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mental stimulation Tag

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Special thanks to Kong Artist Taylor McDonald and her pup Bindi for this awesome fall KONG dog toy recipe with pumpkin spice filler! Follow Bindi and Taylor's adventures at their Instagram, Bindi's Bucket List, where they post canine enrichment ideas and creative KONG recipes of all kinds. What You'll Need One or More Appropriately Sized KONG Dog Toy (or other stuffable treat toy) 100% Raw Pureed Pumpkin Artificial Sweetener Free Whipped Cream Bully Stick, Greenie, Dental Stix, or other chewie Optional: A Bit of Your Dog's Regular Kibble Optional: A Mug or Cup How to Make a Pumpkin Spiced Kong for Your Dog Assemble your ingredients and KONG dog toys (or other treat toys). Scoop a bit of pumpkin into the bottom of the KONG with a spoon. Add some kibble to the middle, if you're including part of your dog's regular meal. This helps up the nutritional value of the recipe. Furthermore, kibble adds a variety of textures to the pumpkin and whipped cream mixture. Fill the remainder of the KONG toy with pumpkin once you're finished with the kibble or other middle fillers. Consider mixing the kibble and pumpkin together for a great challenge, if you're planning on freezing the KONG. Add a dollop of whipped cream to the top of the KONG. Bonus points if you get part of the whipped cream to sink into the pumpkin as if it's "melting." Insert the bone or long-lasting chewie into the top of the KONG on a slant. Leave at least 2/3s of the length exposed for beginner puppies or dogs. For more advanced dogs, leave just the end visible. Repeat for each KONG toy you're stuffing. For added challenge or for more experienced puzzle solvers, place the finished KONG upright in a mug, cup, or several together in a bowl. Freeze them before presenting the mental stimulation toy(s) to your dog for some Fall fun!  

At first glance, a snuffle mat looks like a rug. Made by tying strips of fleece onto a rubber safety mat, snuffle mats create layers of fabric that cascade across each other. Some showcase bright colors and intricate patterns, whereas other snuffle mats are very simple. No matter how they look, though, a snuffle mat is designed for one thing: to offer dogs a chance to use their nose and problem solve. These unique puzzle toys can be bought online or handmade. Making them is straight forward, although time intensive. Keep reading for instructions on making a snuffle mat at home! Once you have a snuffle mat, just sift kibble or treats down into the mountain of fleece and let your dog go to work! These puzzle toys offer plenty of fun and exercise at all times but are especially useful during super hot or cold days when walks may be limited. How to Make a Snuffle Mat First, gather your supplies. You're going to need an appropriate rubber safety mat, cutting utensils, and lots of anti-pill fleece. Home Depot has large anti-fatigue mats that can be easily cut to the right size. They come in 3ft by 3ft squares, with 9 sections per mat. Each section makes one snuffle mat. You'll need a utility knife for cutting the mat and scissors for cutting fleece. It's not a bad idea to put on a good movie or audiobook before beginning, since cutting the fleece is time-consuming and repetitive. You'll need 2 to 3 yards of fleece for each 12" by 12" snuffle mat. Walmart has inexpensive fleece and major art stores commonly run mega sales. Joann's Fabrics has an extensive online clearance section for fleece, so have fun picking! Once you have your fleece, cut it into strips. The longer the strips, the more challenging the mat. You don't need precision cutting, but each strip should be 1" to 1.5" wide and 8" to 10" long. Again, it doesn't need to be perfect! Cut all your fleece at once -- it's frustrating to have to start and stop to cut more. You can start in the middle or at the edge of your mat. It's usually easier to begin in the middle and work out, but whatever works for you is fine! Turn your rubber safety mat over to the back and poke both ends of a fleece strip through the mat. Tie a tight knot

For dogs, a huge part of remaining physically and mentally sound involves exercise and lots of it. When the weather goes wild, so can an understimulated, bored, pent up dog! Inclement weather often causes major issues with getting enough activity to keep a Service Dog focused, relaxed, and happy. Learn about indoor energy burners and some easy alternatives anyone can use! Service Dog trainers and handlers everywhere know that top performance from a canine partner requires careful balancing of work, play, and learning. Any deficits in a dog's care can cause an avalanche of issues with a dog's training or work, especially if the lapse involves nutrition, rest, or exercise. Exercise in particular, experts say, has the biggest ripple effect on a dog's behavior. "A tired dog is a happy dog," canine behaviorists often joke. However, a lack of activity is no laughing matter, as it can disrupt even the most well-trained dog's ability to focus and function. Unfortunately for dog lovers everywhere, though, Mother Nature doesn't care about your Service Dog's exercise needs. Endless rain, gray skies, and chilly temperatures often make going outside to exercise your Service Dog a real challenge. When inclement weather continues for days or even weeks on end, it can get increasingly more difficult to meet your Service Dog's need for a solid workout. Fortunately, though, there are tons of easy ways to exercise a dog indoors, some of which you may not have considered! Use Your Dog's Natural Play Style to Exercise Indoors To discover ideas that might work for you and your dog, begin by examining your dog's play style. Different breeds tend towards distinct categories of play, but every dog remains an individual. As an example, lots of herding dogs play chase games.  Many bully breed dogs, however, prefer body slamming and full contact wrestling. What types of games and activities does your partner enjoy? Many play styles readily adapt to indoor activities. Pups who enjoy tugging, contact and wrestling games, or softer / solo play types entertain easily indoors. Think creatively and use items lying around the house. Maybe dining room chairs magically morph part of a maze or a blanket becomes a hideout for a chase game. Full Body Motions Burn Lots of Energy (and Yeah, a Bit of Equipment Helps) For dogs with more active play styles or those with higher energy, working on jumps, send outs, or highly physical tricks offer plenty of opportunities to burn