It might seem like dogs are relatively brainless creatures, but anyone who has spent any time with one of these incredible creatures knows better. In general, most dogs are actually pretty intelligent, with many displaying advanced puzzle and problem-solving abilities. Learn more easy brain games for dogs here.
Even if a specific dog is not all that smart, most of them still like to play and be stimulated. Dogs hate being bored, just like humans. Moreover, a dog’s mind can be trained to be faster and smarter, just like humans.
This is why they make brain games that keep a dog occupied and mentally stimulated, with one benefit being that it helps to keep dogs mentally fit into old age. Whether you decide to buy real dog puzzles or to make your own brain games for them, there is plenty of variety to choose from.
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Puzzles and Treat Dispensers
Today we are here to discuss various games and activities you can do at home with your dog, various games like hide and seek. We aren’t here to review a myriad of toys. However, the fact remains that dozens, if not hundreds, of dog puzzle toys, are available.
Mainly they all involve dispensing food because let’s face it, that’s the best motivation. They’ll keep your dog busy and stimulated until the treats run out.
The Shell Game
This is precisely what you think it is. Take three plastic cups, pretty large ones, and get some treats. Place all three cups face down on the floor, and put a treat under one of them. Make sure that your dog sees where you put the treat. Slowly mix the cups around.
Remember to shuffle the cups slowly because it is a dog, after all. This is just for fun with your dog. Encourage your dog to find the treat under the correct cup. It’s pretty simple but quite stimulating.
Name the Toy
Another good brain game for your dog is “name the toy.” Ok, so you are the one naming the toy. No, your dog isn’t going to learn English and start rattling off toy names. The point of this game is for you to assign a name to a toy. Keep it simple. Call the ball a ball, and so on and so forth.
Just like you teach your dog other words and commands, such as sit and down, you can also teach your dog to learn the name of a toy. Reinforce this by constantly saying the name of the toy the dog has.
Eventually, you should be able to get the dog to pick out that specific toy by telling them to go get it. Once your dog can “name” or identify one of the toys, move on to other toys. Dogs can learn roughly 165 words, so this can be a very long-running exercise!
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is always a good brain game for dogs. Of course, what you are hiding is either a treat or a toy, so your dog will rely on its nose to find it. You can always have someone hold the dog while you hide. Dogs usually love searching for things, especially if they get to use their noses.
The Stuffed Kong
This one is not overly mentally stimulating, but it still requires some brainpower. Kongs are great dog toys because they come in many shapes and sizes, they are made tough, and they are often made with holes and crevices to hide treats or smear peanut butter into.
Although figuring out how to remove the food is not that hard, getting it out can be challenging. It can take dogs hours to get all of that peanut butter out of the Kong. Once the job is done, the Kong can go into the dishwasher.
The Which Hand Game
The other good brain game to play with dogs is the which hand game, a simplified version of the shell game. Put your hands behind your back, have a treat in one of the hands, then show the dog your hands, and have them find the treat. It’s a 50/50 shot, so it should not be too hard.
If these easy brain games for dogs seem too simple, we recommend looking in pet stores or online for some of the more challenging puzzles that will keep your dog busy and stimulated for a longer time.