Dogs’ routines can be static and boring: walk, food, sleep; repeat. To cheer things up, it's necessary to stimulate your dog. Just like any other species, dogs can get depressed after years of lacking motivation and new challenges. To avoid this undesirable scenario and keep your pet mentally stimulated, there are some things you can do to guarantee his happiness and entertainment:
1. Take long walks to stimulate your dog
Walking time is probably the most exciting part of your dog’s day. The recommended amount of time of exercise dogs need can vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours (or even more). This fluctuation not only depends on your dog’s breed but also on his age, health, and energy levels, among other factors.
However, broadly speaking, Golden Retrievers, Dalmatians, and Boxers need at least 2 hours of walk a day, while breeds like Miniature Pinscher, Yorkshire Terrier, and Maltese are fine with 30/40 minutes a day.
2. Play engaging games to challenge him
Dogs love to play fetch or chase with you, no doubt. These games are energy-consuming and manage to reduce your dog’s anxiety levels, but if these are the only game he is playing, he may be needing extra stimulation.
Playing games like ‘The shell’ (where you show your dog you’re hiding a treat beneath a cup. Then switch it with other empty cups and encourage him to find that treat) or ‘Tug of war’ can challenge your dog both physically and mentally.
You can create your own puzzle toys from things around your house. E.g., you can grab an old plastic bottle, make a small hole in it and place some treats for him to find.
Besides, you can get him chewy dog supplies to help them deal with their anxiety. You can probably find them at your nearest dogs’ boutique.
3. Stimulate your dog by training him
Owners are not the only ones who benefit from training dogs: learning new tricks can be mentally enriching and challenging for your dog as well. Training gives them a sense of belonging and it can help them feel excited to learn new things.
The sense of 'having a task' helps dogs feel motivated, focused, and engaged throughout the entire training sesh. Always remember to keep it short and sweet, otherwise, dogs can easily lose attention. Last but not least, don't forget to reward your pup with tasteful treats.
4. Surprise him with unexpected activities
Dogs are very intelligent animals who can rapidly adapt to new routines and get bored easily. They are social pets, so introducing them to new scenarios and faces stimulates their brain and makes them happier.
You can take him for a walk to a place where he’s never been before and let him play and sniff everything around. It doesn’t have to be very special: you can take your dog to a friend’s house, to the bakery, or simply to run an errand and I promise he will still be thrilled.
To keep your dog motivated: take surprising long walks with him, train him, get new toys and play with him. Check your dog’s needs: every dog needs different motivation, walk duration, etc.
I like to think our dogs remind us of the important things in life. They are capable of enjoying every little detail and they always get excited to meet new people. Also, they are filled with eagerness when facing new challenges, and they never hide their emotions. They teach us so many lessons! The only thing you need to do in return is keeping their flame alive :)