If there is one part of a dog’s life that they carry from their puppyhood to their adulthood – that is their playfulness.
Regardless of their age, they would happily jump, run, fetch, chew, and romp around.
Playing keeps their body as well as their minds healthy and active. However, as they age, their physical and mental capacity inevitably deteriorates.
As a dog parent, you can do a lot about this, you can change your usual weekend fetching to a less physically demanding game but still mentally stimulating one.
Below are some of the games you should try and play with your dog to keep their sound mind and sound body.
1. Treat-Dispensing Balls
Treat-dispensing balls are designed to make dogs think and work their way through getting their reward. These balls have multi-tiered layers inside that keeps the treat from falling off easily.
Your dog has to roll, bounce, toss, and throw the ball around in order to get their prize. This toy effectively combines physical activity and mental exercise as your dog have to figure out ingenious ways to get their treats out.
2. Canine Nosework
Dogs have very sharp sense of smell, but just like anything, if not regularly exercised it could dull down. Nosework is a great way to keep their noses sharp. This simple exercise could be done in the comfort of your own backyard and using only boxes and treats.
Spread the boxes across the yard with treats inside some of them. Make your dog search for their treats using only their smelling powers. Increase the difficulty as their searching skill progresses.
You can apply the same principle as you play hide and seek, only their reward would be a huge hug from their hooman.
3. Plush Puzzle Toys
Most dogs, even the toughest looking and big ones love to play with their soft, squishy, squeaky plushie toys.
If your dog is one of those, you can try the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel plushie. It comes with 6 squirrels and a tree trunk with six holes in it. This toy will make your dog think as they find the squeaky squirrels inside the holes of the tree trunk.
4. Live Action Toys
Toys that make sound are very appealing to dogs, but what excites them more is when the toy moves and mimics movements of other animals. PAWtomic Unpredictable Bouncing Ball by Project Play does this exactly.
It has colorful rubber nubs on its surface which makes the ball bounce to different directions as it hits the ground. The unpredictability of where it would land next will keep your dog excited and thinking.
5. Treat-Dispensing Puzzle Toys
Since 1990, toy designer Nina Ottossom has been making fun and mind-stimulating toys for dogs. Her products are well loved by many dogs regardless of age or breed.
6. DIY Brain Games
Having fun with your dog and making their brains work at the same doesn’t always require commercially available toys. You could always find an alternative game that you and your dog can play together.
You just need to get creative and let your mind think of new ways you could play with a tennis ball. Your dog gets his physical and mental boost, and you get you creativity boost as well.