Dogs are naturally curious animals that love to learn. However, they have to use their brains to survive and thrive in the wild. Of course, this isn't the case when lying on the couch or lounging in their cozy pet bed!
But by providing your dog with mental stimulation, you can help keep them mentally healthy and prevent dog behavior problems from developing. This comprehensive guide will discuss canine brain training, how it works, and the benefits of stimulating a dog's mind through play.
What Is Canine Brain Training?
Brain training is simply a way to teach your dog to behave, using a variety of toys, puzzles, games, and treat dispensers to engage their mind. This mental stimulation can help prevent boredom-induced dog behavior problems such as excessive barking, destructive chewing, and restlessness.
Benefits of Brain Training for Hounds
The benefits of dog behavior training using mental stimulation are numerous: It strengthens the bond between dog and owner, helps keep your dog mentally stimulated, and teaches them important problem-solving skills that carry over into other aspects of their life. Additionally, it provides the opportunity for pet parents to spend quality time with their hound while providing mental stimulation!
There's a lot to gain from exercising your hound's brain!
- Reduces pent-up energy; the more complex the game, the more focus is required!
- New and exciting activities help to improve the canine mood.
- Helps eliminate destructive behavior such as digging, scratching, and chewing.
- Improves cognitive function in older dogs.
- Teaches good doggie behavior and increases confidence in younger dogs.
How to Tell if Your Hound Needs Mental Stimulation
Below are a few common signals your dog may be exhibiting to indicate they need a little brain stretch!
- Digging holes
- Constantly in destruction mode!
- Sleeping is their new favorite activity
- Tail chasing
- Incessant barking
- Whining and pacing
- Unable to settle down
- Struggles to focus and ignores basic commands
Mental Stimulation - It's a Healthy Hound Necessity!
While a lack of mental stimulation can result in a poorly behaved hound due to boredom, it can also impact your dog's physical and mental health in the following ways:
- Increases the risk of obesity due to lack of physical exercise
- Muscle atrophy (loss or weakening of muscles)
- Can cause anxiety issues
- May result in depression
How to Increase Mental Stimulation in Hounds
Most hounds require at least twenty minutes of active mental stimulation daily for their overall health and well-being.
When buying toys or puzzles for brain training sessions with your dog, it's important to consider their personality and interests. For example, some dogs may prefer interactive dog toys, while others will enjoy solving puzzles or playing games.
Remember, the goal is to keep your dog mentally stimulated, so make sure the activities you choose are appropriate for their age and abilities.
Below is a great example of a DIY puzzle game:
Hunt the Muffin Man's Treats
What you need:
- 1 x muffin tray
- 6 x tennis balls
- 1 x bag of treats (your hound's favorite brand!)
What to do:
Place a treat in each section of the muffin tray and cover it with a tennis ball. Show your hound the treat under each tennis ball and then encourage them to dig it out. They'll love the simplicity of this stimulating yet tasty puzzle!
Mental Stimulation is Totally Paw-sible
By providing your dog with mental stimulation through brain training, you can help them stay engaged and interested in learning new things! Not only does this help prevent dog behavior problems from developing, but it also strengthens the bond between dog and owner. So, take some time today to give your dog's brain a workout – they'll thank you for it!