Unleash your dog’s full cognitive potential
Importance of mental stimulation in dogs
Dogs have been a huge part of our lives throughout history. Our ancestors gave them various jobs such as hunting, herding, guarding, and many others. Nowadays, most pups have only one important job – to be a good family pet. Of course, this is also just as awesome, as their jobs before, but because there aren’t many mental challenges in their everyday lives, they cannot exercise their cognitive potential.
They might even develop unwanted behaviors, such as excessive barking, aggressiveness, anxiety, destructive behavior, dog chewing, etc. And we don’t want that for our fluffy friend! So here are some tips on how to stop dog from chewing, stimulate their minds, and say goodbye to boredom.
What Is Cognition?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, cognition is defined as conscious mental activities: the activities of thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering. How adept a dog is at these different cognition aspects reveals his intelligence. Pretty exciting, right? You might even have an Albert Fidostein at home!
Keep in mind that all dogs are different and that there is no such thing as the perfect or the most intelligent dog, but we can help them improve their skills with regular mental stimulation. As you will get to know your dog, the way he thinks, and his problem-solving skills, you will also learn what kind of activities he likes best and what satisfies his physical and mental needs.
“Dogs’ noses are specifically adapted to function much better than ours; they have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, versus only about 6 million for us.
And the part of their brain dedicated to interpreting these is about 40 times larger than ours,” explains Dr. Michael T. Nappier, DVM, DABVP, of the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
Therefore, their primary way of perceiving the world is based on their fantastic sense of smell. When your pup is sniffing around your neighborhood on a daily walk, he is actually releasing endorphins, which is very beneficial for his health! Additionally, their nose is also one of their best tools to work through mental exercise. Because of this, we encourage you to allow your Fido to sniff as much as possible and not to just “boop the snoot,” but also give it a super fun job.
Some of the great activities in which we can use their fantastic sense of smell are:
- Scent work;
- A “sniffari” in an unknown place;
- Stimulating toys for dogs;
- Brain exercises for dogs;
- Playing hide and seek.
And one more thing to keep in mind; the smell is one of their best assets. Even after some other sensory abilities weaken with age, the sense of smell will still be in outstanding shape!
The Importance Of Mental Stimulation
As responsible dog owners, we know that daily exercise is vital for our pup’s health and overall well-being. Still, the thing that many people forget is that this doesn’t include just physical but also mental exercise. We encounter many problems in dogs that mental exercise can quickly resolve. Does your dog showcase any of the following issues?
- Destructive behavior.
- Excessive barking.
- Depression – changes in body language, decreased appetite, excessive licking, and lethargic behavior.
- Aggressive behavior.
If your answer is “YES”, your dog might lack mental stimulation or is bored while you’re busy. An additional motivation for you, next to these unwanted behaviors, can also be all of the essential benefits that mental exercise provides, including various health benefits and the dog’s overall well-being.
However, if your answer to the previous question is “NO”, you can also take care of your fluffy friend with mental exercise. Not only does it have many positive effects on your dog’s health and overall well-being, but it also establishes a stronger bond between the two of you. And I think we can all agree on this – we want the best for our beloved pups, so let’s not wait for them to start experiencing any of the aforementioned issues.
And how can you tell how much active mental stimulation your dog needs?
Most dogs need around 20 minutes, but there are some breeds, which have a higher energy level, and thus require more physical and mental exercise. This group might include Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Shepherds, Huskies, and many more. Suppose your dog is exhibiting behavior such as sleeping more than usual, chasing their tail, destructive behavior, no focus, being more vocal than usual, etc. In that case, this might mean that they need more mental exercise.
5 Great Ways How You Can Challenge Your Dog’s Mind
Great boredom busters for dogs are dog-treat toy puzzles. They will keep your dog busy and entertained while using their natural problem-solving skills. They offer a great outlet for pent-up energy, give them something to focus on, and provide extra daily challenges and meaning. There are many different puzzle toys in the market, big and small, more or less advanced, which will offer dogs great mental exercise. You can check out our selection HERE.
Going for a walk counts as physical exercise, but why not make it a mental activity? Let your dog explore and sniff around freely. Grab some treats on the hike and hide them around for some nose work practice. Performing the search will excite them and tire them out mentally. Hint: you can also do this inside. Hide some treats or your pup’s favorite toys around the apartment and encourage him to embark on a treasure hunt!
A great idea for active mental exercise is teaching your furry buddy new tricks. Not only is this activity a lot of fun for you and your pup, but it also boosts your dog’s confidence, improves your bond, increases their focus, and tires them out mentally and physically.
Dog sports are another great activity that provides physical and mental exercise for your fluffster. Try out scent work, mantrailing, rally obedience, agility, and experience working with your dog to achieve something extraordinary. Work through different challenges, take your problem-solving skills to a test, and enjoy it to the max! Afterward, you can be sure that your pup will be happy, calm, and courageous, and your bond will be stronger than ever.
Our dogs share a lot of similarities with children, one of them also being their playfulness. Try teaming up with a friend or family for a fun game of hide and seek. Leave your dog with the other person in a separate room while you hide around the house. Ask the other person to give your dog the command to find you, and once he discovers you praise him enthusiastically! Once again, this is a great exercise for mentally tiring your dog while also building a stronger bond between you two and boosting their confidence.
Benefits Of Mental Stimulation
Mental stimulation offers your do g many benefits, improving the qu ality of their life, strengthening your bond, and helping to prevent unwanted behaviors.
Reduces boredom and destructive behavior
Different stimulating toys for dogs and activities will keep your pup occupied while you are busy. This way, they will have an alternative to your favorite pair of shoes or various dangerous objects around your house.
Improves and strengthens your bond
Choose activities in which you and your dog can participate and work together to solve problems. Try out one of our puzzle sets and test your skills together. You will spend more time together and form a better bond.
if your dog struggles with this issue, mental exercises will be a great way of getting rid of that pent-up energy. Dog puzzles that require a lot of focus, well-structured walks, and participation in dog sports will result in a calm and happy dog.
Reduces anxiety and helps to overcome fear
Various problem-solving and scent-related mental activities will encourage your dog to use their natural hunting skills to find hidden treats. It is an excellent way to reduce their anxious behavior, boost their confidence, and help your dog with stressful situations such as fireworks, thunderstorms, etc.
Dog Puzzles - What Are They And How They Work?
Dog puzzles are great stimulating toys for dogs, which will help with various behavior problems, stimulate dogs' minds, offer different brain exercises for dogs, and work as a great treat stuffer. At Pawzler, we are setting out on a journey to raise awareness that exercising a dog's mind is just as crucial as tiring them out physically.
In the market, you can find treat puzzles in various shapes, sizes, and difficulties. Our products are developed with the safety of our fluffy customers in mind. Therefore, our puzzles are made from food-safe materials, without sharp edges, dishwasher safe, and detectable on X-ray in case of an accident. You can choose between different set sizes and individual puzzles. The set includes treat-hiding mechanisms that require slide pushing, lid lifting, pulling, and lid turning. Each set has at least one base which holds individual puzzles. Hint: You can customize your toy by adding individual puzzles or replacing them in case of damage.
So how can you use them?
Simply fill the compartments with treats, regular dog food, and peanut butter for your dog to find, and let them enjoy their adventure. You can turn yellow and orange puzzles in different directions and change the toy’s difficulty level.
Is your Fido an absolute genius and crushes every treat puzzle in no time? Trick him with our sneaky modular approach, and prepare new and more challenging puzzles with just a few simple clicks. Add individual puzzles to your collection to expand on the number of possible combinations, extend the playtime, or replace your existing puzzles.
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