What is Mental Stimulation?
Many loving people spend hours, days & months searching for the perfect dog. They envision long walks in the park, snuggles on the couch and fetch in the yard. What many do not consider when finding a perfect dog, is that every dog requires mental stimulation in order to live a balanced and enriched life. Bringing out your dogs instinctual nature and way of living creates an even deeper bond. A dog plays as a dog, and as a breed. Knowing the difference, and what to provide to ensure a fulfilled learning experience is important.
When an owner comes home from a busy day at work, the last thing they want to see is a dog who is full of energy and anxiety after they spent a fee at your daycare so they could come home to a tired dog. You can try to justify this by explaining that the dog played in the yard, ran and mingled with other dogs all day long, there is no way that dog cannot be exhausted.
Different breeds require different levels and amounts of mental stimulation, but every dog does require it. A mentally tired dog is more tired and relaxed than a physically tired dog. Not only is mental stimulation tiring for a dog, it is working their brain, their instincts, they get to be a dog, and they are learning and developing/perfecting skills.
Mental Stimulation can be provided through a variety of toys that you can purchase, homemade or purchased games, activities, training and more. The #1 skill a dog has to master Mental Stimulation is – their nose.
Utilizing your space for mental stimulation
Mental Stimulation relieves anxiety. Anxiety can be shown in many ways, and can be confused with being excited, depression, and aggression. Smaller breeds require a lot of mental stimulation, despite popular beliefs. Not providing mental stimulation can result in an aggressive dog. Daycare’s not only provide socialization and physical activity, but mental activity as well. Daycare’s have the best space available to alleviate anxiety and embrace a dog’s instinct and provide challenge.
Toys that can hide treats are great ways to stimulate a dog’s mind, and use their instinct and amazing sense of smell. Having many of these in your day care is fantastic, but keep in mind that some dogs have food aggression. Even using day care objects such as a blanket to hide treats are efficient, or hiding them in the grass in your fenced in play area.
Training provided by a trainer is very tiring for a dog, and works their brain fully. Have your daycare put on a free training demo and session as a marketing technique. This is a great way for customers to see the need for mental stimulation, and have them sign up and purchase training at your day care.
Other ways you can stimulate a dog’s mind is tug of war, but understand the aggression risks that may come with that. Hide and go seek if your dog understands commands, fetch, spinning something in a circle, attaching something to a string and pulling it, the list goes on. Cheap alternative ways to stimulate a dog’s mind are all over the web. Promoting mental stimulation is an excellent marketing technique.
– Stephanie Atwood (Jacklyn)