Great ways to bring fun and enrichment to your pets day.
When we think of exercising our dog, more than likely, the first thing that comes to mind is walkies! It’s very easy to make the assumption that in order to exercise our dogs it needs to be physical when in actual fact our furry best friends can really benefit from some mental stimulation too. Typically mentally stimulated dogs don’t tend to get bored and misbehave.
When initially asked to write this blog post, I started with a mind map of all the things that we can do to mentally stimulate and enrich our pets and I was pretty astonished by the outcome. So many simple yet effective things we can do with our pets and here are just a few of them to try:
If we start with snuffle mats – my spaniels love these. I started by sprinkling some treats over the top and have gradually made it more difficult to the point now I’ll tie treats in and wedge them in the bottom to really make them work for it. I often use the snuffle mats at mealtimes for their biscuit. (In the summer you can use the mat outside and peg the snuffle mat into the ground!)
If you feed your dog wet meat Lickimats are great for this. There’s so much variety in the types available and they all have slightly different purposes! You can put the wet meat on the mats or when it’s warm out you can try freezing them which will also help to keep your pet cool. Peanut butter is another good thing to use with the mats (xylitol free peanut butter that is!)
Training is another fantastic way of mentally stimulating your dog and also helps to improve your relationship with them. Obedience training is a good place to start and then you can slowly move on to fun tricks like ‘spin’ ‘hi-five’ etc! The possibilities are endless!
You could even teach your dog the names of their toys, so eventually you can give commands like ‘find Charlie Chimp’ or ‘seek Stevie Star’…. you can probably guess what I’ve named my dog’s toys! Also, a good one is teaching them to tidy yo their toy basket… easier said than done! Rotating toys is another good way of keeping things new and exciting.
Things you can easily try at home include hiding treats under plastic cups and moving them. Then let your dog try to choose which cup the treat is under. A similar thing can be done with treats and tennis balls in muffin tins. Hide some treats under some tennis balls and allow your dog the opportunity to discover which balls are hiding a treat!
You can get lots of mental games and kit in our shop and we can help you with ideas and advice whenever you need it. We would love to hear about any other good ideas you have tried, which you can always share online!