Just like people dogs enjoy and even need some extra zest, to embark on an adventure, engage their minds, explore, experience, try something new. According to celebrity trainer and founder of the loved dog method, Tamar Geller, “excitement and surprises” and “mental stimulation" (http://theloveddog.com/you-and-your-dogs-7-basic-needs/) constitute two of a dog’s 7 basic needs. Providing your dog with daily activities and sporadic surprises that promote free play, ignite instinctual behavior, and stimulate their senses will, without a doubt make your dog happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Play dates, play groups, and dog park visits:
There is nothing more thoroughly captivating for dogs than to be immersed in play with one another. During social play, dogs communicate through eye contact and body language, utilize every part of their body during wrestling matches, freely engage in natural instinctual behavior, release excess energy, form bonds, and of course, have loads of fun! During every game of chase, hide and seek, or tug of war, which dogs naturally initiate with one another during play, a variety of unique experiences arise, offering loads of mental stimulation, excitement and surprises. Set up playgroups with your dog walker or daycare, or take your dog to a playdate or dog park. The result will be a tired and happy pup!
2. Find a new adventure or explore a different route:
Just like people, dogs love to wander new terrain. Whether you decide to take your dog to hike a state park, romp at a beach, or simply to stroll a different neighborhood route, your dog and you will appreciate and enjoy the adventure!
Walk or run with friends:
Social walks and runs provide both older and younger dogs with fun yet mellow social interaction. When walking together dogs communicate, wait for one another, sniff interesting objects and explore. Whether your dog engages in social walking through your day service or with you and some friends, group walks will, without a doubt add some extra fun and stimulation to your dog’s life.
4. Play a variety of games:
Just like children, dogs need to be engaged in a variety of games and activities in order to maintain their interest, stimulate their minds, utilize physical energy, learn, grow, and have fun. Exploring, connecting and learning through daily games and activities is a necessary component of your puppy, or dog’s, overall health and wellbeing. Use a different toy during your next game of fetch and combine it with intermittent tug of war matches, teach your dog to play soccer with you, or initiate games of hide and seek. Find interactive games at your local pet shop, such as chase toys and puzzles, or build your own. Seek new ideas on the internet. Victoria Stillwell has some great resources on the enrichment section of her website at https://positively.com/dog-wellness/dog-enrichment/. Be creative. The end result will be extra bonding and loads of fun for your dog and you!
(Photo 1: Mia and Betty Photo 2: Jackson, Jaime, and Delilah, Photo 6: Jack, Photo 7: Betty and Roscoe, Photo 8: Cooper and Robyn)