Dog didn't become man's best friend based on looks alone; canines emotional intellect makes them the perfect companion and team-mate. Although being cute and fluffy does have its advantages!
With this in mind, it's important to factor in mental stimulation alongside exercise and a good diet. And, one of the best ways to do this is through treat-based problem-solving and game playing!
Here are five enrichment ideas to mentally stimulate your furry friend:
1. Hide and seek a treat
For this game, follow the same rules as the classic 'hide and seek', but using treats. Start with very accessible spots that aren't too far away. Once your dog has got to grips with seeking the treats and understands the game, gradually make it harder for him to find the goodies. Although - don't go too crazy! You don't want to end up with a house full of stinky old treats if your dog gets bored.
2. Washing basket fun
This one is SUPER simple; place a treat at the bottom of the wash basket and cover in layers of towels and blankets. Let your dog loose and see how long it takes them to find the buried treasure below!
3. Spice up feeding time!
A puzzle feeder is a great concept to introduce to a speedy eater! Not only will this device push your puppy to analyse and problem-solve; it will also make the dining experience far less high-octane. Slowing down your dog’s eating will improve his digestion
Introduce the puzzle feeder slowly, starting with a few treats and working up to an entire meal. Also, be sure to weigh out your dog’s daily food portion and use throughout the day, so you don't risk overfeeding.
Moreover, vary what you do. Repeating the same game every day is just as boring for your dog, as it is for you!
4. Doggy ice treats
Perfect for the warmer months; this game will keep your dog busy for a while! Freeze toys or treats into plastic containers or ice cube trays, this will keep your pet hydrated, happy and entertained; maximum impact - minimum cost or effort.
5. Utilise household items
The muffin tin game is a classic detective game for your pooch. Found in most households, it makes a cheap and fun puzzle for your dog. Place your treats in one or two of the muffin spaces, and pop tennis balls on top. Your dog will have fun sniffing out the snacks! Think about other items you could use too, from plastic plant pots to old, unused and safe children’s’ toys, such as stacking cups, you’ll be surprised at what you can find and turn into a game for your four-legged friend.
Vitalin’s Luxury Treats are made with the same high quality ingredients as our dog food, providing a healthy treat for your pet that can also double up as the key player in some of the above games. Whatever you choose to use, mental stimulation for your dog is essential in providing behavioral enrichment.