Mental stimulation-How to defeat boredom

Stimulating your dog's mind and challenging him by creating brain games is a fantastic way to tire out your pup. Mental stimulation is a key factor in fulfillment, and is a fantastic way to defeat boredom. It gives dogs confidence and as you work together, it strengthens the bond between you. When most of us think about giving our pets exercise, we think about letting them run free, or going for a brisk walk or run. You can create productive play sessions by targeting your dogs needs as a dog and as a breed. If you aren't sure what your breed was built for, do some research and use your imagination when creating games. In the meantime, here are a few games to get you started and the link for more ideas here:

http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/10-brain-games-to-play-with-your-dog

Treasure Hunt 

Getting your dog to use his nose to find hidden treasure is a great way to stimulate his brain and teach him to use all his senses. Starting out, you'll want to set your dog up for success so he understands the game and doesn't get too discouraged. Begin with something simple. Put your dog in a sit-stay, and hide a treat or favorite toy somewhere obvious, even letting him watch you hide it. Then give him the release cue to go find the toy. Reward your dog big-time for his success in finding the hidden treasure. 

Once your dog understands the game, ramp up the difficulty. Hide the treat or toy in another room, or some place where other scents mask the treat or toy, like the bottom of the laundry bin or under the food dish. You can also make the game really hard by using cardboard boxes. Set up 10-20 cardboard boxes of different sizes and, without your dog seeing, place the reward in only one box. Let your dog investigate all of them and provide the reward or a jackpot treat when he selects the correct box. There are so many variations on this game that it will have the two of you playing different versions for years to come. 

Hide-and-Go-Seek 

Boost the excitement and reward level of the popular treasure hunt game by being the treasure your dog is tasked to find. You'll need to play this with at least two people. One person gives the dog the sit-stay cue and distracts him while the other person hides, then gives the release cue for the dog to start looking. This game works wonderfully both indoors and outdoors, and is a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon with your dog.

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