Dr. Al Townshend
The Grey Wolf is the original ancestor of the canine we know today as the domestic dog. It is thought they crossed the land bridge between Asia and what is now Alaska some 700.000 years ago and, at one time, inhabited all of North America. Through most of that time, natural reproductive selection of the strongest and most intelligent animals enhanced their ability to overcome the challenges required to survive and thrive.
Overcoming the mental and physical challenges of daily life in the wild has been a part of most of the existence of the canine species. Relatively recent archeological information (1997) suggests man began to play a role in canine evolution some 130,000 years ago, resulting in the domestic dog we know and love.
Today, the domestic canine is no longer challenged with trying to survive. Humans have taken on the role of Guardian and are committed to meeting their needs. Guardians understand the close bond that develops is the true reward for both.
Mental and Physical Stimulation
Evolution and domestication have altered many of the characteristics seen in the wild ancestors; however, mental and physical stimulation is still essential for the health and well-being of our four-legged companions.
Whether it is the smallest Chihuahua or the largest Great Dane, we can all agree that they all need regular exercise to stay healthy and live a long life.
Mental stimulation is also a key factor in not only the health and longevity of a beloved canine, but it is also an essential factor in supporting the bond between humans and their pets. It allows a canine to engage in their natural behavior, builds confidence, and gives them a feeling of accomplishment. Best of all, it prevents boredom, anxiety, and frustration, which are some of the leading causes of behavioral issues.
Mental Stimulation and Life Enrichment
Enriching a pet’s life is all about getting to know the specific needs of your pet and helping them understand your needs. Some dogs need more exercise that others, and some thrive on mental challenges.
- Training is a critical factor in developing a pet to be all it can be, both physically and mentally. It helps the pet better understand what pleases the Guardian and what displeases them, significantly reducing stress for the pet and Guardian.
- Purpose is something we all need in our lives, and pets are no different. Learning skills like retrieving, agility, swimming, and many other activities shared with their Guardians can fulfill their desire to please.
- Puzzles are a great way to stimulate a pet mentally and physically. Pets love challenges, especially if there is a reward at the end.
- Companionship is especially important for pets and their Guardians. Life can be lonely, frustrating, and disappointing without interaction. Companionship enriches all lives, satisfies a purpose, and encourages a healthy and happy life for all.
Incorporating mental enrichment into your dog’s life will increase his happiness and well-being, and that makes life better for both of you!