Mental stimulation is required for ALL dogs not just high energy ones! Most dog owners understand that they need to walk their dogs for exercise as this has been pretty well covered for years. What often isn’t considered is the dog’s mental needs.
Think of mental stimulation as a way to keep your dog in a thinking mindset rather than a reactionary one. When a dog is overly excited, anxious, frustrated or bored, they are in a reactionary mindset, not a thinking one. That makes it difficult for the dog to learn, listen and act appropriately.
One of the easiest ways to provide your dog with mental stimulation is by adding a mental challenge to everyday activities. It doesn’t have to be much, but even a few seconds of thinking time can help to drain a bit of your dogs energy.
Any time you can add a mental challenge to ANY activity will help. Here are a few examples of how you can provide mental stimulation for your dog:
- Add obedience activities when out walking i.e. sit, look, then heel to cross the road.
- Have your dog give you back the toy on command when playing.
- Encourage your dog to OFFER a sit and look whenever they want something at home.
- Teach your dog a new skill or trick.
- Add obedience activities to your daily routine i.e. sit/stay at mealtimes or heel down the hallway.
Much like physical exercise, the amount of mental challenge a dog needs is dependent on the dog. A dog from a working line will require significant mental stimulation, especially in an urban environment, to meet their needs.
In my view, ALL dogs need mental stimulation and with a few simple activities that you can easily build into your daily routine, you can provide this for them.