- Do you need an easy way to keep your dog busy?
- Does your dog need an activity that is both mentally stimulating and fun?
- Try teaching your dog some scent games using basic nose work
- A dog needs to exercise, not only their body, but also their mind
Some dog breeds, such as retrievers, herding dogs and sight hounds, have working instincts and love to chase after moving objects. The trouble is, if they don’t get mentally stimulated often, they can experience withdrawal symptoms, become bored and stressed then look to make their own entertainment, which could include chewing your furniture and belongings!
Play Doggy Mind Games
As a professional dog walker, working with many breeds of dog, I’ve found that Mind Games can both fulfil a dog’s working instincts, allows him to refocus and also mentally stimulate him without causing him any undue stress. These Mind Games can be done both indoors and outside, and are very easy to play. My dogs really love playing them, and all you need to get started are some favourite toys or treats.
The benefits of nose work for your pet
Your dog will enjoy the fun aspect of scent games and nose work as they use their natural talents. Although a canine’s sense of smell is more than ten thousand times more powerful than a human’s, a dog will still rely on visuals, honing in on their natural talents.
- A fun and entertaining way to occupy your dog
- Offers your dog more mental stimulation
- Extra physical activity
- A chance to bind with your pet
- Will build your dog’s confidence levels
- Dogs thrive when they have a job to do
- Sharpen up your pet’s training
How to play “Find It”
It’s best to first initiate your dog and show him what to do. Once he has got his toilet routine out of the way, and you’re now walking along, get them to sit and wait. Set a treat or his favourite toy on the ground a short distance away. Give your dog permission to go find the treat. Of course this time it was easy, as he saw where you placed it, no need to sniff it out.
Use the words “find it” each time, and your dog will bound with great enthusiasm to reach his treat. Your dog will soon begin to associate the word “find” with this fun and stimulating game. After a few repetitions, and your dog understands how things work, it’s time to make the game more difficult. Hide the treat behind a fencepost, or under some leaves. Hide it on top of a boulder, under a bench or above ground level. Go to several different spots and pretend that you are placing a treat, but only hide one prize.
Remember to keep your dog in sight at all times, and only allow him to be off the leash if you are in a location where this is safe and is allowed. Some dog breeds, such as German Shepherds and Border Collies are so tuned into learning and are so intelligent, that they will have no problem in picking up the rules of the game in next to no time. If your dog takes a little while longer, don’t worry, he’s still intelligent, it just means he needs a bit more encouragement and time to master the method.
Benefits of regular play
Playing the Find it game can help in various situations. A quick game can help timid or nervous dogs relax when in an unfamiliar situation or when meeting new people, maybe at the Vet’s surgery. It’s also an ideal diversion to calm your dog when he has excess energy to channel, while also providing important stimulation for your pet’s brain and nose power skills. With many endless combinations, your pet will be relaxed and happy.
Owners who regularly play games with their pets develop better communication, respect and understanding with their dog. Brain games can help senior dogs to stay active and alert, and are a brilliant way to challenge a pup’s developing brain. Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is just as important as walking him and giving him daily exercise.