Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is just as important as keeping him physically fit. These 7 brain games are easy to learn and fun for all.
Your dog may love chasing after a not-so-fuzzy-anymore tennis ball or showing his strength in a game of tug-a-war, but his body isn’t the only thing that needs daily exercise.
Dogs are intelligent animals that are just as much brain as they are brawn. A bored dog is a destructive dog, but there are countless games you can play with your pooch to keep his frontal lobe fired up.
Take time out of your day to teach your dog these fun and mentally stimulating games.
You’ve probably seen this game played in movies by rough-handed hustlers, but here’s the doggy version.
Line up three old cups on the floor in front of your dog. Take a smelly treat and put it under one cup. Let your dog watch as you move the cups around, and give him the treat when he picks the right cup.
Dogs rely on their noses more than any other sense, and their powerful sniffers make the treasure hunt game fun for both you and your dog.
Find something extra smelly that your dog loves, like a Kong full of peanut butter or his favorite old toy. Show him your treasure, and then tell him to sit and stay while you go and hide it.
Say, “Find it, Fido!” and watch as he follows his sniffer to hidden treasure.
You spent hours playing this as a kid, and now it’s time to pass the baton on to your dog.
To play, tell your dog to stay while you go and hide. When you’re ready, yell out, “Ready or not here you come!” Or maybe a simple, “Come, Fido!” will work better.
Your dog should use his ears and nose to seek you out.
Your dog already recognizes words like “ball,” “treat,” and “do you wanna go on a walk.” To play the name game, all you have to do is teach him a few more.
The bigger his vocabulary, the more fun the game is. Tell him the name of an object (or person) and watch in delight as he seeks it out.
Clean up, clean up, everybody do their share! Including the dog!
Teach your dog to pick up things like his toys or your dirty laundry. Once he picks up an object, teach him to deposit it in a designated location. “Retrieve” and “drop it” will be your best friends with this simple game.
The new trick game is kind of like dealer’s choice. Instead of telling your dog to roll over, say, “new trick!”
He should sit, lay down, roll over, or do whatever else he thinks will impress you enough to make that treat go from your hand to his mouth. The more you play, the more challenging the game is. Don’t let him repeat tricks!
This beginner brain game can be set up using things you have lying around the house.
Dig out an old muffin tin and place some smelly treats in a few of the holes. Cover all of the holes with balls or some other kind of toy, and let him figure out how to remove the toys to get to the good stuff.