When we think of exercise, most of us have our minds wired to immediately think of physically demanding activities like laps or stretches. Exercise is necessary for the mind too. Many times, when a dog is bored or feeling neglected, they show it by chewing on the rug and getting into mischief. When you exercise your puppy, you have to stimulate their minds as well as their bodies.
Best Activities for Physical and Mental Stimulation
Here is a list of the best activities that can really stimulate your pup’s mind and body.
- Food and Treat Hunts
Many pets are used to their pet owners just handing food down to them in their favorite food bowls. If you want to stimulate your dog mentally, get your dog to work for their food sometimes. Do this by stuffing their chew toys with dog food or their favorite dog treats. Then you can hide these toys in strategic places around the house so your pup can sniff them out. When they find the toy, they will need a high level of concentration and patience to get their treats out. Now, that is really going to stimulate your puppy physically and mentally.
- Tasking Games
Another great way to encourage physical and mental stimulation for your dog is to engage them in tasking games like Tug of War and Fetch. These classic games are great indoors and outdoor activities that will really tire your dog out and strengthen their minds.
- Exploration Walks
Going for walks is one of the most thrilling activities for your dog. Why not give them even more stimulation by incorporating exploration into their walks? Let them stop, sniff around or follow scents for a bit. You can make it even more fun by teaching them a command that lets them know it’s free sniffing time. Tie that up with delicious rewards when they come running back. Be sure to keep them comfortable and happy on the appropriate leash so that they do not wander off.
- The Name That Toy Game
Now, this is a really fun activity for a pup who has learned their basic training and is up for a challenge. Line up your dog’s toys, naming them one by one. Make sure to go over the names of each toy a few times so your dog has time to process the new information. Then ask your dog to fetch a toy by calling its given name. Repeat the process till your pup gets it right, then offer a reward. This game might take some time for them to get used to, but it will really stimulate your pup’s mind and body. Eventually, they learn each toy’s name and derive so much joy from earning rewards.
- Doggy Tricks
There are a lot of tricks you can teach your puppy that will keep them mentally and physically stimulated, especially if you attach certain activities or rewards to these tricks. Generally, dogs love being the center of attention so tricks can be very satisfying for them.
- The Shell Game
This is a very simple yet stimulating game you can play with your dog anywhere. Simply hide your puppy's favorite dog treats under a cup, container, or box, you can use whatever you have access to at the moment. Allow your dog to discover the treats by figuring out which cup or container has treats underneath. This is also a great way to hone your pup’s natural instincts.