Our pet's brains were designed to navigate complex social systems, dangerous settings, and in a world where food is not provided in a bowl twice daily. Living as pets makes life a lot simpler, but now those busy minds need something else to do. We strongly suggest finding fun ways to provide mental stimulation for your pet, or suffer the consequence,...(of chewed shoes, feather plucking, or even just a really sad pet.) The following 3 techniques will give your pet's brain a little workout.
1. Forage for food.
This is probably the easiest and most under utilized method of mental stimulation. We know it's sooooo easy just to pour some food in a bowl, but if you can commit to letting your pet 'work' for even 3 meals a week, you'd be doing them a big favor. Food dispensing toys are available for nearly every type of animal & make this easy to accomplish - our pets LOVE to be served breakfast in a toy!! You can be creative, but it doesn't need to get complicated. Try just tossing a bowlful of dry food & treats on the floor or out the back door on a nice day.
2. Rotate Toys. Face it, the stuff you see day in & day out gets old. Your pet's toys will loose their appeal after a while too, but you can keep the excitement alive by rotating them regularly. Keep about 3 -5 toys accessible all the time, and put the rest away. Switch out a couple of toys every few days. When your pet is interacting with toys - his brain is busy!!
3. Training. The ultimate mental workout. You can work on real behavior stuff, like teaching a noisy cat to stop meowing, or 'just for fun' things like Find it! And yes, you can train ANY pet, not just dogs - it's the magic of clicker training. Check out YouTube for lots of other great tutorials - just make sure the training is FUN for you and the pet!
Posts made after 2/1/2013 written by Kelly. Most older articles written by Cathy. She accepts sole responsibility for typos and bad grammarisms.