Mental stimulation is something we speak about a lot in our school workshops. Sadly it’s sometimes overlooked by owners but is so important in keeping our dogs healthy and happy. There are lots of ways that we can provide our dogs with mental stimulation, from toys and puzzles to games and training. All of these will help to keep our dogs’ brain active, as well as tiring them out! There may be certain times during our dog’s life where mental stimulation becomes even more important.
Kent ECO, Jo C-F’s dog, Paddy, recently had to have surgery after his cruciate ligament ruptured. Thankfully the surgery all went well but they were then faced with 6 weeks of rest and incredibly restricted exercise (only allowed in the garden on a lead to toilet, then back indoors with no playing, no steps/jumping). Paddy is a very high energy dog so Jo was concerned at how he would cope with this restriction but, thankfully, he’s been an absolute star! This may be, in part, because Jo has been inventive in coming up with a myriad of ways to keep Paddy entertained…
Here is one of Paddy’s favourite activities:
Jo turned this big cardboard box into an ‘entertainment station’ for Paddy. In the little holes she poked small treats/bits of carrot for him to sniff out and eat. In the larger holes she poked through some of Paddy’s toys. When he pulled a toy out, Jo used a clicker and rewarded Paddy with a treat. It didn’t take Paddy long at all to get the idea and he really looked forward to the box coming out every day!
There are loads more ideas for keeping dogs mentally stimulated here: