Awakening the intelligence beast: 7 tips on how to challenge your dog mentally in a playful way
From the cute little Chihuahua to the mighty St. Bernard : the representatives of the dog species could not be more different. Nevertheless, all of our tamed wild dogs are descended from the wolf and, like the wolf, possess a high degree of intelligence. Similarly as with humans it is also a need for our domestic animals to be able to live out their predispositions and thus belongs to a happy dog life not only the security food, a place to sleep and run to get, but also the possibility the grey cells to stimulate and train. There are many ways to combine head training with games that are amusing for both dog and owner and also to integrate physical activity. If the dog is physically and mentally occupied, it is easier for him to relax and the relationship with you and his entire environment benefits from your dog's mental well-being. An under-exercised dog will quickly start looking for something to do, and your furniture, including fragile decorations and expensive unique pieces, will quickly become attractive to a bored dog. However, he could also react to the lack of activity with aggression and put you and his further environment in danger. So, to avoid running from the dog yourself, let the dog run in training and combine the physical activity with cognitive, mental tasks to keep the dog mentally occupied. We will give you 7 tips and games with which you can mentally stress your dog and you and your dog will have a lot of fun.
Shift gears quickly and step on the gas: Agility Training
Since a few years some dog sports enjoy more and more popularity. This is no wonder, because these offer mostly not only a challenge for the dog, but also integrate the owner and promote the relationship between the two. Particularly suitable, in order to make possible for the dog not only run, but to bring also its grey cells on full speed is the kind of sport Agility, an obstacle course for dogs, with which it does not only apply to overcome the hurdles in shortest time, but also the sequence of the obstacles plays a role for the evaluation. The dog is required to mentally grasp the instructions of the master in a fraction of a second and to run on accordingly. In addition, the obstacles are not only simple hurdles, but also slaloms, tunnels and seesaws, which require rapid mental processes in the dog's brain. This sport therefore provides your dog with a workout on several levels: mental, physical and social. Your dog learns obedience, but at the same time is challenged to think for himself and has fun with the movement and the game. Of course, after a successful round the reward may not be missing.
Further dog sports are:
- Eventing sport
- Tournament dog sport
Pretty tricky: There is more than just seat! And down!
In dog school, the most necessary and well-known dog tricks are introduced and trained so that you don't get into dangerous situations in traffic, for example. Teaching your dog tricks can be more than just a safety and obedience measure and can even be fun. But we are not talking about hours of boring practice of Sit! Place! and Heel!, but a creative training, where your dog also has fun. Think of fun positions and commands and reward your dog at the right time and to the right extent to keep him motivated. However, keep an eye on the clock and don't overwhelm your dog with too many new tricks at once. It is essential for successful training that you adjust the difficulty at the right moment, but don't overwork him and don't disregard movement and reward with all the mental work. A positive aspect of this mental training is that it improves your relationship with the dog because you are working so intensively with him. In addition, the extent of this training can be quite individually adapted to the intelligence and needs of the dog.
Hats off! The cone game and other possibilities for the head training of your quadruped - Mental Exercise
The classic market game is well known and traditional. You place three cones next to each other, hide an object under one of them and then swap the cones. This game is also very popular with dogs and requires a high degree of concentration. So if you don't have a large area available for free running, but you feel that your dog could do with a bit of mental work to keep him from getting restless, three cones and a small ball or treats to hide them in are inexpensive and easily obtainable utensils with which you can entertain your dog and keep him mentally occupied for a short time. Sooner or later, however, you should also give him fresh air and exercise to suit his nature.
Your four-legged individual
Every dog is different, not only in appearance but also in character, so it's little wonder that your pet will have preferences about what to do. Just try out the different games and get a feeling for what fits into your daily rhythm and is fun for both of you. Here is a list of the most popular games. But be careful with the often recommended eye-contact game, which is about which of you can maintain eye contact longer, because if your dog is too excited, eye contact will be provocative and challenging for him. If you don't have time or want to keep your dog mentally occupied while you are away, you can also use intelligence toys for your dog in addition to, but not as a substitute for, personal activity.
Our game recommendations for you:
- Dog Sports
- Hats- Game
- Dog- Dancing
- Command- Training
- Intelligence- Toy
Our 7 tips and games to keep your dog mentally active summarized:
- Combine mental, physical and social exercise, for example through dog sports.
- Encourage the dog, but do not overburden him
- Be creative in your methods of teaching new commands.
- Bring music into play, as in dog dancing
- If there is a lack of space, use easily obtainable utensils for a short time, as in the cone game.
- Occupy yourself with the dog, but also offer him the opportunity to entertain himself with cognitive tasks in your absence.
- Be sensitive to your dog's individuality and develop a sense for what you enjoy doing together.
We wish you a lot of fun with your tamed, mentally balanced intelligence beast.