Stimulate your dog’s mind

By Valdette Muller| October 30, 2013 | Blog

Imagine your day only consists of going to the gym, eating and sleeping. It sounds like a good idea, but actually, in the end, you will get bored with the repetitive routine. The same is true for our pets.

dog using computerIt is important to understand that physical stimulation is not the same as mental stimulation. Walking and exercising your dog will not necessarily satisfy all his needs for mental stimulation. When either the body or mind is neglected it will lead to destructive, restless, hyperactive and attention seeking behaviour.

If you’re already doing all of this, don’t be disheartened. You don’t need another hour a day to unlock all the keys to your dogs’ fulfilment.

Here are some tips to help you stimulate your dog’s mind:

1. Offer your dog some new butts to sniff and people to meet

Go to your local park, or take your canine friend along when you visit your friends or run errands. This will constantly expose your dog to new things that will keep his mind busy.

dog school chalk board2. Who said you can’t teach old dog new tricks?

Or for that matter, any dog! Search the internet, ask a dog trainer or get a book with tricks to teach your dog. Once she has successfully mastered the trick move on to another one. You’ll soon have a variety of party tricks to show off at your next braai.

3. What was your dog bred to do?

Herd, hunt or retrieve? When this innate need is not fulfilled, your dog may become very frustrated. Engage in a good old fashioned game of fetch or try out sports like agility or Flyball. Going for a long walk or even a swim will satisfy the needs of a retriever or hunter.

4. Interactive games and pet toys are always a good way to keep your dog mentally fit

Check out the Dog Smart mental stimulation game from Shinga’s online store. It is a great way to teach obedience and encourage problem solving in a fun and positive way. Hide treats in the bone shaped blocks, and let your dog use her mouth or paw to lift the block and find the treat. In summer, it can be a fun game to mix some wet food with kibbles and freeze it in the Dog Smart puzzle.

5. Treat dispensing toys

Treat dispensing toys like the Busy Buddy range or the Dog Treat Maze are also mentally challenging and great fun.

6. Always remember to give new toys and rotate the old ones

This simple trick will eliminate boredom from the equation!

Ultimately however, the key to fulfilment is to know your dog’s personality, breed, favourite activities and needs and then to add the balancing act of body and mind.

Dog trainers love to say that ‘a tired dog is a good dog’. But after today, we dare to adapt it to ‘A tired and mentally stimulated dog is a good dog.’

 Image sources:

Dog with laptop via

Dog at chalkboard via dogimprovementdogtraining

Featured image via


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