There is no doubt that pet retailers have plenty of options. In my experience, it doesn’t take much to entertain my dog – a football with a squeaker in the middle is just fine for her to play fetch with. The problem is, as we know, fetch requires a person to throw the ball. Since I work in an office, on days that I bring my energetic young dog with me to work, I want to give her something to do that might not exactly require my attention in between outside breaks. Just like giving a tablet to a child, there are ways to keep your dog occupied, while simultaneously offering a mind-enriching experience that is about more than just keeping them busy.
There are plenty of toys and puzzles that are available to purchase for ready-to-go enrichment. Toys are available for all stages of a dog’s life. Some like to chew or cuddle, and some prefer food rewards. Here are some of my favorites:
Snuffle Mats – Typically an array of tassels that you can hide small treats and kibble inside. It requires your dog to seek out the food reward, much like scatter feeding. This is not ideal for dogs that like to chew stuff up! You don’t want them to shred or ingest the fabric of a snuffle mat.
Licking Pads – These have different levels of “difficulty” and can be filled with wet food, peanut butter and other food dogs love. Freeze it, and let your dog lick away! This is a great exercise for dogs with anxiety to keep their minds busy during times like bath time or nail trimming.
Treat-Stuffed Toys – Some puzzles allow you to put individual pieces of kibble or small treats into something like a ball, and your dog has to line up holes or move pieces around in order to receive the food reward.
There are a lot of ways to mentally stimulate your dog, no matter what stage they are in. It will keep them from getting bored, which can sometimes lead to chewing things up that you would probably rather stay intact! The benefits of offering enriching toys to your dog are endless. QCBN
By Cheyenne Brown
Cheyenne Brown is the marketing manager for Olsen’s Grain.