11 best games for dog intelligence
How to develop a dog's intelligence?
- Develop your dog's intelligence through smart play!
- The olfactory games
- Flavor paths
- The olfactory mat
- Boxes as treasure chests
- Tracking for beginner dogs
- A magic tree with flavors
- Guess-guess fun
- Play cards with the dog
- Opening the box
- Left right
- Interactive toys for the dog
Develop your dog's intelligence through smart play!
When someone asks us about how we play with a dog, most of us will probably exclaim "how to? We throw a stick or a ball to the dog! It's great fun for him! ". But are you sure?
For some time now, it has been more and more popular that retrieving sticks or balls is not necessarily the best entertainment and activity for a dog. However, the point is not to stop playing these games immediately, but to realize that you can offer your dog much more. But let me explain what all these sticks and balls are all about, because usually we behaviorists and coaches are very surprised when we grimace at the sight of sticks and balls.
Let's start from the beginning - as we all know very well, there is nothing easier than throwing the ball. The dog runs for it, brings it (or not;) and the process repeats itself. Then the action repeats itself, and our dog runs in a circle until his tongue begins to hang down to his waist. We are glad that the dog was running out and seemingly everyone is satisfied.
But there are often cases that the dog wants more and more and begins to bark the desired action on us by barking. The dog is barking, so we throw the ball for the sake of peace, then the dog quickly realizes that barking is a good form to motivate (or actually force) us to certain actions. Such behavior quickly spreads to other aspects of living together, so be careful not to throw the dog a ball just because it started barking at us.
In addition, hardly anyone thinks about it, but during such intense play with the dog, the level of adrenaline in the body rises significantly. He is excited but also stressed, adrenaline drives his actions and then he can have big problems calming down. There are also situations when dogs so strongly turned on will try to discharge their emotions by biting another dog or jumping too hard on their guardian.
Many dogs also have a problem stopping such play. There are breeds that have a particular predisposition to chase or bring objects, and they will run for a ball or a stick until they are out of breath. And again - it does not mean great fun in their case, but a certain inner compulsion.
There are also dogs that tend to fixate on objects. When we take the ball from them and put it in the backpack, the dog will try to do everything to get it out of there, because it has become fixated on that particular ball. It also stimulates the release of stress hormones and tension in the dog.
However, to be clear, I am not a complete opponent of throwing balls, but I believe that you should be aware of the potential dangers and dose this entertainment, skillfully calm down the dog after playing and not overdo it with its intensity.
That is why I decided to write this article to propose some alternative games that will not only stimulate the dog physically, but also stimulate it intellectually, which is not thought much in the context of dogs, and wrongly.
To begin with, a few rules to follow:
- It is better to play more often, but less than rarely and for a long time, because the game can get bored with him or lead to frustration if it is not successful.
- While playing, let's focus fully on the dog and its needs. Suppose this is our time together and no one should disturb us.
- If we have more than one dog, let's try to play with each dog separately, so that he has his own space, our attention, he does not get distracted and does not take care of stealing treats from his dog brother or fighting for a resource (such as a toy).
Sniffing gamesOlfactory games for a dog
One of the games that I would definitely recommend to any dog of all ages are olfactory games. And it is not about any advanced tracking, looking for impostors in the grass or following the trail of wild boars in the forest. I am thinking of very simple things that we can do at home, in the yard or in the park.
The advantages are numerous - dogs have a nose that is much more sensitive to smells than we do and love to use it. This is their main sense for gaining information about the world. By the way, sniffing has a very good effect on concentration, requires thinking, and at the same time relaxes and relaxes the dog. Therefore, such games are highly recommended for young dogs that can no longer concentrate on anything, or for dogs that are fearful or senior dogs to stimulate their brain functions and thus delay the aging process.
Below are some suggestions for simple olfactory games.
Flavor pathsFlavor paths
When the dog leaves the room, make paths with strong-smelling flavors or bury the flavors around the house and motivate the dog to find them. We can also bury treats in his bedding, hide in the couch, wrap in a blanket, whatever we can think of! This form of serving treats is much more stimulating than simply serving them from your hand or a bowl.
The olfactory mat
Let's make or buy an olfactory mat for a dog and hide its flavors in it. Virtually every dog will dive his nose into the mat and will start to sniff intensely in search of tasty morsels. Similarly, we can hide the flavors in the grass (if the dog has no tendency to collect rubbish and leftovers on walks) and show the dog to find them.
Boxes as treasure chestsBoxes as treasure chests
We can also use shoe boxes or paper towel rolls for olfactory games. Let's hide something delicious inside, make holes in the cardboard so that the smell comes out and show the dog. It is worth doing this game under our supervision, if it turns out that our dog likes to eat paper instead of spitting it out;)
Tracking for beginner dogsTracking for beginner dogs
We can also play simple tracking. Let's sacrifice some of our old t-shirts soaked in our scent and cut it into strips, and then let's make a path out of these fragments of material. Each fragment of the T-shirt should be placed at a certain distance from the other, preferably in a straight line. And let's hide behind the tree to which these tracks lead and wait for the pooch to find us and reward him for being a great tracking dog.
Magic tree with flavors
If we have a tree in the area with a rough bark, we can also hide soft treats in it and show the dog a magic tree. I guarantee that his expression will be priceless when he discovers that there are trees full of flavors. Then he starts sniffing around the bark of the tree and licking the inside of the deliciousness.
Who among us did not play in childhood hiding objects in clenched fists so as to confuse the other person, who was to indicate where the object went? We can play with our dogs in the same way! They will, of course, have an easier task, because thanks to their magical weapons, i.e. a super sensitive nose, they will sense every flavor.
However, if we want the play to be a little more difficult, take a small dog toy and hide it in one of several boxes or under large bowls. Then show the dog where the toy / relish is and slowly change the order of the boxes so that the dog has a chance to keep up. And then we issue the command "search " to point to the correct reward box. Even if he fails at first, many dogs quickly catch the rules and start pointing to the box correctly. Of course, we immediately reward the dog with the contents of the box, in the end he deserves it!
Play cards with the dogPlay cards with the dog
You think the cards are only for people? Not necessarily! Your dog can have a great time too. Look for two cards with pictures. There may also be coasters for glasses or something similar. Ideally, they should be very different from each other - for example, one is colored, the other is black and white. The shape should be the same. Then show the dog both pictures. Determine in your mind which card is the right one and ask the dog to touch the card with his nose. And then give him a treat as a reward. Then put the cards behind your back and change the order. Show the dog the cards again and ask him to pick the correct card without your help. If he succeeds, he will be awarded a prize. If not, then without saying anything, you put your cards behind your back and try again. Your dog should quickly realize that only one card is equal to the taste and start pointing to it;) However, if it does not work out and you see symptoms of frustration or nervousness, it is better to stop the game and come back to it on another day, because it is supposed to be fun, not a challenge at the Olympics.
You can practice the same item picking trick on dog toys. You can diversify them and hold your favorite teddy bear and beloved teddy bear, then say the name of the toy and show it to the dog. Later he should be pointing to it himself. Here it is important that both toys are equally fun for the dog and do not distract him. If we have a beloved squeaky ball and a rarely used plush panda, the dog will go back to what suits him better and fun.
Opening the box
This game strengthens the dog's focus and tests his manual skills;) Choose a box or packaging (of course only soft and safe materials) with a raised lid. Next, let's make a hole in the lid and thread a wide string through it. The point is that the dog can take the string (therefore it should be a soft string that will not fray) in his teeth, pull it and thanks to this the lid of the box will fall off, releasing the flavor hidden in the box.
The first time we can show the dog what we mean and gently pull the string to see the lid fall off. Then let him figure it out for himself.
It is also a good exercise for self-control, because the dog has to gently grab the string and should not tear the whole box from our hands and run away with it.
During this game, we teach the dog to distinguish between the commands "left " and "right ". This can be a useful skill not only when playing, but also during walks, so that the dog finds the right direction.
To play, we need two similar mugs (made of safe material) under which we hide two identical treats. Rather, they shouldn't have a strong smell so as not to distract the dog.
Place the cups at an equal distance from the dog (at the beginning, 1-2 meters are enough). We sit down in front of the dog and say the word "left " or "right " and point to the right cup. When the dog approaches him, lift the cup up and give the pooch a treat. During the second round, we use the word "left " or "right " and let the dog decide which way to go. If it is right, then of course we reward it quickly. If he is wrong, we ignore it and start over.
Here, as with other games, it's important that dogs don't get frustrated if they don't do well. In such a situation, it is better to let go and then return to the fun or look for another.
Interactive toys for the dog
The games described above require some of our time and commitment. However, it is known that we live in a busy world and we do not always have time for such engaging games. Therefore, interactive toys that are currently fashionable are a certain shortcut. They are usually wooden or plastic toys with strings, levers, wheels or sliding drawers, in which we hide the dog's favorite treats. The dog's task is to figure out how to get to them, which string to pull, which pawn to knock over or what to hit with the paw so that the flavor falls out of the toy. Many dogs enjoy such puzzles, but I also know a few smart dogs who work out the system in a minute, take out a treat and throw the toy in the corner because they are already bored. Therefore, I would treat such a toy as a complement to other games.
Finally, I would like to point out that the above games are just a few suggestions. We can invent new ones ourselves or ask other dog owners in the park how they play with their dogs. What is most important is the fact that such entertainment not only stimulates the dog to think, but also engages us and strengthens our bond with the pooch. Have fun!
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