Like humans, a dogs mind should be challenged in order to keep them sharp, stimulated and enriched. Allowing a dog to learn more, do more, challenge them or stimulate other senses can be beneficial and further the bond you have with your four-legged companion.
While physical exercise is important to maintain a healthy, balanced pooched, mental exercise and stimulation can be just as important. Dogs with little mental and environmental stimulation can develop behavioural issues as a result. By challenging your dogs mind and maintaining a regular exercise scheduling you’ll be covering all bases necessary for a happy and healthy dog.
Here our 5 top tips to challenging your dog’s mind
Introduce A New Trick:
Being consistent with obedience is important to maintaining a well-behaved dog, but once he’s mastered “Sit, Drop, Stay”, you can explore other options with his training and further enrich his mind by introducing a new trick or command into his repertoire.
Spend time each day learning a new skill. There are many fun tricks and training beyond general obedience that can challenge your dogs mind, further your training abilities and build the bond you have with your dog.
- Play Dead
- Shake Hands
- Roll Over
- Bark On Command
There are countless resources available to guide you with the tools and knowledge to execute the training. Alternatively, a Private Lesson with our Trainers will be the sure-fire way to fast-track your understanding of the best way to achieve your training goals.
Change Up Play Time
If a simple game of fetch is no longer cutting the mustard for your play time rituals, consider a new game to play with your dog. We suggest a friendly game of Hide and Seek! Hide and Seek will certainly shake things up and allow your dog to utilise other senses, including his sense of smell, making for the perfect nose work game.
Anything is possible with a game of Hide and Seek. You can use a treat, toy or even a person allowing family members and children to participate in the fun. With your dog patiently waiting, instruct your dog to “SEEK” and praise your dog after he has found the object/person!
An easy way to begin is to;
- Show your dog the object of his desire (i.e. a tennis ball)
- Have an assistant create a small trail around the yard and place the object
- Release the dog with a command (i.e. “SEEK” or “FIND”)
- Ensure you praise the dog once he has discovered the hiding spot
- Increase the level of difficulty as your dog’s understanding develops
Join a Training Class
A fantastic way to further develop your dog’s mind is through training and positive socialisation. Found by the Hound have introduced a K9 High School Club, focussing on a higher level of motivational training with the reward being food or play. This Club is social and designed to allow owners and dogs alike a time and environment for fun, training and socialisation.
Although you may have passed the Puppy Kindy and General Obedience Stage, there is always training available for those who wish to pursue it further. This can include learning new tricks, training under heavy distraction, agility and sports.
Speak to the Trainers at Found by the Hound to learn more about our Group Training Courses.
Nose work and scent games offer your dog a rewarding and fun way to use their natural abilities. Even though a dog’s sense of smell is more than 10,000 times more powerful than our own they still rely on visuals, especially in familiar environments such as your home. Nose work games can help your dog hone in on their natural talents, and in turn stimulate their mind.
A beginners guide to a simple Nose Work game can be “Which Cup Has The Treat”;
- Choose an area with little to no distraction
- Have you dog in a “Sit” position
- Place a treat under one of two objects
- Show the dog
- Give your dog a command (i.e. FIND IT)
- Once your dog gestures towards the correct object, reward. Start to increase the number of objects that are placed down that the dog will need to search. Utilising “clicker training” in this game will assist with the dogs training
Once your dog masters this game, you can introduce new Nose Work games and increase the level of difficulty.
Our Found by the Hound Trainers compete in Nose Work Competitions and offer Training in this area for those who are interested in implementing this into their own training efforts.
Challenging Toys + Puzzles
There are many types of interactive food toys and puzzles that you can use as well for the same purpose and they are not all just “food dispensers.” For some, the dog has to really think about how to get the food out of the various types of openings. This can provide hours of entertainment and mental stimulation for your dog while challenging his mind and testing his senses.
For more ideas and ways to enrich your dog’s life and mental stimulation, contact the team at Found by the Hound!