Guest post: TLC DIY Mental Enrichment Games for Pets

Pets can become frustrated when there is a lack of mental stimulation in their day-to-day activities, leading them to act out. Dogs and cats are curious by nature and love to learn, so it is important to focus on physical activity and mental activity!

What are “Mental Enrichment” games?

Any activity that exercises your pet’s brain and promotes the use of their senses and problem-solving skills.

Towel Twist

This first game is very simple to set up, just as effective at challenging your pet’s brain, and they’ll love it! Simply lay out an old towel and spread out pieces of your pet’s TLC Kibble or Whole Life Dog Biscuits across the towel. Next, roll your towel up, hiding the treats inside. Your pet will love sniffing out the treats using their paws or nose to unravel the towel. Pets use their nose to discover the world around them, and any activity that will engage this sense can help stimulate your pet.

Treat Blocker

Fill a few sections of a muffin tin with pieces of your pet’s TLC Food and cover each section of the tin with a ball or small toy as a “treat blocker” to cover the section. Let your pet work to seek and remove each “treat blocker” and enjoy the tasty reward.

Track the Treat

Hide a high-value treat like TLC Whole Life Dog Biscuits under one cup out of a set of three cups and have your pup sniff out the one with the treat. They will have to engage mentally to find the treat and problem solve how to get it out from under the cup.

Hide & Treat

Help meet your pet’s scavenging and hunting needs by scattering some of their food and high-value treats, like TLC Dog Biscuits, around your house or yard. Be sure to keep track of where you hide their food in case they cannot find every piece - although we are sure they will want to keep working until they do!

Treat Bottle

The “Treat Bottle” game engages your pet mentally and pushes them to do some critical thinking to come up with a technique to spin the bottle and release the food. Re-use an empty plastic bottle and fill it with some of your pet’s TLC Food. Keep the cap off of the bottle and tie a piece of string around it. The smaller the bottle, the smaller the opening for the food will be, and the trickier it will be for your pet! You can choose to have two people hold each side of the string or tie it to two chairs/doors for your dog to play with. The bottle will naturally stand up straight with the food at the bottom of the bottle; however, as your pet nudges the bottle and works to have it spin around, the food will fall out.

* Note: Pets should remain supervised well playing these games.

TLC Pet Food is our Kid Zone sponsor at this year's New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale. Be sure to visit the Kid Zone for a hay bale maze, small rides, scavenger hunt, puppy petting with St. John's Ambulance therapy dogs, and more.