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How to mentally stimulate a dog in easy steps

Canines of all breeds and ages need to be mentally stimulated on frequent basis, otherwise they might get dull, bored and even start acting out destructively. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a certified animal behaviorist so that you can mentally stimulate a dog. All you need is some patience and devotion in order to keep your puppy occupied and well-exercised both physically and mentally.

4 simple tips on how to challenge your dog on a mental basis

Dog running in the parkWhen making your dog perform tricks and carry out commands, don’t ever give the same commands in the very same order, otherwise your pup will just start carrying them out mechanically like a robot. By switching them up in a different order each time, you’ll mentally stimulate the dog into thinking about what each command really means before it carries it out.

Hiding treats for dogs is a common practice, which many pet parents opt for. If you’ve never done it before, you should start right away. Hiding treats and making the dog work for its reward not only stimulates the pet’s brain, but also helps it keep its olfaction well-trained.

 

Teaching the pup the names of its toys is among the best types of mental stimulation games for dogs. Instead of just telling your pet to go get “the ball”, you can teach it all the names of its favorite toys. Next time you want it to get its “yellow ball” or “green rope”, it will have to think about which toy you’re referring to and where said toy is located before it brings it to you.

1. Mental stimulation games for dogs

Playful dogBrain training games for dogs are of intrinsic importance for every single canine breed out there. They not only keep the puppy’s brain well-exercised, but also provide entertainment and sometimes even the satisfactory experience of receiving a tasty reward in the end. Here are a few examples of games that offer mental stimulation for puppies, as well as for their adult counterparts.

 

 

2. Puzzle games

Nowadays there’s a vast variety of puzzle games for dogs on the market. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive puzzle toys. You can simply construct a maze inside your home or in your yard with numerous obstacles, which the dog must defeat before reaching the end. You can also make a custom puzzle toy for your pet by using a plain plastic bottle in which you can place some dry dog food or treats. (Cesar Millan actually does that with the dogs he trains!)


3. Hide and seek

Mental stimulation is important for dogsThere are numerous ways to play hide and seek with a dog. You can either hide inside your home making the dog search for you, or you can up your game with some toys and treats. The Shell game is one such game. Simply hide a treat under one cup in a row of numerous cups and make the canine guess the correct “shell”. Another version of the shell game is to use your fists instead of cups and make the pup choose the correct fist. Lastly, hide and seek can also be played with toys if your pet knows the names of its toys. Just ask the pup to go find each toy by using the different names (rubbing the toys off some food will make it easier) and then praise your pet for each accomplishment.

 

4. Dance-off

The dance-off game is an excellent way to stimulate your pup on a physical and mental level. It’s basically an interactive way to spend some bonding time with your canine pal while performing the tricks the dog is performing along with it. Dance-off makes the pup analyze your voice commands, then analyze your own movements (while you’re performing said command), and finally do the commands on its own. This mental stimulation game is also suitable for the children whenever they want to play with the family dog.


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