Come on, admit it! You've bragged to friends about how smart your dog is, haven't you? That's OK - we all do it. Dogs are just like our kids in that regard. They learn a new trick or do something cute and we're sending e-mails and posting to Facebook like nobody's business. Also like our children, dogs need stimulation and enrichment to keep their minds active and continue to learn.
What is Enrichment?
Commonly used by zookeepers to maintain the mental and physical health of their animals, enrichment consists of any activity that challenges or entertains an animal, causing them to take some sort of action. It is often combined with feeding, making an animal work for their food, similar to what they might have to do in nature.
Here are five 'smart toys' for dogs that challenge their abilities and intelligence.
Leo Canine Genius $15.95
This durable toy has a crisscross hole that allows you to stuff a few treats for your dog. As your dog plays with the toy and smells the treats, he will inevitably squeeze it in just the right manner to release the goodies. With practice, he will learn exactly how to do it, and be able to retrieve his treats very quickly. Once he gets the hang of it, you can add additional units, as they are designed to interlock to make the task more challenging.
Twister Smart Dog Toy $59.50
This cool contraption requires your dog to use his paws or nose to move the puzzle pieces around the frame to unlock his treats. Once he masters the basic puzzle, you can use the accompanying wooden pegs to lock some of the segments in place and increase the difficulty of the task.
Triad Smart Dog Toy $22.50
This intriguing toy has two parts. Fido must first learn to turn the spinner to unlock the treat covers. Then, he has to learn to lift the covers to get to the tasty treats.
This smart dog toy works with your dog's natural hunting instincts by combining three toys in one - Hide-and-Seek, Spin-a-Whirl and a Slide Puzzle.Interactive Dog Tornado $29.28
To solve the puzzle and get to these hidden treats, your dog will first have to dislodge the bones. After achieving that, he will need to learn to turn the revolving sections until his treats are revealed.
All of these smart dog toys will provide many hours of fun and enrichment for your special friend. In addition to stimulating your dog's brain, they can be used to treat hyperactivity or even food gulping and obesity.
More from Cherri:How to approach a shy or timid pet