Mental stimulation enriches our dog's lives. It alleviates boredom and therefore the likelihood of unwanted behaviours. You may be saying you've tried enrichment toys or activities and they haven't worked. To figure out what activities are going to work for your dog we need to take a look at their breed.
Sporting dogs such as spaniels, retrievers and pointers naturally love to pick up items so fetch is a great go-to for these guys. However, to mix it up you may want to teach them to put their toys away or to hold a stay whilst a toy is thrown and they are then given a release command. A lot of these breeds also LOVE water – so a wading pool is a must. You can add floating toys, treats or ice cubes to enrich any safe body of water.
Herding dogs such as collies, shepherds and kelpies love to work closely with humans. Taking your dog to training classes and teaching them new tricks and behaviours is a must. Puzzle feeders are also a great idea to keep these guys mentally satisfied. Flirt poles are herding balls are also a great outlet that lets them reproduce natural behaviours.
Hound dogs range from scent and sighthounds that need to be safely stimulated in aspects of hunting live game. This could include snuffle mats for an interactive feeding experience or simply hiding food around the room and encouraging your pooch to sniff it out.
Finally, terriers were bred to dig in pursuit of rodents – so their high energy levels and cute short legs need to be entertained. The best way to do this is with a digging pit! Fill a wading pool with sand and bury your dog's favourite toys or treats in there. Snuffle mats and other hidden scent games work well for terriers too as it simulates the hunt.
With so many options for dogs these days there is always one form of enrichment that will benefit any dog – a free walk. These walks allow your dog to have some freedom (whilst still on leash) so they can sniff, dig and play as they wish.