I find it is important to present your dogs with toys that encourage them to use their 5 senses; smell, hearing, sight, taste and touch. Not only would stimulating toys for dogs encourage the use of these senses but it exercises their minds, keeps them occupied and helps limit boredom.
The below is aimed to give ideas on stimulating toys for your dog on each of the 5 senses.
Toys for Stimulating your Dogs Smell
A good way to exercise and train your dogs sense of smell is to simply put a few drops of essential oil onto a tennis ball or any ball that your dog enjoys, then place this ball with the essential oil scent under a table, in the backyard or anywhere you seem fit. Just be sure he/she does not see you when placing the ball as it could jeopardise the point of the exercise.
When your dog has picked up on the smell and successfully locates the ball you can choose to give a reward in the way of giving affection and praise or a dog treat.
Putting some kibble, spreading peanut butter, or any other food option your dog enjoys on the inside of a Kong is another great way to combine the testing of your dogs sense of smell as well as providing a reward.
Toys for Stimulating your Dogs Taste
Following on from the Kong suggestion for stimulating your dogs sense of smell you can also use this option to test your dogs sense of taste. By coating the inside of the Kong in a thin layer of Peanut Butter your dog will have to use their tongue to lick the inside. If they are using their tongue they are tasting the Peanut Butter therefore using their sense of taste to get every last bit,
If your dog is like mine and does not enjoy playing with Kongs there are many varieties of purpose made balls that allow you to put treats in as well. This would be a great alternative and it will still fit in with the primary objective.
Toys for Stimulating your Dogs Touch
Providing your dog with a variety of different textured toys allows them to exercise their sense of touch, they are able to farmiliarise themselves between toys and decide which they’d prefer.
Rope toys are great for your dog if they enjoy playing tug of war, it is durable and your dog can get grip on one end of the rope whilst you tug at the other end, having a soft or rubber toy in this instance just won’t last as long.
There are many various options for soft and tough dog toys such as plush toys, rubber balls, plastic chew toys and rope made toys. Giving your dog access to a variety of these textured toys will stimulate your dogs sense of touch by using their mouths to differentiate between soft and tough and how much force they can/need to use.
Toys for Stimulating your Dogs Sight
Anything with colour – although dogs may not see colours how we see them they can still differentiate between light and dark shades. A brightly coloured chew ring is a good way to bring in a variety of shades into your dogs world.
Larger toys like ball dispensers are also great toys to stimulate your dogs sight. With the quick release of the ball out of the dispenser your dog follows the motion to locate the ball. Of course you could throw the ball yourself but if you are short of time with one too many things to juggle or you just can’t be bothered this toy device is a great time saver, once you’ve trained your dog how to use it of course.
Toys for Stimulating your Dogs Hearing
Squeaky toys! I am sure every dog owner who has given one of these toys to their dog regrets the decision more than once after purchasing. Despite the annoyance of the squeaking when all you are after is some peace and quiet these toys are great at testing your dogs hearing.
Whether it be a plush squeak toy or rubber that your dog enjoys a great idea you can try is when you dog is not within your sight just give it a few squeezes, and see how long it takes them to find where the noise is coming from. This will mostly work if your dog is actually interested in these particular toys, I’ve met some that don’t take much interest to squeak toys at all. So just because your dog may not react to the noise does not always mean they are having hearing problems, they just might not be interested in this type of toy.
I hope you found this helpful and you have come away with ideas of stimulating toys for your dogs. As much as it is important for dogs to exercise in and out of the yard, it is also important to exercise your dogs enrichment.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post.