Are you using dog chews to give your pup some much needed mental stimulation? There are a ton of benefits to single-ingredient dried chews. One of the best perks is exercising your dog’s brain! Chewing taps into your dog’s natural instincts and challenges their concentration.
Your dog will get the greatest benefit from chewing on high quality, long-lasting chews. Read on to learn why it’s important to provide mental stimulation for your dog and discover my dog mom-approved source for the best dog chews!
Why is Mental Stimulation Important for your Dog?
Many dog behavioral problems develop because of a lack of mental stimulation. Physical exercise is not enough for your dog! Its important to add activities to your daily walks that give your dog a mental challenge and ask them to flex their brain muscles!
These are called canine enrichment activities and can vary from social interactions to sensory games and creative ways to feed dinner. According to The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, “the purpose of enrichment is to reduce stress and improve well-being by providing physical and mental stimulation, encouraging species-typical behaviors [such as] chewing for dogs.”
Using Dog Chews for Mental Stimulation
I love using tough dog chews to give Burt and Lucy some challenging mental stimulation. Chewing is an essential, daily function that is instinctually fulfilling for your dog. Let them tap into their canine instincts!
I subscribe to Real Dog Box and get the chew only box each month so I’m always stocked up on high quality chews to keep the dogs busy. The chews in the box are all-natural, single-ingredient & unprocessed. Although the chews don’t look like something you’d order on a menu, all the meat is restaurant quality and sourced from the best providers.
There are usually light, medium, and heavy chews in each box. Sometimes I give the chews on their own. But more often I like to work them into a more complex mental stimulation toy. That might mean that I freeze a steer pizzle or turkey breast in a pupsicle (get my fave recipe!) or use a duck foot as the big prize inside a busy box!
The chews are great mental stimulation on their own, too! To make the fun last longer, I store everything in our Real Dog Box in the freezer as soon as it arrives each month. Freezing the chews means the dogs have to take their time chewing them. I also think freezing cuts down on the mess some chews can leave behind.
Dog Enrichment Brain Games
While you can buy tons of enrichment toys for your dog, they’re only as good as the ingredients you put in them! My dogs love to play with puzzles and brain games that involve getting out treats or chews. By using tough, single ingredient, all-natural chews I can make the games last longer plus we get all the benefits of the chews!
In the summer, you can also make a super-sized pupsicle by putting a light chew from Real Dog Box and a kong stuffed with yogurt and blueberries in a medium size bowl. Fill it with water and freeze the whole thing! It will take your dog a long time to lick their way to the center, but it will be so worth it when they get to the delicious chew inside.
Another dog brain game we love to play is a scavenger hunt! For this game, I use dried liver, kidney or green-lipped muscles from our Real Dog Box. I put the dogs in a stay position by the back door then I walk around the yard hiding little bits of chews. When I’m ready, I release them and let the scavenger hunt begin! A good command to use for this game is “search” or “find”.
A good sniffing session is wonderful enrichment for your dog! Sniffing is actually self-calming and sends a calming signal to other dogs. Thanks to Dog Minded Boston for that factoid!
Any of these chew brain games will challenge your dog’s ability to stay focused on a task for an extended period of time. Keep doing these enrichment activities a few times a week to build up their focus.
Mental endurance is REAL. Being able to focus longer means your dog will be better behaved when you take them out and when you’re working from home. So it’s a win, win!
Get the Best Dog Chews for Mental Stimulation
I’ve been a customer of Real Dog Box for a couple of years and love seeing what’s in our box each month! I recently became an ambassador so I’d be able to extend a free bag of treats to everyone who signs up with my link! I can’t recommend this company enough. But let me tell you a few of my favorite things…
First of all, Real Dog Box is a woman-run company. Their treats and chews are naturally air-dried for up to 100 hours! All of the meat is sourced from ethical and humane providers. They never use preservatives, chemicals or bleach (yes, some companies use bleach on their chews… you don’t want to buy those!).
Each box also contains an info card for each treat or chew that you get that month. These cards are awesome! They tell you how the chew was prepared and exactly where it came from. They also tell you WHY this chew is so good for your dog and give you ideas on how to feed it.
Here’s an example of the info card for the Lamb Ear that you can see in some of the photos in this post. Honestly, these freak me out! But after I read about all the benefits and see how the dogs enjoy them, they’ve become a household favorite.
Ready to get signed up for your first box? Just click on my link below to order. YOu can choose from treats only, chews only or a hybrid combo. Real Dog Box will also ask if your dog has any allergies and make sure that your box is full of things they’re able to enjoy!
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*I’m proud to be a Real Dog Box affiliate ambassador. If you purchase a box through my link and redeem your free bag of treats, I may earn a small commission. On Wear Wag Repeat I only recommend products and services that I truly believe it.