Make Your Dog Think

Make Your Dog Think

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As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, you may find yourself spending more time indoors with your dog over the next few months. Despite the cold and dark, your dog still requires physical and mental stimulation.

Although a good game of fetch may be impossible inside, try running your dog on the treadmill instead.  An earlier post of ours explains how to intro your dog to a treadmill. In addition to this physical exercise, your dog still needs mental stimulation as well.

One of my favorite ways to mentally stimulate a dog is to play hide and seek.  This game is pretty self explanatory; keep your dog in a sit or down, and you hide something (usually a toy or a treat).  Upon release, your dog searches, finds, and retrieves (or eats) what has been hidden.

Once your dog understands the game and is doing well, you can increase the difficulty by changing a few variables to get an even better mental workout.

  • When playing at night, turn off all of the lights and have your dog rely more on his nose then their eyes.
  • Hide a toy or treat under a small welcome mat or blanket.  Once the dog locates the object, he still has to figure out how to get to it.
  • Put the object above the dog’s direct line of sight and smell.
  • Increase the amount of time between hiding an object and releasing the dog.
  • Hide multiple objects and see how many the dog can find.
  • Increase the difficulty on the hiding places.  Example – leave the dog downstairs, hide the object upstairs.

It is very easy to take a simple game and turn it into a great thinking experience for your dog.  Use your imagination and get creative; your dog will thank you!

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2 Comments
  • amber
    Posted at 18:13h, 20 November

    I read this post earlier today and couldn’t wait to get home and play hide & seek with Fin (especially on this rainy evening). She and I both had a great time! Like you suggested, I upped the ante, hiding the toy under rugs… It was hilarious to watch her figure out how to get to it, and hear her sniffing so hard for it. Thanks for the tip–she’s been crying a lot during the evenings lately, but this solved that problem!

  • Paul
    Posted at 20:12h, 20 November

    Awesome, I’m glad Fin had a good time with it!