Good Dog Blog

Have You Challenged Your Dog’s Brain Lately?

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Is your dog eating your sofa? Digging holes in your back yard? Barking at everything that moves (or isn’t moving)? Or maybe he’s sedentary, bored out of his mind and depressed AKA lays around all day. Have you challenged your dog’s brain lately?

If not then maybe it’s time for some brain building activities! Here are some fun ways you can enrich your dog’s life through stimulating and fun activities.

Slo Bowls – a fun way to eat! These dog bowls keep meals interesting and slow your dog down so they can savor their meals instead of inhaling them. Dog’s find interesting ways to get their food out and it isn’t just by licking!

Teach your dog tricks! Really a command is just a trick that you have taught your dog. Any time your dog is learning something new it is enriching their life. Even simple tricks like shake, roll over, High five, give kiss, and more challenge your dog’s brain and are great ways to get your dog thinking. Once they have learned a new trick have them perform them for any reward you give them such as… giving your do a treat? Make them shake before you give them the treat. Serving them dinner? Make them kiss the cook before you put their bowl down. Get creative and use their tricks every day. Remember, this is enrichment and your dog will love you for it!

Food Dispensing feeders– gets their bodies moving and their brains activated.

Your dog has to figure out how to get the food out little bits at a time. These are only brought out at meal times to keep them fresh, fun and interesting. They challenge your dog’s brain through problem solving. Do he roll it? Squeeze it? Pick it up and drop it? Watching your dog figure these out is just as fun for you!

Playing the Find It game– Teaches your dog to use their nose to find their food.

Using one of the above food dispensing toys have your dog sit and stay somewhere in the house. Place the food filled ball just about 3-4 feet from your dog where they can see it. Then release them from the sit stay by saying find it! Of course this is super easy and we want it to be at first so your dog learns what “find it” means. Gradually with each meal increase the level of challenge by let’s say hiding it just around the corner from where your dog is sitting. They saw you put it there so they know where it is. Get the idea?  Your dog’s brain goes from finding it visually to finding it with their nose. You can speed up the process by breaking up each meal into several portions and repeating this game several times a meal. Dogs love this game!!

Chicken smoothies-yum!! A chicken smoothie is easy to make and really you can make any kind of meat smoothie by adding the cooked meat (in this case chicken) into a blender or food processor along with chicken stock or broth. You want the consistency to be a bit thinner than peanut butter but not watery. Now put it into an empty squirt bottle (leftover bottles from honey, ketchup etc work great) then take it outside and make trails through your yard stopping every so often to leave a pile (you can even add some kibble to the pile). Then start a new trail, hide a pile under a rock etc. Then bring your dog outside and watch them blood hound their way around your yard following the trails. Can you imagine their delight?!

Enriching your dog’s life will ultimately enrich the bond you have together. Don’t over think it. Start with one thing and grow from there. And remember to have fun and Unleash the Happy!

If you need help with any of these brain building activities or behavioral issues please call us we can help. For more information on training click here.

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