Every responsible owner knows that a dog needs plenty of exercise to stay physically healthy. However, this is not the only reason you would take your pet out for a walk. Hard work is great for a dog's mental health, and many breeds need to be treated like they are doing a job for you in order to feel fulfilled.
Some breeds, such as Huskies, are often described as 'working dogs'. This name is literal; they might be your family pet now, but they were bred for work. This means they will not feel fulfilled unless they have performed a task. If you own a working dog, it is a good idea to therefore give them a job to do before mealtimes.
This will make sure your dog is mentally and emotionally healthy, as well as physically. Here are a few ways you can put your dog to work:
One simple thing you can do for your dog is to give them a weighted backpack to carry around with them. You must make sure it isn't too heavy, of course, or you can end up harming your dog's spine and hips. But having them carry a load for a while makes your dog think they are working.
This is the equivalent of Huskies pulling a dog sled. By having them carry a load - then rewarding them with plenty of praise afterwards, of course - you can make your dog feel useful.
Some dogs are not the most physical specimens, particularly smaller breeds, so physical work is not the best thing for them. However, they might be intelligent enough to benefit from a puzzle or two.
You can buy specially designed puzzle toys to intellectually stimulate your pet before mealtimes. The idea behind them is that you hide a treat or small piece of food inside, and your dog has to work to get it out by turning, rotating and pulling mechanisms. The end result is a very fulfilled dog that has worked incredibly hard for their meal!
Written by: Hannah Dyball