Toys to Keep Pets Challenged

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Toys to Keep Pets Challenged

When I work with animal communication clients regarding certain behavioral issues with their dog or cat, it is not uncommon for a part of the cause to be related to

  • anxiety or boredom,
  • prey drive/hunting instinct, or
  • territorialism.

Of course, every animal’s rationale for their behavior is different and it is important to understand what is driving them to react as they do. But quite often the solution involves redirecting the pet to a less destructive, more productive activity. Toys to keep your animal companion challenged, mentally and physically, can be just the ticket.

Consider your pet’s breed, which gives a clue as to their in-bred instinct. Obviously a Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever dog loves to retrieve. It’s great exercise for them to chase balls, Frisbees, and sticks as thrown by their guardians, and until these dogs approach their golden years, they could partake in this activity for hours. You can add more mental challenge for them by rubbing their favorite retrieval item with a food scent and hiding the item. This is great for an retriever dog who might have a bit of anxiety or destructive behavior when you leave them alone for a few hours. Give them the “job” of finding their toy, assisted only by scent, and then guarding or protecting it while you are away.

Other dog breeds may not have a strong retrieval instinct, but may be very motivated by food. Toys that allow a special treat to be locked inside can keep these canines busy and mentally challenged for hours.

Cats have a strong prey drive, and they don’t lose that instinct just because they are indoor cats. Sometimes their frustration at not being able to stalk and hunt builds to a point of frustration and unwanted behaviors can develop, not to mention stalking and hunting is a great way for a cat to keep themselves fit. Scratching posts, catnip toys, and interactive games with their humans are all great, but consider adding some challenge for your kitty by making a simple toy to allow them to express their natural instinct, AND allowing them to reap the final reward at the end. A few bits of dried chicken or their favorite fish flakes in a recycled (empty) water bottle with small punctures for the aroma to escape will keep them redirected from yowling at the window, attacking your visitor’s feet, or scratching the furniture due to boredom. Small, light-weight bottles are all the better for skittering across the kitchen floor, just like a mouse would do. And best of all, if you don’t tighten the lid much, repeated batting and rolling around will eventually allow the lid to come off and the treats will be disbursed. This kind of foraging toy, while not identical to hunting a mouse or snake in the garden, will allow your feline to honor his natural instinct for hunting, and a redirection to this game from an unwanted behavior could make your home much more harmonious for all.

If your pet is exhibiting unwanted behaviors and you suspect they are bored, find a mentally challenging game for them which is appropriate for their breed and personal preferences.

I look forward to working with your beloved animals for a variety of relevant topics. Schedule your animal communication consultation now for a deeper understanding of behaviors, symptoms, and quality of life.

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