Keeping Your Dog's Brain Busy

We all know that our canine companions need plenty of physical exercise every day, but if you truly want to tire out your paw-some pal, it’s just as important to exercise their brains.

Without the correct mental stimulation, your dog is at risk of getting bored, and is more likely to display behaviours such as restlessness, excessive chewing or digging, barking and weight gain. Follow our Monster tips for keeping your pooch’s mind active every day!

1. Get in touch with your dog’s natural hunting instincts and make them work for their food. Hiding treats, snacks or food in toys such as the classic Kong can keep your dog busy for hours trying to get to their tasty treat. The Starmark Everlasting Treat Bento Ball is a hard-wearing, near indestructible toy that can be filled with any snack your dog enjoys, and even has a surface designed to help keep your dog’s teeth clean!

2. Get creative and teach your dog to recognise and fetch individual toys by name. Whether your dog prefers squeaky toys or cuddly animals, it’s a great way to incorporate an extra bit of mental exercise into their playtime. You can even teach them to drop each toy back in their toy basket when you’re finished!

3. Different dog breeds will find the best mental stimulation in different tasks. Terriers will respond best to games where they can ‘hunt’ something, while retrievers will be at their happiest (you guessed it) retrieving toys, and collies will go crazy for something they can ‘herd’! Playing to your dog’s strengths, by including the activities their breed does best, is one of the most effective ways to keep your furry friend’s mind sharp.

4. Your dog may be getting just the right amount of physical exercise, but walks alone aren’t enough to keep their brain active. Change up your walking patterns to keep walks fresh and exciting for your happy hound. By taking different routes, you can give your dog new sights and smells to discover, providing the sensory enrichment a dog’s busy brain needs.

5. Pick up some interactive puzzle toys, designed to keep a dog busy for hours! The Nina Ottosson range of treat-dispensing games provides challenges to test a dog’s physical and mental capabilities, keeping them engaged and excited while rewarding them with tasty treats. DogIt Mind Games comprises three games in one, designed to encourage your dog’s problem-solving skills while promoting bonding and playtime with your pet.

6. It’s never too late to teach an old dog a new trick! As well as simply being useful (what dog doesn’t need to learn to sit, stay, and lie down?), teaching a dog new commands, from ‘shake’ or ‘high five’ to something even more complex, strengthens the bond between you and your dog. Don’t forget to reward them with treats afterwards!


How do you keep your contented canine’s brain busy? Is there something you do that we’ve missed? Check out the comments below from our pet pals for even more top advice…