For dogs, boredom is bad. Bored dogs tend to develop destructive habits like barking, digging and excessive licking. Keeping dogs physically and mentally challenged is so important it's even considered a treatment strategy for canine mental and behavioral disorders, and is called "environmental enrichment".
Environmental enrichment introduces our dogs to new experiences that engage all of the senses: sights, sounds, tastes, smells and touch. It gives them the opportunity to problem solve, and to use their natural instincts - hunt, stalk, attack.
Mental enrichment provides opportunities for the dog to learn and solve problems.
Positive-reinforcement training requires listening, trust, and problem solving. There are training classes and techniques for practically everything: obedience; conformation; vocational training like search and rescue, service dog, and law enforcement.
Toys and puzzles also provide great mental stimulation.
We live in the golden age of dog toys. From balls to chews, toys to pull and chase and squeak, there are dog toys which engage each of the canine senses. Each dog will have toy preferences, so it might take some trial and error to find the toys it likes the best. Once you've found the right toys, hiding them and alternating which ones are available will add extra value. Toys that bring out a dog's natural instincts to hunt, stalk and attack tend to be toys which stay engaging longer.
Puzzle Toys make your dog solve a problem in order to get a food treat. From the old favorite Kong, to treat dispensers that test your dog's intelligence and agility, puzzle toys are fantastic for keeping your dog happy and motivated, and preventing boredom.