Dogs Need Mental Stimulation – Dallas Dog Training Blog
Most people know that dogs need plenty of physical exercise and that some breeds, especially working breeds, require constant physical exercise in order to stay healthy. However, I often work with dogs that have very active owners and a consistent exercise routine that still suffer from behavioral problems. These dogs don’t just need to go for another jog or long walk with their owners—they need more mental exercise in order to keep them stimulated!
Despite the fact that dogs are domesticated animals and largely kept as companion animals, most dogs were originally bred for a purpose. They don’t just need their physical bodies challenged and stimulated on a daily basis, but their minds challenged and stimulated as well. Mental exercise is just as important for dogs as physical exercise! Mental stimulation helps relieve a dog’s anxiety and stress and helps prepare them to cope better when they’re in situations like being left home alone or dealing with a frustrating or emotionally taxing situation.
In-home dog training provides precisely that! It’s all about mental exercise and stimulation. Dog training provides new challenges for your dog as they learn new commands. It helps them learn to stay focused and alert. It forces them to think, to try and understand what you want and expect from them, and to exercise self-control. As your dog’s ability to focus mentally increases, we continuously increase the distractions so that your dog is constantly challenged and stimulated. Mental exercise and dog training are about your dog using its brain in a positive way instead of directing that mental energy toward destructive behavior.
Even if you and your dog are physically active, try to incorporate mental stimulation into their exercise routine as well. Make sure they’re walking nice on a leash and healing when you take them out, or incorporate commands into your daily exercise routine (such as asking them to sit, lay down, or stay during a walk). I always encourage clients to incorporate simple commands and mentally stimulating activities into simply everyday things, such as having a dog do “puppy push ups” (where they sit, lay down, and then sit again) before a meal, having them practice a sit and stay while you brush your teeth, or having them practice a leave it while you watch a favorite show on Netflix.
Dogs are intelligent creatures and we should give them the opportunity to show us what they’re made of! If you engage your dog physically and mentally every day they’ll be much happier—and better behaved—than if they’re left to develop obsessive behaviors or get bored.
If you’d like help providing your dog with daily mental exercise and training, give us a call at 800.649.7297 or reach out via our contact form.