Mental Enrichment for Dogs

Whilst throwing balls for our dogs and enjoying watching them charge around is great fun this kind of activity causes the adrenalin to pump and for some dogs may lead to feeling over excited, unable to relax and can lead to destruction and anxiety. It can also be detrimental to your pet’s physical health.

Also, what happens if your dog cannot run around? Perhaps they have an injury, are recovering from a procedure at the vets or are just getting older.

Low impact mental stimulation is great for every dog. As well as physical exercise dogs need mental activity where they use their brain [and usually their nose] to keep them truly happy.

Here are some great ideas for mental stimulation games;

  1. POT GAME- Place upside down cups, bowls or plant pots on the floor or in the garden and hide treats under some of them and leave others empty. Your dog will quicky learn to search for the treats under the pots. You can perhaps mix the treats up with high value [piece of chicken] and lower value [chopped carrots]
  2. TOILET ROLL HOLDERS- There is a use for these! Place treats inside them and then create a parcel. Hide these around the house or garden for your pet to find.
  3. TEA TOWEL GAME- Roll treats inside a tea towel and allow your dog to search them out i.e, homemade version of a snuffle matt
  4. WATER LOVERS- Drop treats into a paddling pool for dogs to search out
  5. OLD LOGS – Scatter treats amongst these for your dog to find 6. PATE- Simply smearing pate on fence posts, buckets etc for your dog to find and lick is great. The act of licking is also calming for dogs

NB, Take care that dogs do not ingest anything that may cause a foreign body or use anything sharp that could cause harm. Also take care if you have multiple dogs who make not want to share food. Instead do these exercises with them separately.


Useful Links/ Video Ideas:

Useful Books:

Claire Arrowsmith- Brain Games for Dogs

Shay Kelly- Canine Enrichment

2 Mill Road, West Mersea

Colchester, Essex



Opening Hours:

Mon-Fri:  8:30 - 19:00

Sat: 8:30 - 12:30

Tel: 01206 384999

 Sun & BH: closed

Out of Hours Tel : 01206 842224




Did you know? ..Blackwater Vets is one of only just a few veterinary practices in the Colchester region that hold cat friendly clinic status?