We all lead busy lives these days and as much as we'd like to spend two hours a day walking our dogs sometimes it is just not possible. Providing mental stimulation for your dog in addition to a daily outing is a great way to keep them healthy both mentally and physically. Research has shown that 15 minutes of challenging mental stimulation for a dog is like going for a one hour walk.

There are a range of games you can play with your dog that will provide them with the mental stimulation and challenge they need. There are behaviour benefits from keeping your dog entertained in a positive way as well. So if you are walking your dog each day and challenging your pet with games and puzzles, you are less likely to have a dog that is going to chew, dig holes, bark unnecessarily and be naughty.

These days there are many interesting and fun dog puzzles and games available that will provide your dog with hours of fun and entertainment. Look for a game or puzzle that allows you to reward your dog as they play. The better ones will allow you to hide food or treats within chambers or sections of the puzzle that your dog then needs to find. The aim of the game is for your dog to hunt and find the food or treats in the puzzle.

Puzzle Games for Dogs

Some games offer even more of a challenge with "locks" or other mechanisms that mean your dog has to work their way through the different challenge "levels" to get their reward. Most games or puzzles you can buy from the pet shop also come with a challenge rating - so if you're worried your dog will find them too hard then start off with one of the easier ones. Once they've worked out the easy one you can upgrade to a harder model and start the fun all over again. It's a good idea to rotate the games as well as this keeps it interesting and your dog will have to work it out all over again.

Think about the food or treats you hide in the puzzle game as well. A treat that smells really, really good is going to keep your dog interested for much longer than say a piece of dry dog kibble. Try out the different jerky treats available to find one that motivates your dog the most. Tuna jerky is a strong smelling reward that is bound to tempt the fussiest of dogs.

Games are also a great way to bond with your pet. Imagine the fun you can have watching your dog find the treats and get their reward. It's a fun time for them and they'll associate that with being with you.

Click here to see our range of dog games and puzzle toys