Believe it or not, dogs (and especially puppies) do get bored, so it’s important to give them plenty of ways to have fun and burn off energy at home. You’ll quickly find that having these diversions around for your puppy will keep them out of trouble, as it will encourage them to play with and chew on things they’re actually supposed to have in their possession.
A veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ can provide you with plenty of ideas for ways you can keep your puppy active, including training exercises that both stimulate your dog and help them to learn. But here are just a few examples of some of the things you should take into consideration when you’re bringing home a new puppy you want to keep entertained.
Challenge your pup
Dogs still have an imperative to hunt in their genes. Your puppy, of course, is a domesticated animal, but it still needs some challenges to keep its brain occupied, much in the same way hunting and foraging would have challenged its ancestors. Providing animals with mental challenges and enrichment exercises helps keep them happier and healthier—this is true for puppies just as much as it is, say, for animals who live in a zoo (which is why you’ll often see large toys in the enclosures with the lions and tigers, for example).
Because you meet your dog’s food needs and they don’t have to hunt, you have to give them other items to focus on. This means providing them with stimulating games and toys. It could be something extremely simple, such as going for a walk, or it could be hiding treats underneath a blanket and encouraging the puppy to find them. You can also train your dog to play fetch—toss a toy or ball and watch the dog run after it, then reward the dog if it brings the toy back.
There are plenty of other, more complex activities you can provide your dog, as well, including puzzles that puppies must solve to get a food reward, some types of activity mats, ball-launching toys and more. If you’re able to engage more than one sense at a time in an activity, you should aim to do so.
Make sure there’s a reward
The reward element of these enrichment exercises is critical, because the dog needs to be encouraged to repeat certain actions. Most puppies are very highly motivated by food, so it can help to have some extra-special treats you save just for these enrichment exercises. You’ll quickly learn which types of treats your dog responds to best, so making sure the treats you use for training or enrichment exercises are something a little more tantalizing than their standard treats for everyday use can be a good idea.
If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to help your dog engage in some enrichment activities at home, it can be helpful to speak with a veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Visit Newkirk Family Veterinarians to discuss fun activities and exercises for your new puppy!