Mental stimulation is crucial for any Siberian husky. It can be the difference between a happy calm husky, or a disobedient and destructive one.
In this article, I cover the 8 best ways to keep your husky entertained with mental stimulation, and I’ll explain why this is particularly important.
8 Ways To Give Your Husky More Mental Stimulation:
- Nose work games
- Hide and seek
- Give names to his toys
- Interactive puzzle toys
- Treat under the cup puzzle game
- Interact with your husky more
- Agility training
- Teach your husky new tricks
Why Mental Stimulation Is Crucial For Huskies
In other words, mental stimulation is like exercise, but for the brain. It’s something that gets your husky actively thinking and using parts of the brain they don’t normally use for day to day “boring” stuff.
As you all know, physical exercise is extremely important for huskies, which can make it easy to forget and even neglect their mental exercise requirements.
There’s a classic saying “A tired dog, is a happy dog” and while this is true, it may surprise you to know that a mentally stimulated dog, is an even happier dog.
Aside from taking care of your husky’s physical exercise, you really need to have some solid mental stimulation lined up for your fluffy friend. This will tire their brain, not just their hind legs.
The following health benefits that can be seen in dogs from having regular mental stimulation:
- Reduces hyperactivity
- Alleviates boredom
- Prevents destructive behavior tendencies
- Reduces chances of depression
- Lowers stress
- Increases happiness
- Keeps your dog’s brain healthy
- Increases intelligence & trainability
Pretty good benefits right? Ok, let’s get stuck into the best ways you can keep your husky entertained with mental stimulation.
8 Ways to mentally stimulate your husky
These are all great brain games that your husky will absolutely LOVE. Some of these ideas involve getting some quality puzzle toys, but not all of them… Although puzzle/interactive toys are great, you can get creative and make up your own mentally stimulating games. Don’t worry, I’ll cover everything below.
1. Nose Work Games (scent games)
Scent games or nose work games are one of our favorite ways to incorporate more mental stimulation and entertainment into your husky’s daily routine.
Nose work games involve your husky needing to use their nose to solve problems and find things, aka treats ;). This style of mental stimulation is great for working your husky’s natural survival skills and can even be carried out while you are going for walks with them.
How to do it:
When starting out, give them a helping hand by using a smelly treat, and only hiding it in easy-to-find places. As your husky understands the game better, try swapping a smelly treat for something more healthy like a carrot. After waving the treat in front of your husky’s nose, have them sit and wait in a certain location (or keep them in another room), while you hide the treat. Then use a command like “go get it” and watch them go wild.
The great thing about this game is that you can keep making it harder and more interesting as your husky get’s better at it.
2. Hide and Seek
A classic game from all of our childhoods, well, it’s time to play it again! Hide and seek is one of the most exciting games for dogs and expels a lot of their energy and gets their brains very working overdrive.
How to do it:
If your husky hasn’t already got a good grasp of “sit & stay” you’ll need the help of someone else to keep your husky back while you go into another part of your house and hide. Once you’re in position call out for your husky’s name and let them find you.
If you thought kids went crazy playing this game, wait until you play it with your husky. Trust me. Be sure to change positions all the time and don’t be afraid to make it difficult, you can also make subtle noises to keep your husky guessing. This will prove to be one of your husky’s favorite games, guaranteed 🙂
3. Give names to your husky’s toys
You might be thinking, err what? You might sound a bit crazy having names for your dog’s toys, but this game is one of the best ways to mentally stimulate your husky and will be very rewarding for them.
One thing, just ensure that YOU remember which name goes to which toy. Otherwise your husky will end up training you…don’t worry, I’ve been there.
How to do it:
Have two different toys, one in each hand. Hold one of the toys out to your husky and repeat that toy’s name several times, let your husky sniff, bite and chew it all while you praise them and repeat the name. Then, after a few minutes, do the same with the other toy.
Then try holding both toys out in each hand and calling out just one name. Your husky will start using their memory to work out which toy they need to choose. After a lot of practice, you can add several toys to the game until you are at the point where you can layout the toys on the floor, and have your husky pick individual toys for the correct name you call out.
P.S there’s a border collie who knows the name of over 1000 different toys.
4. Puzzle Toys | Interactive Toys
Puzzle toys or otherwise known as interactive toys aren’t just your average rope toy. These toys make your husky mentally engaged instead of just randomly chewing away. These are particularly great for when you have to leave your husky home alone.
There are many different types of puzzle toys but the most common are ones where you hide a treat then your husky figures out how to access it.
Some toys require your dog to learn to press a button for the treat to dispense and other toys involve your husky having to roll it in certain directions. The list is extensive, so you have plenty of options to choose from.
I’ve recommended the following interactive toys before, and they’re all still proving themselves to be awesome. Take a look
StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Toy
Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzle Toy
5. Treat under the cup puzzle game
As well as treating your fluffy friend to some store-bought toys, you can easily create your own games from basic items you have around your house. One of them being the “treat under the cup” game!
Ever seen street magicians put the coin under one of three cups and move them around to confuse you? You guessed it, this is the same game for your husky, but with a treat instead of a boring coin.
How to do it:
Just grab some cups that aren’t see-through and some small treats. As your husky gets better, increase the number of cups you use and how fast you move them around.
The great thing about this game is that you can literally go and do it right now, you don’t need any fancy toys or equipment. A great brain teaser you can try now with your huskaroo.
6. Interact With Your Husky More
This one seems very basic, and that’s exactly why it’s easy to underestimate the power of it.
A study conducted by Dr Emily Blackwell from Bristol University involving 4000 dog owners showed that the less the owners played with their dog, the more likely the dog could suffer from a range of 22 behavioral problems. Our interaction with our dogs has a huge impact on their behavior and happiness.
This is pretty easy to do as well. Playing fetch with your dog, tug of war, literally, anything that involves you as part of the game will count. It’s more mentally stimulating for your husky over them playing with their toys alone. So try making more time to be a part of the games!
7. Agility Training
If you have a reasonably sized yard, agility training is awesome. It may take some practice and time before your husky gets the hang of it, but with your guidance and consistency, you’ll soon get there.
Agility training sets consist of hoops to jump through, tunnels to crawl through, hurdles to jump over and sticks to weave in and out of. Don’t think this is just for physical exercise either, your husky will be using their brain to actively help them through the obstacles. As your husky gets better, change the layout and course setup. You can keep your husky focused by switching things up!
How to do it:
Set up an agility circuit in your yard from your set of hoops, tunnels, and hurdles and guide your husky around the course, doing as should for each specific moment.
In the very beginning, your husky is going to have no idea what they should be doing, so your patience is needed. After a week of failures, your husky will get the hang of it, where you can up the tempo and make it interesting.
You can great sets like this one from amazon, or you can even make your own.
8. Teach your husky new tricks
If your husky knows all basic training like sit down, stay there and lay down, you can move on to other tricks that your fluffy friend will love.
Teaching your husky new tricks is a great way to add some extra mental stimulation to their day. Not only will it stimulate their brain, but it will increase the bond you have between them, as well as making them super happy. Husky’s love to know what to do, they need a lot of guidance in their lives and this comes from their strong pack-life way of living.
Expect amazing health and behavior benefits from teaching your husky new tricks. Check out this video from the great, Sixty Formula Channel.
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Keeping Your Husky Entertained
You have a Siberian husky, which means you know just how demanding they can sometimes be.
They have enormous amounts of energy, excitement and it’s easy for huskies to start misbehaving. That’s why it’s so important for you to really understand how to keep your husky entertained.
Ensuring your husky is as entertained as they need to be will make your life go much smoother and trouble-free. Let’s cover all the ways you can keep your husky entertained and behaving like a “good boy”
Ways to keep your husky entertained, happy and well-behaved:
● Adequate exercise: Make sure to give your husky 2 hours of exercise per day. Ideally one hour in the morning and one more in the evening. Exercise is a fundamental part of any husky’s life.
● Training: A husky needs training from the very beginning. They are independent and can develop an attitude quite easily. For your husky to be well-behaved and guided, training should begin right away.
● Plenty of interaction: Make sure you are spending as much time as you can with your husky, teaching them tricks, playing with them, and general engagement. This will strengthen your bond and keep them thoroughly entertained and happy.
● Try the mental stimulation ideas above: This article was all about how important mental stimulation is for a husky. All of the ideas above are necessary ways to keep your husky entertained and happy.
● Avoid leaving your husky alone for too long: Huskies, in particular, don’t do well when left alone. Seperation anxiety develops quite fast with huskies so avoid leaving them without company for many hours on end. Going to work? ask for a mid-shift break, or have a friend or family member visit your house to break up the day.
● Go to doggy meet-ups: Huskies are naturally very social, with both humans and dogs. Frequent social interaction significantly improves their overall behavior and happiness. Having scheduled meet-ups will give your husky an overdose of entertainment! (in a good way of course!)
Remember that for a happy husky (or any dog) you need a little bit of everything.
Try not to neglect one aspect like training, just because you’re giving them more exercise, or neglect spending time with them because you’ve bought them their own puzzle toy.
It’s all about having a balance of everything, to have a truly happy husky 🙂
Tell us your favorite games!
There are endless amounts of games you can create for your fluffy friends and I know that you’ve probably got a few of your own!
For all other husky owners and other dog owners, drop a comment below of your favorite made-up games. Sharing is caring and we can all help each other to keep our beautiful friends entertained and properly stimulated.
So there you have it, you now know of 8 great ways you can keep your husky entertained and provide more mental stimulation throughout their day.
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