PetFitness Blog – Pet Exercise, Workouts & Fitness Tips for Dogs

Is Your Dog Mentally Fit?

A Large Dog In Round Glasses Is Reading A Book. The Golden Retri

Just as a physical workout energizes you and builds stamina, the same is true for dogs. Unlike most humans, dogs can run for hours on end and still be ready for more. However, if you make your dog concentrate on a physical task for even just 10-15 minutes, they’ll be much more likely to nap afterward. Just as physical exercise increases physical stamina, exercising the brain builds mental stamina.

There are many ways to exercise your dog’s brain. For example, every time you engage your dog in an obedience session you are providing him/her with a mental challenge. If your dog already knows basic commands like “sit” and “stay”, then try teaching your dog a new trick. It turns out, old dogs actually can learn new tricks; there is plenty of scientific literature to back this up. Adult dogs are often easier to train than their younger canine friends as they aren’t typically as active. Older dogs don’t get as easily distracted as younger dogs and can focus for longer periods. Their ability to concentrate allows them to learn new routines more easily.

Try taking your dog with you on a very slow walk. Make sure your dog remains next to you for the entire duration. This is another brain-stimulating exercise. The slower you walk, the more your dog has to think about what he/she is doing. Even a high-energy dog will be exhausted after a structured 5-10-minute walk.

Courtesy of Good Housekeeping

In addition, puzzles and scavenger hunts can be used to mentally stimulate your dog’s brain. Take out a treat and let your dog sniff it. Afterward, hide it and let your dog sniff around until it finds it (hiding it inside an old towel works great, especially when they try to figure out how to get it). You can even try putting your dog’s favorite treat (in my dog’s case, peanut butter) into a Kong, and watch as your dog sniffs around for hours on end.

In summary, while the majority of our workouts focus primarily on physical fitness, we’re always sure to throw in a few examples of mental exercises.

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