My dog seems to enjoy having "tasks" to complete — is there a way to keep smart dogs entertained?
Dogs don’t need to be “entertained” generally. They do need stimulation and activity, as do almost all living things. They don’t necessarily need play groups, expensive toys, or gourmet bakery treats. Nor do they need human food, or the opportunity to chase balls and toys in the house. They don’t need to jump on people.
Dogs are creatures of habit and routine. They are traditionalists. They like to do the same thing at the same time, every day. They need and like walks, interaction with people, and things to see and sniff. They like different things to chew and investigate.
It’s not good for them to be left day and night with nothing to do, or they can become sluggish and dull. It’s good to talk to them, pet them, brush them, and, if all else fails, take them lots of places. Give them a chance to see the world.
Exercise is critical for dogs, for mental and physical reasons. All dogs are active hunters and sniffers and they need to move about, explore the world, and get exercise. Exercise, like food and attention, are critical to the welfare of dogs.
If you can’t exercise your dog, hire someone to help. Obesity is a leading cause of death for dogs, and dogs with no exercise develop all sorts of health problems, just like humans. If you don’t ever want to exercise a dog, or can’t, it’s best to get another kind of animal…perhaps a fish.