Keeping your Shiba Inu mentally active is super important.
A well-stimulated Shiba Inu is a joy to be around, while a bored one can be quite a handful.
In this article, you’ll find 8 top tips for engaging your Shiba Inu’s brain. I’ll also share why keeping their mind busy is so important.
8 Fun Ideas to Stimulate Your Shiba Inu’s Brain:
- Scent Trails
- Go Seek Game
- Toy Naming
- Brain-Boosting Gadgets
- Hidden Treat Game
- Quality Time
- Obstacle Courses
- Teach Cool Moves
I’ll expand on all of these below!
Why Keeping Your Shiba Inu Mentally Active Is a Must
Think of mental stimulation as a workout for your Shiba Inu’s brain. It’s like a gym session, but for the mind.
We all know Shiba Inus need physical exercise. But, it’s easy to overlook their need for brain games and puzzles.
You’ve heard the saying, “A tired dog is a happy dog,” right? Well, it’s actually brain work that makes a dog truly tired, more than running around.
Giving your Shiba Inu fun mental challenges does more than tire them out. It also helps keep their mind sharp. Here are some of the good things that happen when you keep your Shiba’s brain busy:
- Calms them down
- Fights off boredom
- Stops bad behavior
- Lowers the risk of feeling blue
- Eases stress
- Boosts their mood
- Makes their brain strong
- Helps them learn better
Fun Brain Games Your Shiba Inu Will Adore
Get ready to have a blast with your Shiba Inu! You can find puzzle toys to help, but you don’t need them for all the games. So let your imagination run wild! Below, you’ll find everything you need to know.
1. Sniff It Out Games
Your Shiba will love using their sniffer to find hidden goodies. This is a fun way to add some excitement to walks or playtime at home.
Anything that gets your Shiba’s sense of smell involved will ignite their minds and prove to be excellent mental stimulation.
➡️ How to play:
Start easy with a strong-smelling treat. Make it a simple find at first. Then swap out the treat for something healthier like a piece of apple. Hide it, say “find it,” and let the games begin. You can up the difficulty level as your pup gets the hang of it.
2. Hide and Seek
Remember this childhood game? Well, your Shiba Inu will love it too!
The best thing about this is it can be spontaneous and you can start playing without any notice. This really gets dogs excited.
➡️ How to play:
If your Shiba Inu knows how to “sit & stay,” you can leave them in one room while you hide in another. Then, call their name and let them find you. Change up your hiding spots to keep the game exciting.
3. Name Those Toys
Yes, you read right! Giving names to toys can be a mental workout for your Shiba. Start easy, but overtime this can prove to be one of the most rewarding games/skills you could teach.
➡️ How to play:
Show one toy and repeat its name. Let your Shiba sniff and chew it while you say the name. Then do the same with another toy. After a while, test their memory by asking for one toy by name.
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4. Puzzle and Interactive Toys
These aren’t your average squeaky toys. These make your Shiba think before they get a reward.
Some recommended toys include:
- Treat-Dispensing Ball
- Dog Smart Puzzle
- Spinny Toy
5. Cup and Treat Game
You’ve seen street performers do the cup game, right? Try it with your Shiba!
Again, this really gets their minds invovled as they need to visually follow the treat, and they’re probably using their sense of smell too!
➡️ How to play:
Use non-see-through cups and small treats. Mix the cups around after you’ve hidden the treat and let your Shiba pick the right one. It’s a quick and easy brain game.
6. Play More With Your Shiba
Interaction is key. Studies show that playing with your dog can help prevent behavioral issues. Games like fetch or tug-of-war can be both fun and mentally stimulating.
7. Agility Fun
If you’ve got some outdoor space, try agility training.
➡️ How to play:
Set up a mini course with hoops and tunnels. At first, guide your Shiba through it. They’ll get better with practice and you can add more obstacles.
8. Learn New Skills
Once your Shiba knows the basics like “sit” or “stay,” try teaching new tricks. It’ll not only be a fun activity but also strengthen your bond with your Shiba Inu.
Learning new tricks is good for your Shiba’s well-being and boosts their mental stimulation. So, it’s a win-win!
Keeping Your Shiba Inu Entertained. The Truth
Ultimately, there is no “wrong” or “right” way to keep your Shiba entertained, busy, and stimulated.
It’s simple all about engagement and activity.
Give them something to do, something to see, something to smell… Literally anything other than doing absolutely nothing, is usually a good thing for our dogs.
We don’t need to over complicate it.
Even taking your Shiba for a walk in a different environment will also count as mental stimulation, simply because all the sights and smells will be different.
When we remember this, it becomes a lot easier to start providing our dogs with greater stimulation. As there are no rules as to what it should be.
Of course, I do suggest using some of the tips and tricks given above, but in general, just increasing engagement (in any form) will lead to all the same benefits.
Here are some extra basics to keep your Shiba Inu happy and content, forever.
● Exercise: Try to walk your Shiba Inu for about an hour in the morning and another hour in the evening. Exercise is really important for them.
● Training: Shiba Inus are very smart but they like doing their own thing. Start training them as soon as you can.
● Play and talk: Spend a lot of time with your Shiba Inu. Play games, teach them tricks and just hang out. This will make both of you super happy.
● Keep their brain busy: Just like the list above said, keeping their mind active is key. All these ideas will make your Shiba Inu happy.
● Don’t leave them alone too much: Shiba Inus don’t like being alone for a long time. If you’re away, maybe ask a friend to pop in and say hi.
● Doggy get-togethers: Shiba Inus like meeting new people and dogs. Plan some doggy dates to keep them excited and happy.
Balance is key. Mix it all up, and your Shiba Inu will be a happy camper!
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