There are a lot of dog owners who still claim that mental stimulation is not important for puppies. Others will claim that it is mandatory. What is mental stimulation for puppies? How irrelevant or important? All of this and so much more are some of the answers we will provide to you. We can tell you that this is an extremely important thing you can provide to all puppies regardless of their breed. But, let’s see more detailed answers.
What Is Mental Stimulation For Puppies?
As always, we must start from the start. and the answer is the same as for mental stimulation for humans. This is a set of activities or exercises that will utilize the mind. In people, these are used to boost brainpower. In puppies, they are used for other reasons. The main one is to eliminate boredom from the life of your pet. The second one is to keep your puppy happy and the third is to make him develop properly.
Is Mental Stimulation Good For Puppies?
As you can see, mental stimulation is good for puppies. Later in life, mental stimulation can make a huge difference and can help you have the best dog. The best explanation here is also the simplest. Is mental stimulation good for children? All people will say yes. Well, the situation is the same when it comes to puppies. It is simply important. There are no side effects and there are no negative effects. All you can get is a happier puppy and a more active one.
Why Is Mental Stimulation Important For Puppies?
It is important simply because your puppy will enjoy the exercise and learn new things while being active. We can add that you can have a smarter puppy or dog later on. Puppies can be under stress as well. Once again, we can see that mental stimulation can help them decrease stress and become happier.
Nevertheless, mental stimulation in puppies is essential due to physical activity. All of the exercises and games you can provide involve physical activity. One of them is an indoor treasure hunt. Your puppy will need to utilize his sense of smell, move around and search for an item. If your puppy is one of the breeds that are known as hunting dogs, these exercises are essential. These puppies don’t like to sit in the house all day long and mental stimulation can be a game changing addition.
Mental stimulation is also essential if your puppy has too much energy. You will use exercises to help him use that energy so he will sleep better. He will be able to focus his attention better as well.
One thing we really like and would like to share with you is the bond that will become much stronger. We are talking about the bond between you two. See, a lot of mental stimulation exercises are games you will play with your puppy.
This will make your bond impressive and very strong. For some of you, this will be the main reason here and the one you will want to get. Don’t forget that there are a lot more benefits of mental stimulation and your puppy will get all of them at the same time. Now you can see why some dog owners believe mental stimulation is more than just essential.
Puppy Mental Development
It is mandatory to add that all puppies have developmental stages. There are 5 of them. However, we cannot generalize them. Every puppy is different so each one will reach a new stage when he is ready. Below we will cover the developmental stages so you can have a better idea of which stage your puppy is.
First Stage: 0-2 Weeks
This is a neonatal period. During this stage, puppies use touch and sense only. They rely on their mother only.
Second Stage: 2-4 Weeks
The stage here is the transitional stage or period. The main thing here is the fact the personality of your puppy will start to form at this stage. Also, they will keep their eyes open now and the teeth will show.
Third Stage: 3-12 Weeks
The socialization stage is very much important. For example, between the third and fifth week of age, puppies will start to notice people around them. They will start to interact as well. They will also begin to play so you may want to start to play with them as well. This is also the stage where puppies can go home. It means you can adopt a puppy at this stage. More accurately, this happens at age 7-9 weeks.
Fourth Stage: 3-6 Months
This is something we call a testing period. Puppies will test other puppies and even owners. They want to see what they can do and how far they can go. It is important to set the controls at this stage and don’t allow them to do anything they like. There is no end to it. Also, their teeth are still growing. You may want to use some remedies to help them. A wet cloth method still works.
Fifth Stage: 6-18 Months
Well, your puppy is an adolescent now. They will start producing hormones so the behavior will change dramatically. Let’s just say that you will experience similar problems people do with their teenage children. In smaller dogs, adolescence will start at age 6 months. Large dog breeds enter the stage at 10 months.
How Much Mental Stimulation Does A Puppy Need?
Now that you know what is mental stimulation for puppies is and why it is important, we need to answer one more question. How often do you have to provide mental stimulation to your pet? Sadly, there is no simple answer here. Most puppies will need 15-20 minutes per day. However, most dog owners don’t have the time or they want to use the time on other things.
Try to provide him with mental stimulation every time when you can. These don’t have to be some complicated things or something where you will have to invest hours. A simple exercise (we will cover some of the best ones below) can be ideal. If you really want to provide the best puppyhood to your puppies, then a mental activity of 20 minutes per day would be ideal. If your puppy is a member of a very active dog breed, you may want to prolong this to 30 minutes per day.
How To Stimulate A Puppy’s Mind: Puppy Mental Stimulation Exercises
There are countless things you can do in order to mentally stimulate your puppy’s mind. But, some of these are complicated or take a lot of time. We would like to go in the opposite direction. We will want to present the simplest exercises and the ones that work best.
Start With Interactive Toys
These toys are excellent. First of all, puppies love them. You can find toys that are like puzzles. Some puppies adore these. You can also find toys that will be interesting to your puppy because he can sniff them, try to open them or etc. We also like the fact you can use these toys when your puppy is home alone. Just try to find the toy that your puppy likes.
Hide a toy or something your puppy likes and try to issue a command so he will start looking for the toy. If or when he finds it, reward him with a treat. After a couple of tries, you will have a puppy who will enjoy playing treasure hunt with you. Maybe he will even want to play when you don’t want to.
Explore New Things
The simplest exercise here is also one of the most effective. All you have to do is to take your puppy outside. Allow him to go wherever he wants and sniff all the things he likes. Keep him on the leash. Allow him to do this for at least 20-30 minutes and rest when he likes. There is no need to add that this exercise works on all puppies and all dogs and it has an impressive effect.
Ice Toy Game
You can take his favorite toy and freeze it in the water. Allow a lot of ice around it. Then you can give it to your puppy. It will be interesting to him what is inside and how he can take it out. Don’t try this on very small puppies. Also, you will have a puddle of water in the end so keep that in mind.
The Final Word
Yes, you know what mental stimulation is for puppies and why it is so important. Try to provide this to your puppy as often as possible and try to do it daily. Your puppy will get only the good things and he will be mentally and physically active, happier, and eliminate stress. If you use some of the exercises from above, your puppy will be a 100% happy dog.