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Is your pup pretty hyper and struggles to settle down? Or maybe you’re just wondering if he might be bored and gets enough exercise?
Either way, brain games is what your dog probably needs!
Unfortunately, not many dog owners know how important it is to engage your dog mentally, as well as physically.
Now, the cool thing about mental stimulation is that it’s actually much more rewarding and more tiring for your dog. You’ll only need about a tenth of the time you’d use for his physical stimulation to make him equally tired.
So, in this article you’ll get some inspiration on how you can make your pup happy by using his brain.
Here are 10 brain games for dogs to play at home.
Why Mental Stimulation is Important for Dogs
You’ve probably heard that it’s not enough for dogs to get physical exercise—they need to exercise their minds too. But why exactly is mental stimulation so important for dogs?
Think about it like this: you wouldn’t do well only exercising your body, would you? You also want to exercise your mind with games, books, or classes. The same is true for your dog!
Making sure your dog gets enough mental stimulation helps ward off boredom and stress in your dog. It also keeps his brain healthy in general! Just like physical exercise, mental stimulation is an important part of your dog’s overall health and happiness.
How Do You Mentally Stimulate a Dog?
It’s all well and good to say that dogs need mental stimulation, but how exactly do you give your dog mental stimulation?
As it turns out, there are lots of different ways to mentally stimulate your dog. Anything that will get your dog’s brain working counts as mental stimulation.
Playing with an obstacle course, for example, or making him work for his food are great options.
You can also give your dog mental stimulation on his walks! Let him sniff the things you pass, and try switching up your route.
How Much Mental Stimulation Does a Dog Need?
When it comes to how much mental stimulation you should be giving your dog, there’s no universal answer. Every dog is different, and his mental stimulation needs will likely change on a daily basis!
The best way to give your dog mental stimulation is to give him short but frequent sessions. Working his brain is hard, and going for too long might overstimulate or frustrate him.
Try doing one or two minutes of mental stimulation a few times a day to keep your dog’s brain healthy, happy, and active.
Another option is to have 2 longer dog sport sessions, like Agility training, a week and then providing enough sniffing time on walks. Agility training is mentally pretty exhausting for dogs since they always have to focus on you and understand what you want them to do next. That’s what I do with Baloo and it works really well for him to be calm and happy.
Remember to also keep an eye on your dog’s behavior to make sure you aren’t overstimulating him. Here are 10 signs and symptoms that your dog is overtired, and that it might be time to cool it with the brain games for a while!
How Do I Entertain My Dog Indoors?
There are lots of ways to mentally stimulate a dog, and many of them you can do in the comfort of your own home!
A few examples include playing hide and seek in your house, getting his nose working with scent games, or giving him interactive puzzles. If there’s a new trick you’ve been wanting your dog to learn, training him is another awesome way to get the gears in his brain turning!
Even if you’re not home, there are ways you can get your dog to work his brain. Fill a Kong toy with tasty treats and freeze it for something to keep his mouth and brain busy while you’re away.
10 Brain Games for Dogs to Play at Home
Okay, now let’s look at what you can specifically do to engage your pupper’s brain. Here are 10 brain games for dogs to play at home.
For even more ideas for fun things you can do with your dog at home, check out these 21 fun things to do with your dog at home!
1. Hide Treats
What dog doesn’t love treats?
This is a great way to get your dog’s nose working, which is awesome for mental stimulation. Get your dog to sit and stay, and hide some treats around your house. Then tell your dog to go find them!
Your dog’s nose and brain will be working during this game, plus watching him hunt down the treats is so fun to watch!
2. Teach Him a New Trick
Not only will teaching your dog a new trick get him really using his brain, you’ll also be able to impress your friends with all the tricks your pup knows.
There are lots of different tricks to teach your dog, from the basic sit to more advanced tricks like roll over. Here’s some inspo to get you started:
3. Dog Puzzles
Dog puzzles are great ways for your dog to work for his food and have fun doing it. They’re also great if you’re out of the house, or don’t have time to play with your dog yourself. Your dog will be able to entertain himself for a while with these fun puzzles.
There are lots of different puzzles on the market, so check them out and give them a try!
4. Play a Scent Game with a Tea Bag
Getting your dog to find the location of a tea bag is another great nose game. Show him a tea bag and let him sniff it, then hide it under a blanket. Now all you have to do is watch your dog sniff it out!
Make sure to give him a treat and tell him “good dog” once he’s found the tea bag. He should get a reward for successfully winning the game!
5. Stuff a Kong Toy and Freeze It
If you haven’t already invested in a Kong toy, you’ll want to right away! They’re great multipurpose treats for your dog, and will be sure to keep him busy.
If you stuff a Kong toy with peanut butter and treats, your dog will get his brain and mouth moving getting his tasty snack out. If you freeze it, the treat will last even longer!
6. Play Hide and Seek
This game is super fun for you and your dog, and it’s easy to play too! Get your dog to sit and stay in one room of your house, and then go and hide in another. Once you’ve hidden, tell your dog to come find you!
Watching him try and find you is so cute, and when he succeeds, he’ll be so happy! Remember to celebrate his success with treats and a lot of love.
7. Play the Shell Game
To play this game, grab two cups or bowls and hide a treat under one. Spin them around in front of your dog, and get him to show you which one it’s under. If he guesses right, he gets the treat!
8. Activity Toys
Getting your dog an activity toy is something that will keep his brain engaged while having a lot of fun.
Like dog puzzles, activity toys are awesome ways to get your dog’s brain working even if you can’t play with him one-on-one. Just set him up with one of these toys, and let your dog do the rest of the work.
There are plenty of activity toys available, including some that dispense treats. Yummy!
9. Dance with Your Dog (Dog Dance)
Not only is teaching your dog to dance a great way to get his brain moving, it will also help him build muscle and strength in his back end.
Getting your dog to dance is also adorable, as a bonus! It also means that he’ll be able to join your at-home dance parties.
To learn how to teach your dog to dance, check out this awesome video:
10. Hide His Toys and Let Him Find Them
This is an especially good brain game to play if your dog is very toy-motivated! Just like hiding treats around your house, you’ll start with getting your dog into a sit and stay position.
Then, take his favorite toys and hide them in various places around your home. Once they’re hidden, you can release your dog from his sit and stay and get him to go find his toys!
Once he finds them all, take the opportunity for a few rounds of fetch or tug to tire your dog out physically too.
How to Train a Dog Using Brain Games
Brain games aren’t just useful for mental stimulation, they’re also helpful for training your dog overall.
Whether your dog has behavioral problems you’re trying to deal with, or you’re just looking to improve your dog’s mental capacities, brain games are a great way to help.
If you’re looking to use brain games to train your dog, you’ll want to check out BrainTraining4Dogs. This is a great program that handles basically everything under the sun when it comes to training and behavior.
Wondering if BrainTraining4Dogs is right for you? Check out this complete review of BrainTraining4Dogs!
When people talk about exercising their dogs, your first thought is probably physical exercise. But exercising your dog’s brain is just as important! It will keep your dog from getting bored, reduce your dog’s stress and anxiety, and there are lots of ways to give him mental stimulation both in and outside your home!
Brain games are also great training tools for your pup, so be sure to take a look at BrainTraining4Dogs and give the program a try.
Another great thing about brain games is that they’re super fun for both you and your dog. So check out these 10 brain games you can play with your dog and give them a try. You’ll be sure to find something both you and your dog will love!
P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.