Stimulating your pup both mentally and physically are two of the most crucial things you can do as a good fur-parent. Most of the time, we take our pup to the park or on long walks, but we forget to play brain games. Dogs are natural problem solvers. They love using their senses to work through difficult challenges. Mental stimulation burns energy and helps create a stronger bond between you and your best furiend. Encouraging positive learning experiences and working through challenges is fun for your pup and will bring you closer together as a pack!
Looking for a fun Brain Game for your puppy?
Hide-and-Seek With Your Puppy
Your dog’s nose is his most powerful sense. All pups love to track things with their nose and encouraging this natural instinct is one of the best ways to stimulate your fur-baby. Hide-and-seek is one of our favorite brain games. It is one of the most convenient brain teasers because it can be played inside with minimal prep work, props or planning. Hide-and-seek is a great winter game to release energy indoors and keep you both out of the cold. To get started, grab your pup’s favorite toy, bone, or treat and follow the simple steps below:
- Start by picking an object to hide. This must be a high-value object for your pup. His favorite toy, a tasty bone, or a substantial treat will all work.
- Hold the object in your hand and let your dog sniff it so he can pick up the scent.
- Put your pup in a sit and stay in the next room and hide the prize.
- This game also reinforces the stay command. Make sure your pup does not get up to follow you or peek out the door while you hide the reward.
- After the object is hidden state your release word “Okay.” Your pup will bolt out of the room in search of the prize. Try not to help him with the search. A dog’s natural prey drive will encourage him to sniff out the object The mental stimulation this requires is a great energy drain.
Note: Begin with an easy hiding place. Your pup will get progressively better at the game so make sure to start it off easy!
The Puppy Cup Game
Indoor games will burn off some energy when it is simply too hot to romp around in the yard or park. One of our favorite games to play indoors is Find the Treat, also known as the Cup Game. This game will help work your pup’s natural scavenger instincts and will provide much needed mental stimulation as he uses his nose to search out the reward.
Start with three cups and a handful of treats. If your pup is a bit ball crazy, you can also use a ball.
- Put your pup in a sit and stay and arrange the cups in front of him, upside down and side by side.
- Have your pup watch as you place a treat under one of the cups.
- Use a release word and let your pup knock the cup over and take the treat. Repeat this step 8-10 times so your pup understands the concept.
- Next place the treat and shuffle the cups around. Let your pup use his nose to search out the right cup and uncover the reward.
Tip: This game works your pup’s natural visual tracking and scent skills. As your pup gets the hang of it try shuffling the cups around more, and give extra praise when he finds the treat on the first try.