5 Effective Exercises To Engage Your Dog’s Mental Muscles

Exercise is required for any type of dog. Regardless of its breed or age, every dog needs some kind of exercise to maintain its health, both physical and mental.

It’s probably more common to think about physically demanding training when it comes to exercising your dog, but it doesn’t always have to be!

Here Are 5 Exercises Your Dog Needs For Mental Stimulation

Behavior Training

PHOTO: Pixabay/Andrés Carlo

This might not come as a surprise, but behavior training stimulates your pet’s brain as the constant input of commands engages them and forces them to focus.

This training isn’t exclusive to puppies. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks? False. Maintaining a schedule and using positive reinforcement helps when teaching dogs of all ages. Not only does training teach your dog various tricks, but it also strengthens the bond between dog and owner.

Sense Training

PHOTO: Pixabay/LUM3N

Since we’re already talking about training, sense training specifically is something else you could do to stimulate your canine companion. Scent training, for example, is a great form of enrichment that keeps your dog’s senses sharp. (Not gonna lie, watching scent sports is weirdly thrilling. Though I can’t help but root for every single dog in the competition.)

As some of you may already be aware, dogs are great companion animals as pets and even as service dogs. They are able to smell subtle changes in a human’s body, like their blood sugar levels and stress levels.

Interactive Games or Toys

PHOTO: Unsplash/Jake Hutchison

You can choose if you want to actively participate whilst your dog is playing for this exercise. There are tons of dog toys to choose from, and some of them are specially made to make your dog exercise their mind.

There are puzzle toys that you can buy for your pets, and you can hide treats. Figuring out how to retrieve the treats exercises the brain, keeps them busy, and also stimulates its sense of smell, so you’re hitting three birds with one stone in a way.

For the more active owners, how about some frisbee, fetch, or a game of tug? These exercises also give you some quality time with your furry pets!

Dog Walk

PHOTO: Unsplash/Юлія Вівчарик

Probably the most common dog exercise every dog owner has done is walk their dogs. For some, walking the dog once a day would be enough, but there are others who always bring their dogs with them whenever they run an errand. Doing so stimulates your dog’s senses, and it tires them out, so it also manages your pet’s energy.

Walking your dog allows them to stimulate their eyes with lots of different sights, their nose with the various scents surrounding the area, and their ears with all kinds of noises, quiet or loud. But do take care when you’re out with your dog. Being outside also means that you’re exposing your dog to certain dangers. Stay away from loud noises and watch where your dog is sniffing, or they might ingest something dangerous.

Dog Park

PHOTO: Pixabay/Gerson Rodriguez

The last item is taking your dog to a dog park. When you’re already walking your dog or you’re already at the end of the walk, might as well visit the dog park! It’s important for your dogs to socialize with other dogs (also other people), and dog parks are a place for your pets to just have fun and release excess energy.

Some dog parks are equipped with obstacle courses where you can do behavior training. Another pro of going to the dog park would be that you get to interact with other pet owners while your pets play around, though it’s important to still pay attention to what your dog is doing. Making small talk and exchanging pet parenting tips is just another bonus.

So there you have it! Happy training to all pet parents out there!

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