Your four-pawed barking buddy's mental health is as important as his physical well beingness. However, most pet owners tend to overlook the fact that proper mental exercise is as vital to the overall health of the pet as his physical training regimen. The result is a psychologically bored animal at risk of a number of severe to mild mental and behavioral ailments. However, here is a quick primer of some on ways of honing and challenging your dog's mental prowess.
1. Obedience and Behavior Training
Obedience training is widely considered the pinnacle of an animal's mental acuity. And dogs, being quite intelligent animals, obedience and discipline training transcends above and beyond adhering to simple commands such as 'sit,' 'stand,' 'run' etc. You should go a step further. For instance, encourage him or her to master a trick or a complex behavioral pattern. Using a clicker, for instance, is a good way of helping them learn a complex behavior particularly when 'Free Shaping' is concerned.
2. Administering Sniffing Challenges
Your dog's sense of smell is among the most potent instincts hard-wired in his brain. In fact, through his olfactory senses, your dog can 'see' the world is a whole new dimension as compared to us. Therefore, among one of the best ways of stretching his mind is by stimulating his olfactory senses by introducing new smell that he is not yet acclimatized to. For example, instead of taking him to the same park through the same strolling route daily, shift this abruptly by taking him out of town or using a different sidewalk. Spice up this strolls by making him go jump through various hoops such as steps, curbs, benches or an assortment of playground equipment.
3. Dog Toys, Games, and Puzzles
Games and puzzles are an excellent way of stimulating and activating your dog's mental faculties, as well as forging a strong relationship together. It is also a great way of letting your dog view spending time together as a psychological reward. Besides, what's a better way of being creative and spontaneous than engaging in an array of little fun games? A good majority of children's games, for instance, hide-and-seek, easily double up as incredible dog games. Especially if they revolve around simple obedience-skewed behavior.
4. Expose your Dog to new Experiences
Another excellent way of challenging your dog's mind is by exposing him to new places, experiences, and situations in your day-to-day errands. Take him out every-once-in-a-while if you are not used to doing that or allow them to ride in your car every so often. Not only does this encourage their socialization but also reinforces mental co-ordination and stimuli.