Dogs were originally predators, and are biologically tuned to search and hunt. Although very few dogs today remind us of ferocious wolves, they still have a need to have their biological senses stimulated. This is done through various activities where the dog is allowed to use its head and nose.
See toys and equipment that can stimulate your dog here:
Activation and feed balls
Therefore, your dog must be mentally activated
Not everyone thinks that their soft teddy bear of a family dog needs more than love and walks. But the vast majority of dog breeds need more than that. They need to be challenged mentally and to be allowed to use their noses to search and find hidden treats. Some breeds have of course
need this training more than others; this applies especially to the active races.
Without the mental training, the dogs can become understimulated, which can be expressed in what many associate with habits;
- To beep or bark
- To destroy things
- To be unclean
- To jump up
- To growl or bite
Many of the above can be remedied if the dog is offered the right stimuli. And it's not even necessarily that difficult.
Feeding balls & Stimulating toys
Food balls are the easy solution and are particularly suitable for dogs that have to be alone at home. The dog is not bored and is engaged in an activity that is mentally stimulating. Afterwards, the dog can calmly take a much-needed nap and be ready for a walk when you get home. The ball can be filled with either feed or treats.
There are also some good durable brands of dog toys that are very attractive to dogs. We highly recommend Starmark , Pulse & Kong Original
Search and find
This activity exists in varying degrees, depending on how much time you have and how much stimulation your dog needs. Basically, it's about the dog being allowed to use its nose. Throw a handful of treats out into the garden, or one of the two meals of the day, and let the dog search for it. If the degree of difficulty is to be raised a little, you can carefully hide treats or feed, e.g. in holes, on logs and other places that are more difficult for the dog to reach than just in the lawn.
Delicious wooden treats
Cut some delicious dog treats or other treats into small pieces and tie strings around in different sizes. Hang them from a low tree or bush where the dog can only reach if it stands on its hind legs. This activity should of course not be done with poorly walking or old dogs.
There are many classes where you and your dog can go for obedience training. If you are willing to pay and set aside a weekly day, it is a good solution where you do not have to invent the deep dish yourself. But it can also be done for free when it suits you. Train the dog on walks so that it walks in place, sits before you cross the road, etc., or in an open area, where you practice "stay" and "fetch" with a ball or stick.
Choose a smart food bowl
Most people choose an ordinary food bowl for their dog, but dogs are not naturally used to having their food served to them. You can either throw it out into the garden, as previously mentioned, or choose a mentally challenging food bowl that functions as a maze or similar, where the dog has to work for food. You don't have to serve the food like this every time, but it can be a nice change every now and then.
Bettina Kjærgaard | Pet sitter & dog trainer