Pets need food, shelter and companionship to stay happy and healthy, but they also need mental stimulation. This keeps them from getting bored, which can lead to them becoming anxious or acting out. You’ll notice pets being bored in behavior such as
- Inappropriate urination or defecation
- Excessive grooming or vocalization
- Being disobedient or slow to obey
- Destroying your home or yard
Providing enrichment or stimulation through the methods below can meet your pet’s mental needs and bust any boredom he or she may experience.
Teach your pet tricks. Aside from learning obedience, teaching your dog to sit or your parrot to step up helps stimulates a pet’s mind, keeping him or her from being bored. Be sure to reward desired behavior with treats and praise.
Provide playtime and exercise. Pets let off steam, learn to interact and have fun when they have regular playtime and exercise. Try using a fun chasing toy to play with your cat or throwing a ball to or tackling an agility course with your dog. Give your parakeet a swing or ladder to explore in her cage, or drop a ping pong ball in the aquarium for your beta fish to chase.
Give your pets regular social interaction. Interacting regularly with people or other pets helps keep your pet’s mind active. Taking a trip to the dog park, having the kids play with the cat, etc. helps your pet bond with you, feel good and learn the rules of proper interaction, engaging his mind.
Supply toys that stimulate the mind. Aside from playtime toys, to abate boredom you can provide mental stimulation to your pet through toys that challenge them. For dogs and cats, hide a treat in a puzzle toy or maze toy to challenge them to retrieve their treats. Foraging toys provide a challenge and reward for animals that are naturally foragers in the wild, so attach a foraging toy to a parrot’s cage or drop a moss ball into an aquarium to keep fish, particularly beta fish, chasing and grazing.
Try these tricks to keep your pet mentally stimulated. If you’re still puzzled by your pet or need more insights to help him or her, feel free to book a pet reading with me.