We had several dogs here visiting yesterday and after the fact Luke and Tilley were exhausted. It got me to thinking about mental stimulation. I believe that mental stimulation is as important as physical stimualation. It always amazes me how a big day out with lots of "new" things can tucker a dog out. Not all mental stimulation is positive; there are events that can simply drain a dog like going to the vet. Tilley gets so stressed out at the vet that she slips into a coma as soon as we get home and there she stays until dinner time.
You know how some days when you are really busy, not physically but mentally you are exhausted at the end of the day? I often feel like I didnt' really do anything but I'm so tired, but it is my brain that has been working overtime. This is the same for dogs, and yesterday we had a lot of communications between all the dogs. Heck even Tilley got in on the communicating which doesn't normally happen.
Stimulation is a good thing; too much can be a bad thing. That is why one of my common phrases is "quit while you are ahead." Don't overdo, just do. If a trip to the dogpark is on your agenda, make it a short and sweet one. Visiting a new mall with your dog? Make it an in and out trip, don't wait until your dog is on overload.
Dogs like humans can build their capacity to handle mental stimulation. And while you are mentally stimulating your dog, your brain is also getting a workout. That is if you are paying attention to what is going on with your dog, not just holding the other end of the leash.
Well I'm off to get a physical workout.