Mentally Challenging Dog Toys to Keep Your Dog Busy
Dogs are intelligent animals, descended from a wolf-like ancestor that used its big brain and keen sense of smell to hunt for food. Dogs can get bored, just like people, if they don’t have enough mental stimulation available for them. A bored dog may engage in destructive behavior, like chewing up rugs and furniture, and may even show signs of depression.
Here’s how you can make sure your dog has enough stimulation and entertainment to keep them from feeling bored or engaging in undesirable behaviors.
Challenging Dog Toys for Dogs of All Sizes
Here are a couple of fun toys that provide your dog with an intellectual challenge that will keep them entertained and stimulated.
Dogs have a keen sense of smell, and novel scents are mentally stimulating for them. The Darkyazi Snuffle Mat is designed to mimic the process of hunting for food based on olfaction. It’s a puzzle that challenges your dog to find the hidden source of an odor, from a treat or kibble hidden in one of its many pockets.
The Smellymatty Snuffle Mat keeps dogs mentally stimulated and entertained as they hunt for hidden treats and kibble inside its pockets and compartments. It’s designed with five built-in maze puzzles, and you can adjust the difficulty level to suit your dog. It’s great for both puppies and adult dogs.
How do you mentally stimulate a dog?
Here are some ways you can help make sure your dog has enough mental stimulation to stay healthy.
Take your dog on long walks
Let them linger and sniff at bushes, fire hydrants, and other things they encounter along the way.
Train your dog to do some simple tricks
Learning new tricks is a fun challenge for your dog. It’s best to start the training as a puppy, but adult dogs can also be taught. Two especially useful “tricks” and the “retrieve” and “drop it” commands. You can also teach them classic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “lie down,” and “shake paw.”
You can set aside just five or ten minutes each day for training, using treats initially as a positive reinforcement to encourage the new behavior. It can take some time for your dog to fully learn a new command, but the process of doing so can be a lot of fun for both of you.
Play fetch with your dog
Dogs love fetch. You can use balls, sticks, or other toys that are a suitable size for your dog to pick up in their mouth. You can also use toys like the iFetch, which automatically launches balls out for your dog to chase after. The dog can then deposit the balls back into the toy. It’s suitable for both large and small breeds.
Play “treasure hunt” with your dog outside
You can hide a treat or a toy outside in your yard, then bring your dog out and let them find it.
Provide your dog with plenty of interactive toys
Interactive toys, like snuffle mats and treat dispensing puzzle toys, offer your dog a challenge that will keep them occupied, especially while you’re away.
Is a tired dog a happy dog?
For the most part, yes. After a day of physical exercise and mental stimulation, your dog will probably feel tired. Like humans, dogs experience both physical and mental fatigue. This is perfectly normal. Conversely, without enough rewarding physical and mental activity, dogs can get restless.