As this is Easter what could be better than to offer our dogs a treat or paté search in the house, garden or out in the woods.
Our dogs are natural explorers. A curious dog is a healthy dog. So let’s encourage them to use their natural skills to enhance their problem-solving abilities. Mental stimulation will reduce stress, relieve boredom, improve confidence and support good quality sleep.
Mental stimulation is NOT the same thing as physical stimulation. Balance is the key and we therefore need to look at our daily walk/play routine: how much and how often, what type of exercise?
And we may need to replace some of it by more appropriate mental stimulation.
Dogs love to investigate new things, stick their noses into things, dig, chew and tear, all the while using their brains to work things out. It can be anything that our dog will enjoy investigating calmly. We can include amongst other things the environment, cardboard boxes, loo and kitchen rolls, egg cartons, knotted tea towels, socks, flower pots, filled Kongs, etc…. Our imagination is the limit!
Why not make Easter Monday special by creating an Enriched Environment in our house for them to investigate or it may be a saunter around the local store car park they have never been to. Let us remember to always observe our dogs so as not to raise excitement levels too much… some commercial toys will do just that (as will of course ball chasing etc.).
When we know our dogs and know what we can offer that will keep them amused, stretch them a little without making them frustrated or worried, we can make it just right for them on the day – neither too easy nor too difficult. We need not interfere but can take pleasure in watching them enjoy themselves – they will appreciate the companionship.
We also need to remember to keep those chocolate Easter eggs well away from our 4 legged friends as chocolate is poison for them.