cup with his eyes and get the treat every time!
10 A Sniffing Carpet
This is a new innovation, specially designed to simulate a dog’s brain using his sense of smell.
The idea is that treats are hidden within the mat and the dog searches with his nose to find them. Research shows that ten minutes sniffing equals an hour of running and is a great stress reliever for dogs.
It brings out a dog’s natural need to forage and is great for draining energy.
My dachshund is really good at sniffing things out with his pointed nose. He almost uses it like an arm (I hope that makes sense!)
I would be very interested to know if Snuffle Mats are good for dogs with short snouts and flat faces, like pugs and bulldogs?
If your dog tends to bolt his food, it trains him/her to eat slower.
I like this toy because it can be used from puppy to adulthood and it encourages a natural instinct, which is to forage. One of my dogs gives up after a few minutes but my other dog keeps going until he has found everything. I love watching him sniffing out the treats, it’s so entertaining and his tail never stops wagging.
One of my pet hates (sorry about the pun!) is stinky dog toys around the house. So, the first thing I checked about this toy was if it was washable. Thank goodness! , it can be thrown in the washing machine to keep it smelling fresh and hygienic.
There are loads of different Sniffing /Snuffling Carpets/ Mats/ Activity Pads around, just invest in a good quality one and it will last a lifetime.
I hope this article inspires you to think of new ways to stimulate your dog’s brain. Hopefully, the games will lead less destructive behaviour and your dog will be more relaxed and less stressed.
I have made sure that all the five senses ( sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) have been included. Therefore the dog has a varied mental stimulation.
I know from experience how distressing it can be when your dog suffers from any type of anxiety. (This article about dog anxiety and stress may be helpful.)
If you have found other ways to combat boredom in dogs, please tell me in the comments section, I would love to hear from you.
Keep those tails wagging!
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Thanks for great ideas – I’ll check some of these out!