Physical exercise is great and, just like for humans, very necessary for dogs as well. However, that alone is not enough. Many dog owners struggle with their pet's hyperactivity and destructive behavior, which can be prevented by adding some mind exercises to your dog's daily routine.
At a time when dogs were not yet man's best friends, they lived on their own in nature. They had very important jobs, just like us. They had to get food, find a safe haven, interact with others and protect their family. All of these tasks require the use of the brain, and dogs have a very good mental capacity indeed - if only we let them use it more. The dog's brain is best affected by different exercises that give the opportunity to use its nose.
How to offer a dog mental work?
Take daily walks in different places. Walking with dogs is something that we cannot miss, and if you walk the same path several times every day, it is easy to develop a routine, both for you and your dog. Let your dog choose which direction he wants to go today.
Take your dog on new trails and let him sniff and explore the world. Dogs need new environments, new smells, new experiences. Go on an adventure together - let your dog explore places he's never been before. These places don't always have to be hiking trails or parks - parking lots, campsites and groves are also very suitable. The more new there is in the environment, the more exciting it is for the dog. Remember - dogs analyze things with their noses, not just their eyes.
Organize a scavenger hunt. The easiest and fastest way - cut the treats into small pieces and scatter them on the grass, floor or in the carpet and let the dog find them and treat them. If you are afraid of creating a mess, there are also sniffing mats on sale that serve the same purpose.
Buy a developmental toy for your dog. Developmental toys are a very good way to give your dog something to do. They keep him active for at least 5-15 minutes and offer mental work. One game every day and you can soon see positive changes in your dog - your dog will be calmer and happier. Some examples of toys: Kong toys, muffin pan, and tennis balls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFnWnejG_IU), Nina Ottoson games, etc.
Swap everyday toys. Many dogs have a whole box full of toys, but when they are in the mood to play, suddenly none of them are exciting enough. However, every new toy brings a lot of joy, at least in the beginning. A very good and wallet-saving trick: switch everyday toys and keep some hidden. If you bring a new toy, hide some old favorites in another box for a while and bring them out again after a while. For your dog, it's like getting a new toy. By doing this, you don't need to buy new toys as often.