Like humans also need to keep themselves activated, your dog also needs to be busy, especially when you are cooped up at home. That’s because dogs are supposed to be active and are also quite social animals. Like you, they also need to be activated if you want them to enjoy the quality of life. But how exactly do you activate a dog?
Giving your dog something to do and keeping its body and mind busy are actually the best ways you can activate your dog regardless of whether you are at home or in the outdoors. As long as you play games with your dog, giving it something to do, and exercise with it, you are already activating it.
The dog is a man’s best friend for a reason. They are better off doing things together with their owners so that they are kept activated and stimulated. It’s similar to how you yourself also need to do something to keep yourself busy, both physically and mentally. And if you want old Fido to be as activated as you are, read on to get to know some of the best ways to activate your dog.
What are the different walking activities and games you can play?
The first thing that comes to mind if you want your dog to feel activated and engaged is to allow it to do all sorts of physical activities. Doing so will not only help both of you pass your time but will also be great at providing your canine pal the exercise it needs to keep itself within a manageable weight and to keep its joints strong and healthy.
When it comes to exercising with your dog and activating it on a physical level, here are some of the things you can do for your furry friend:
Walking is a good way to activate a dog
Simply going out on a walk with your dog can be enough to exercise it already and to activate it on a physical level. The walk not only allows your dog to burn some of those calories and to get those muscles and joints moving, but it also helps in stimulating its senses and help leash training.
As you and your dog are walking, your canine friend’s senses are also at full work because it will keep on observing its surroundings, especially if you are walking around in a new place. It might enjoy the sights and sounds along the walk, and it might even stop from time to time to sniff a few things that it might be curious about.
On top of how stimulating a walk is for your dog, it also is a great way for you to bond with one another. Walking is right up there regarding the best ways for a master and pet to bond, even if there are no words spoken or other activities done aside from simply strolling around the park together.
If you are simply in your backyard and cannot leave the house for one reason or another (such as when there is a pandemic going around), running in your home can already be a good way to activate your dog physically.
A dog’s instinct to chase after something that moves fast will kick in when you run around the house. You are basically allowing your dog to be a dog as it chases you around your house or the backyard while you are both having fun in the process. It is an entertaining way for you to consume your energy and to exercise those legs, as running can actually burn a lot of calories and work those leg muscles out.
Play catch to activate the dog
The most time-honored physical bonding session between a pet owner and a dog is the classic catching game. When you go to a park, you can often see different dog owners playing catch with their dogs because it is one of the most entertaining ways of keeping your dog activated while also bonding with it.
Playing catch can be done in the park or your backyard if you have enough space to do it. All you need to do is have something that your dog will probably love to chase after you throw it. It could be your dog’s favorite toy, such as a ball or you can also play fetch with a stick or a frisbee.
Whatever you are using, a game of catch or fetch is such a great way for you to activate your dog. Not only does it exercise its muscles, but it also allows your dog to dig down to its very nature as an animal that is great at retrieving things. So, in that regard, you are basically allowing your dog to be more like a dog by playing a game of catch with it.
If you really have no choice but to stay at home with your dog and if you don’t have a lot of space for you and your pet to move around the house or the backyard for games such as catch and running, a good way to activate your dog on a physical level is to keep it on a treadmill.
But having your dog walk or jog on a treadmill can be really challenging especially because they don’t have a natural incentive to do it, unlike humans, who are motivated by the idea of losing calories when using a treadmill. That’s why the challenge on your part is to find a reason for your dog to use a treadmill.
In most cases, some owners try to do the donkey route with their pet dogs by letting a snack hang in front of their furry friends while the treadmill is moving. This will allow the dog to focus on the snack and move forward as the treadmill moves. But you can also stand in front of the dog or hold the snack yourself so that your dog will be motivated to move forward and feel safe while the treadmill is moving.
How does a bone help keep your dog engaged?
When you are raising a dog, one of the first things you would notice with its behavior is that it loves to chew on things, especially bones and other types of chewable objects. If you are unlucky, you might find your favorite pair of sneakers as your dog’s favorite chew toys.
That said, one of the best ways for you to activate your dog is to actually keep it engaged and busy by giving it a bone. A dog chewing on a bone is not only a result of its natural inclination to due on it. It also isn’t because the dog loves the taste of bones. Instead, there is actually something deeper to this, especially if you are looking to activate your dog.
Interestingly enough, while chewing on a bone is a physical activity, it actually is a very mentally stimulating activity that your dog can do. Simply chewing on a bone and trying to keep itself busy the entire time is already a good enough activity that can help stimulate and activate the dog’s mind. On top of that, you are actually keeping your friend’s taste buds happy the entire time.
As for puppies, the act of chewing on bones or basically anything they want to chew is their way of exploring the world and learning more about their surroundings. In short, chewing on stuff allows the dog to learn about the world and keep its mind stimulated and activated.
So, the next time you think twice about giving your dog a toy bone or a chew toy it can chew on, go and get one for your furry friend’s sake. But make sure that you are actually giving your dog something safe to chew on. Try to keep it away from real bones because they can potentially harm the dog or get stuck between its teeth or even in the throat.
How do puzzles work to activate your dog?
You may not know this, but one of the best ways to activate your dog and keep your canine pal’s mind stimulated and engaged is to use puzzle games designed for dogs. The reason for such is that puzzles are great at helping them learn how to use their senses and cognitive abilities.
However, unlike humans, dogs don’t just do puzzles and IQ games to work their brains and learn how to use their cognitive abilities better. As a pet owner, your role is to actually give your dog a reason to play puzzles and other similar types of mentally stimulating games. And when it comes to that, the best way for you to do so is to find a good way to reinforce a dog’s behavior.
In most cases, the best way to motivate your dog and positively reinforce behavior is through food because eating is one of their top natural priorities as animals. By using food to your advantage, you can actually give your dog a reason to play games. This is best done while your dog is still a puppy as its mind is still inquisitive and in a state of constant learning while it is still young.
Here are some basic puzzles and IQ games that you can use to help activate your dog mentally and physically:
Teaching it basic tricks
Yes, it is true that teaching your dog some tricks is a good enough puzzle game for it to play. For you, it might seem like a way for you to make your dog more obedient, but it is also a good way for the dog to work its mind as it learns basic commands and words. In a way, because of how simple a dog’s mind is compared to a human’s, learning command words and simple speeches can already be enough to stimulate it mentally.
Using rewards such as treats can help keep your dog engaged the entire time while teaching its basic tricks. You can try to teach it simple commands such as wait and sit at first and make sure that you use rewards that will reinforce the behavior and associate the actions with your speeches and commands.
Activity puzzles and games are great ways to activate a dog
Activity puzzles and games based on food are great in activating your dog and mentally stimulating it. You can use simple at-home games that you can easily construct to help keep your dog mentally stimulated. Something as easy and simple as keeping treats under a few bowls can already be enough.
At first, you can use two bowls and keep treats under one of them while introducing to your dog the idea that only one bowl contains the treats. Move the bowls around so your dog will have to use its senses to follow which bowl has the treats. After doing so, allow the dog to search for the treats itself and to allow it to lift the bowl so that it can get the treats.
As the dog becomes smarter with this activity, you can add more bowls to the equation to learn how to use its cognitive abilities at a higher level. It is important to teach your dog that it has to lift the bowls instead of chewing its way through them to get to the treats, or else the game will not work. However, most dogs will easily understand that they have to actually work their way through the game to access the treats. It is on your part to supervise your pet so that it will learn how the game works.
Rotate your dog’s toys and puzzle games
Dogs are creatures of habit and will quickly get used to a routine. When that happens, their minds will be on autopilot, and they will use their instincts to solve their way through the puzzle games you play with them. In some cases, they will even get tired of the toys that you give your furry pets.
When that is the case, you have to make sure that you rotate their toys and puzzle games to keep their minds activated and prevent them from getting used to the same old routine. Give them new toys to play with to learn the ins and outs of their new toys. Try scouring the internet for other interactive IQ and mind games that are simple enough for your dogs to learn so that you can give them a reason to work their brains while you are teaching them how to play the game.
It’s oddly similar to how human minds and bodies work. As you repeatedly do something, regardless of whether it is a mental activity or a physical exercise, your mind and body will eventually get used to those tasks and reach a plateau. The same is true for your dog, as you need to keep its mind and body working with new stuff so that it will not end up hitting that dreaded plateau that will force it back to a state of inactivity.
How do you keep your dog engaged when you’re not at home?
There will be cases wherein you cannot stay with the dog at home, especially when you are doing personal errands or working. This can be a problem if you want to keep your dog activated and engaged. But there are some simple things you can do to keep your canine pal entertained and stimulated while you are away.
Give them a seat by the window
When you arrange a seat for your dog by the window, it will often use it while you are away. Some would think that dogs only do this to keep track of their owners while waiting for them to return home. However, window seats are great at keeping your dog activated because it allows it to observe the outside world and learn more about the things and people passing through your home.
Hide food around the house
The best way of motivating your dog to do something is through food. And if you want to keep it activated while you are away, you might want to hide a few treats around the house so that your dog will spend the entire day searching for them. Just make sure to hide them in safe places so that your friend won’t end up injuring himself in the process.
Go get a new pet to activate a dog
If you are a single dog parent, you might want to keep your pet busy by adopting a new pet. Adding a new member to the family can help keep your dog activated because it allows your pets to learn more about each other and keep their minds working while figuring out each other’s different quirks and habits. You can get another dog or even a cat as long as both pets are friendly enough to try to interact with one another safely.