As dog owners, we all want our pets to be happy. We feed them, we give them treats and we often let them hang out on the furniture with us. As much we wish it were true, most of the time our pets aren't the couch potatoes we think they are. Dogs need to be mentally and physically stimulated to be happy. Things they do to burn off excess energy often end up being misinterpreted for bad behavior.
Here are a few signs you might have a bored pup on your hands.
- Does your pup bark at EVERYTHING?
- Do you often come home to chewed up:
- Stuff you can't identify?
More often than not, if your dog displays any or all of the symptoms above - they are bored and lack mental stimulation. Imagine being home all day sleeping, eating, just lounging. Now imagine doing that every single day of your life. After a few days, you would go stir crazy too! Boredom can potentially lead to mental health issues and result in destructive behaviour, seperation anxiety, hyperactivity, obsessive compulsive behaviour, even aggression. In addition to daily exercise, here are a few ways to keep your dog mentally happy.
Doggy Day Care
Many of us work fulltime jobs - which means fido gets left at home for more than 8 hours alone. An awesome way to get that energy out is to take your pup to a Doggy Day Care once or twice a week. It's great for their socialization skills and by the time you pick them up, they are so tuckered out all they want to do is snuggle!
Dogs love toys. There are some great intellectual toys out there that really require some brainpower from your pup. Momo loves to play with her Wobble Ball, trying to get her treats out of the fun cloud-shaped openings. Whatever toy you give your dog, make sure to rotate them. Just like kids, they get tired of the same toys easily - rotating them keeps their interest high and makes playtime a lot more fun.
I love doing training exercises with my dog, you can really tell she is thinking and working hard to make sure she gets it right. Dogs love to please their humans and can really benefit from training. Whether you're teaching your pup tricks or basic manners, he or she will really appreciate the positive reinforcement (or treats for that matter).
Lots of dogs excel in sports or competition. From agility to flyball to dock jumping, dogs often really enjoy participating in these activities. Whether competing individually or in a team, these competitions are great bonding experience for both pups and their owners. And they are just a lot of fun!
These are just a few of the many great options to get keep your dog mentally happy. More often than not these options are fun ways to also bond with your pup. By keeping your dog happy, you are also keeping them healthy as well! So get out there and have some fun with your dog!