We all know how important physical exercise is for keeping our dogs fit and healthy. But as experts agree, a combination of both physical and mental stimulation is key to a happy, healthy dog.
Many owners today still believe they must physically wear out their dog to get any peace at home. When in fact you’ll burn excess energy more effectively with mental workouts. If your dog uses their brain for just 5 minutes, they’ll actually feel more tired than after a 20-minute walk around the block.
Keeping your dog’s brain active will significantly improve their general well-being and alleviate common behaviour problems. Mental exercise has multiple benefits for both us and our dogs. Here are the top five reasons for introducing mental stimulation into your dog’s routine.
Prolongs brain health
Unfortunately as our dogs grow older, not only do their bodies deteriorate, their minds do too. Older dogs can develop cognitive dysfunction where their brain slows down and they suffer memory loss – essentially a canine version of Alzheimer’s disease. But by using mental games throughout your dog’s life you’ll keep their mind sharp and alert for longer. Their cognitive function will be less likely to degrade so quickly as they enter their senior years.
Dogs are intelligent animals and need mental challenges to stay happy and fulfilled. They’re at their happiest when they have a job to do and are tasked with solving problems. If your dog is often left without entertainment they can easily become bored. Constant boredom can make a dog unhappy which can even lead to mental illnesses like canine depression and anxiety. Mental games can be something your dog looks forward to everyday – to occupy their time and satisfy their drive to problem solve. Why not try our boredom busting Star Spinner for your clever dog. Our range of Zogoflex products also provide great mental stimulation for your dog.
Prevents stress and aggression
If your dog is often bored this can cause heightened stress levels, which in turn can lead to aggression. A stressed, irritable dog is more likely to lash out unpredictably. But by providing mental challenges you’ll give them a positive outlet to focus their energy, which will also leave your dog tired and relaxed. As you work to improve your dog’s mental health, they’ll have less opportunity and inclination to feel anxious and act aggressively.
If you are struggling to calm down your dog, view our range of calming products to give them some extra help.
Strengthen your bond
Mental challenges are a great way to reinforce your relationship with your dog. As you interact and help your dog solve problems, over time they’ll look to you for reassurance and guidance. It is that kind of engagement that builds on your relationship, helping your dog trust and grow a positive association with you. Some people also believe that when you strengthen your bond, your dog may be more likely to behave and listen to your corrections. Why not try out Beco Ball on a Rope which provides fun for all the family!
Curb destructive behaviour
Destructive behaviours are often a result of boredom. If your dog doesn’t get enough physical and mental exercise they will look for ways to entertain themselves. Whether that’s chewing the furniture, raiding your bins or destroying your new shoes! Mental exercise will keep your dog out of trouble around the house while balancing their energy levels to a calmer and relaxed state overall. Meaning they’re less likely to go looking for unwanted ways to occupy their time!