Why you should be enriching your dog’s life

We humans easily swap between a hundred different mobile apps to entertain ourselves for hours at a time. We enjoy spending our day jumping from one Facebook profile to the next, finding vital information like where our friend’s cousin’s mum went on holiday in 2017 (we’re basically the FBI). Like us, our pooches like to investigate and problem solve and need a variety of toys and training tools to help keep them mentally stimulated.

A lot of dog behaviours that may seem strange or inappropriate to us are completely natural actions that aim to keep them active – sniffing when we wished they’d just leave butts alone, or digging their way through the garden (always right after we’ve gotten new plant children). Dogs may also chase, herd or bark.

It’s good to understand your dog’s needs and reroute these behaviours into appropriate activities using toys, food and training. So here we are with some tips on how to do exactly that.

Three puppies playing with a toy

Help them play while you’re away

Food orientated games and toys provide a great outlet to keep your dog active and entertained in your absence.

RSPCA PetVille has a variety of fun, stimulating toys and games available including doggy casino and dog twister from Outward Hound.

Treat dispensing toys such as Kongs or Bob-a-lot can be filled with their favourite treats to keep your pooch engaged. As it can take hours to retrieve all the food, these toys prevent boredom and destructive behaviours by stimulating them physically and mentally.

Tricks for treats

It’s no doubt that we all enjoy a yummy treat and dogs are no exception. Other than toys, you can use simple tricks like hiding food around the yard or house for your dog to sniff out. You could also bury it in an allocated digging pit!

If you don’t want your house covered in food, a snuffle mat is another great option. You can make these yourself, but they’re also available for purchase at RSPCA Petville. Using their nose to find food helps stimulate a special part of their brain that results in a smarter, well-adjusted pup.

Training and tail wagging friends

Training is a great way to keep your pup mentally stimulated and encourage positive doggy behaviours.

At RSPCA South Australia, we offer classes with effective, force-free training for you and your pooch. They’re a great opportunity to safely socialise with other humans and dogs, which is a huge part of staying mentally active.

Not only will your dog learn lots, but you’ll also learn to speak dog. We’ll help you pick up your furry friend’s body language and strengthen your bonds by understanding their signals.

Remember, understanding your pooch and meeting their mental and physical needs is critical for building a trusting, happy relationship together.

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