Just like food, water, shelter, and vet care, mental stimulation (also known as enrichment) is important to our dog’s everyday lives and their long term health. Enrichment is any activity that gives our dogs freedom of choice and helps them to exhibit their natural behaviors in a safe way. Some of these natural behaviors include chewing, digging, or chasing. Because these behaviors are not going to be easily trained out of a dog, as pet parents we can find ways to help our dogs complete them in a way that won’t get them in trouble, such as digging up the flowers you just planted in your garden.
One of the biggest issues pet parents run into is unwanted chewing. Your kitchen chairs or new pair of shoes can become the victim to a bored puppy who is just looking for anything to chew on. A great and easy way to help with inappropriate chewing is to incorporate bully sticks into your dog’s schedule for mental stimulation.
Bully sticks are single-ingredient chews that are made from beef pizzle. They typically come in different sizes and shapes, such as these low-odor 6” bully sticks or 12” bully sticks from Bully Bundles. Depending on how heavy of a chewer your dog is and how big the bully stick is, they may last anywhere from 15 minutes to a few days.
In this article, we’ll touch on 7 different ways you can incorporate bully sticks into your dog’s enrichment routine to benefit their mental and physical health.
- Slow Feeder
Use a bully stick as a slow feeder by putting it through a hole in a puzzle feeder or food-dispensing toy, such as a Toppl or Hol-ee Bone. This will make your dog work for their treat, providing mental stimulation and helping to slow down their eating. Watch an example below.
2. Training Tool
Use a bully stick as a jackpot reward at the end of a training session. This will help your dog learn new tricks and behaviors while also providing a tasty reward. For example, you can use a bully stick as a reward for staying on a training mat to help teach your dog a “place” behavior. It may even help them to stay on their mat for longer periods of time! Find more ways to use bully sticks during training by checking out our article 3 Practical Ways to Use Bully Sticks to Train Your Dog.
3. Scenting Game
Hide a bully stick under a blanket and encourage your dog to find it using their sense of smell. Can they find it? While we have about 6 million olfactory (sense of smell) receptors, dogs have up to 300 million! This means that even though our bully sticks may not smell enough to you, your dog will be able to detect their smell, even under a blanket.
4. Outdoor Adventure
Take a bully stick with you on outdoor adventures, such as hiking or camping. When it’s time for a snack break or at the end of your hike, give your dog a bully stick to replenish their energy!
5. Busy Bucket
Put the bully stick at the bottom of a bucket filled with packing paper, toys, and treats to create a challenging puzzle for your dog. Depending on the size of your dog, you can use something as small as a children’s sand bucket or get creative and use something as large as a wading pool. Then place the bully stick at the bottom and cover it with dog-friendly items, such as toilet paper rolls, packing paper, stuffed toys, and maybe even your dog’s favorite blanket.
6. Create a Frozen Treat
Incorporate the bully stick into another tasty treat for your dog. All you’ll need for this activity is a Bully Bundles bully stick, a silicone mold, and some dog-friendly foods, such as canned pumpkin. Find an easy recipe by checking out this article from My GBGV Life titled Pumpkin Spice Surprise On (Bully Bundles) Sticks.
7. Hide and Seek
Place hide and seek by hiding in a different room from your dog, whether it be behind an open door or under your comforter. Once you’re hidden, call your dog’s name and wait for them to come find you. Once they find you, use a bully stick as their reward.
Whether you’re new or experienced in giving mental stimulation to your dog, it’s always beneficial to have some extra and easy activities in your back pocket. Thankfully, with a tasty bully stick, you can benefit your dog’s physical and mental health.
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