top of page

Indoor Mental Stimulation Ideas for Your Puppy


One of the most common issues that I see throughout the course of training dogs is that they do not receive the proper amount, if any, of mental stimulation required for a puppy's overall happiness. Not only does mental stimulation make your puppy happy, but these tools are designed to exhaust your puppy both physically and mentally, prompting better behavior inside and outside of their home.

Oftentimes, puppy owners are unaware of their puppies' need for mental stimulation. However, once they are educated on how to introduce it into everyday life and form a more structured schedule for their puppy, owners will see results almost immediately. While there are endless ways to mentally stimulate your puppy, I am going to recommend some of my favorites in the list below, which have proven to be the most beneficial for new puppy owners and their new puppies.

5-10 Minute Training Sessions

One of the most beneficial things that an owner can do for their new puppy is to introduce obedience and structure into their life. Puppies, even though it might not seem like it, crave structure and stability in their lives and want to please their owners; they just have to know how! Though puppies do not have an extended attention span, they do have the capability to learn a lot in a small amount of time. Taking 5-10 minutes out of your day a few times a day to teach new commands or practice already learned commands, such as sit, down, stay, come, shake, etc., will mentally and physically exhaust your puppy, as well as benefit the relationship between you and your dog!

Stuffed Kong

A stuffed Kong will be your puppy's new best friend! A Kong can be found at any of your local pet stores or online. This toy is one of the most popular toys used for mental enrichment and serves as a positive aid when crate training a puppy. Kongs come in many different shapes and sizes designed to satisfy your puppy's specific needs. As a dog owner, you have the task of making this a fun activity for your puppy and introducing a wide variety of stuffings for the inside of the toy. You can stuff your Kong with baby food, unflavored Greek yogurt, applesauce, smashed blueberries, peanut butter, canned pumpkin, beef/chicken broth, carrots, and the list goes on! One tip for making your Kong last longer is to stuff the toy and freeze it for a few hours and then give it to your puppy. This will make the puppy work harder for what is inside, mentally stimulating and exhausting them.

Doggy Puzzles

Introducing a puzzle into your dog's day can be an excellent source of mental enrichment. Humans work their brains to solve puzzles because they find them fun and fulfilling. Challenges for the brain are also fulfilling for dogs. A dog puzzle looks much different than a regular puzzle but serves a similar purpose. You can include a puzzle during their mealtimes or when distributing treats so that food becomes the driving force of this activity. The food will go into various slots that the owner will close shut, flip upside down, turn inside out, etc., so that your puppy will be forced to think about how they can gain access to the food. This will occupy your puppy with activities that are both fun and safe.

In conclusion, mental enrichment is very important for your puppy, and there are endless opportunities to enrich your dog's mind. Look to your local pet stores or online for toys that will exhaust your puppy with little effort on your part!

Catherine Wilson wrote this article for Top Gun Dog Training.

Request a FREE Phone Consultation for dog training in Huntsville, AL.


bottom of page