Bored Dog? Easy Ways to Keep Him Busy and Happy

Exercise His Mind, Too

Physical exercise isn’t the only way to stimulate your dog's senses. Make him use his head, too. You can stimulate his brain with puzzle toys, games and trick training. At my house, we’ve thrown out the dog bowls. Now our dogs get their daily allotment of kibble inside food-dispensing toys that dole out pieces only when the dog pushes or rolls the toy. It’s not exactly hunting rabbits, but it does help to satisfy the canine need for physical and mental activity. Your dog is busy feeding himself all day instead of nibbling on your baseboards or barking to beat the band.

Games such as nose work, in which dogs learn to identify specific scents and indicate their locations, can be done anywhere. You’ll be amazed at the way this mental and olfactory challenge can leave your dog pleasantly contented.

Teaching tricks is another way to exercise a dog’s brain. Sign him up for a trick-training class or use clicker-training techniques to teach fun behaviors such as roll over, spin, wave and play dead. Practicing his trick repertoire daily, plus adding new ones, will keep you and your dog entertained and engaged.

When you enrich your dog’s life and environment in these ways, you’ll start to see a real difference in his attitude — and his behavior.

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