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7 Signs Your Dog Needs More Mental Stimulation

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Have you ever wondered why your dog still destroys your shoes, even after a two-mile doggy run? Many dog owners worry about whether or not their dog is getting enough physical exercise, but they completely forget about mental exercise. If your dog is displaying any of the signs below, he may be in desperate need of some mental stimulation such as training, activity toys, and games.

#1 – Can’t Settle

Does your dog whine, pace, or get up from his resting position every few minutes? Dogs that just can’t settle, even after physical exercise, are suffering from a brain that just won’t be quiet. Exercising their brain will help him relax and finally settle down.

Image source: @MartinCathrae via Flickr
Image source: @MartinCathrae via Flickr

#2 – Destroys Things

If your dog is shredding, chewing, tearing, and ripping your belongings, no matter how many miles you run him, then he probably needs to wear out that brain. Give him an activity toy that he can “tear” into or a puzzle to solve (hiding toys is great!).

Image source: @heschong via Flickr

Image source: @heschong via Flickr

#3 – Chases Tail

Some dogs become obsessed with chasing their tail. Often it’s herding breeds such as the Border Collie, but any dog can become a tail chaser. Give your dog something else to do with her mind, and she’ll stop the chase (barring any medical conditions). Things like teaching her to herd a ball into a net or trick training can help.

Image source: @TarotheShibaInu via Flickr
Image source: @TarotheShibaInu via Flickr

#4 – Barks at Everything

This is the dog that acts like she’s “looking for trouble” — everything’s a threat, including the imaginary bunny in the corner or you walking through the door. Training is definitely a must for these dogs, but so is giving them something else to do with their brain other than imagining threats. Give them a job to do – such as when the doorbell rings, she needs to find her mat and go lay down – to help ease her mind.

Image source: @AndrewButitta via Flickr
Image source: @AndrewButitta via Flickr

#5 – Digs Holes

Has your dog dug a hole to China in the backyard? Again, this is usually a boredom behavior. Give your dog something to do in the backyard that uses her brain and she will be less likely to dig up your petunias. Some pet parents actually give their dog a sand box to dig in and bury things for them to find – this uses mental and physical energy!

Image source: @rubenvaneijk via Flickr
Image source: @rubenvaneijk via Flickr

#6 – Sleeps A Lot

You may think this is a good thing, but it can be a sign your dog is bored and it’s definitely not healthy. If your dog sleeps more than your cat, you probably should break out some activity toys.

Image source: @LukasBenc via Flickr
Image source: @LukasBenc via Flickr

#7 – Whines

If your dog is whining for what seems like no reason (you’ve ruled out pain, fear, stress, attention, etc.), he may be bored. Think back to when you were a kid – what did you do when you were bored? You whined to your parents! Your dog is doing the same thing. Wait until he is quiet, and then give him something to do like an activity toy, or play a game with him.

Image source: @Kartrinacruz via Flickr
Image source: @Kartrinacruz via Flickr

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