Dogs need mental exercise. They are intelligent animals, not unthinking machines. So, when considering the type of exercise to give them, it’s a mistake to focus exclusively on the physical. And brain games for dogs are the best way to trigger dogs’ intelligence and make use of their free time to learn and enjoy.
A large amount of canine research into the dog’s brain has been conducted across the world. Studies have shown that dogs are far more intuitive than you may think. When dogs get bored, they try to create their own fun by engaging in behaviors deemed unacceptable by dog owners. While your dog is only trying to keep itself entertained, this can translate to humans as them exhibiting bad, even destructive behavior. For these reasons, it’s important to keep your dog’s brain active and engaged throughout the day. And brain games for dogs are great to start their journey as stimulated pups.
Hide and Seek
One great way to boost your dog’s problem-solving skills is to play brain games for dogs like Hide and Seek. With this activity, you also get the opportunity to reinforce dog commands like ‘wait’ and ‘come’, as well as introduce new command words like ‘find’.
There are lots of different variations of this game that you can try—testing your dog to seek out treats, toys, or even you!
Teaching your dog a new trick requires a lot of concentration on their part, which is why tricks make for a challenging brain workout and brain games for dogs! By teaching new tricks with positive, rewards-based training, you can help to boost your dog’s confidence and happiness. Just remember to provide lots of praise and enthusiasm!
We’ve all heard of tricks like ‘paw’ and ‘shake hands’, but there are hundreds of other tricks and brain games for dogs out there that you can add to your dog’s skill set. Fun tricks that make for great mental games include:
- Sit Pretty
- Roll over
- Close the door
- Be Shy
- Cross Legs
Scatter feeding is an activity and brain games for dogs that encourage a dog’s natural foraging instincts by hiding treats or food on the floor around the house or garden. This type of enrichment activity is easy to introduce, all you need to do is let your dog search for and sniff out its food over a specific area.
Dogs boast an incredible sense of smell, and nose work games like scatter feeding encourage autonomy while providing an exciting alternative to the usual feeding routine of eating from a bowl.
While we’re on the topic of feeding, food puzzles also make for an extremely popular type of brain games for dogs, as they too challenge your dog to work for food. There are lots of dog food puzzles available to buy online, or you can do it yourself and make a food puzzle at home!
These puzzles benefit both memory and problem-solving skills, while also decreasing stress and improving a dog’s digestion. With a puzzle game, the speed at which a dog eats is slower, as they have to successfully work out how to maneuver the puzzle to fully access the food beneath each hole.
Interactive Dog Toys as Brain Games for Dogs
There are many ways that dog toys can be used to train your dog’s mind. Toys come in all shapes and sizes, with different features to make playtime fun and interesting.
Squeaky dog toys help to exercise a dog’s brain by capturing its attention and reinforcing its desire to chew and play. Equally, dog toys that roll, or bounce in different directions help to provide a challenge by perplexing a dog’s brain.
Take note that it is very important to exercise not just your dogs physically, but also mentally so if you are trying to make your pup engaged in different and newer things try these easy brain games for dogs to kickstart their journey.
By: Kathleen Beatriz Lapig