Helping Your Dog Use His Brain

One of the most frequent things dog owners complain about is that their dogs don’t stay busy enough. Yes dogs can become destructive when they are bored and that leads to angry dog owners.

You can avoid this problem if you will simply spend time helping your dog use his brain. Here are some tips to help keep your dog busy and happy and to prevent him from destroying your house/plants.

1. Test your dog.

If you Google “canine I.Q. Test” you can find tests for dogs to test their intelligence. The results of the tests are not as important as having your dog do the tests. These tests make great exercises for your dog. They’re fun and a good way to train and play with your dog.

The tests also give you a good way to establish you as the alpha leader of your pack and bond with your dog. Most dogs do well with these tests but even if your dog doesn’t do well your dog will be working his brain and that’s a good activity.

2. Problem-Solving Exercises.

Give your dog some small problems to solve each day, similar to the I.Q. Tests. Try hiding some peanut butter in a toy or putting treats in your dog’s stuffed animals. Put some bones in the yard for your dog to dig up.

The problems don’t need to be for geniuses but small puzzles are fun for your dog and you should find it fun to watch your dog work with them. They are also a great way to keep your dog’s mind active.

3. Obedience Training.

Basic obedience training is a wonderful way to engage your dog and work his problem solving skills. Your dog uses a lot of mental energy in following your commands and performing tricks.



4. Learning New Tricks.

Teaching your dog commands is good but your dog can use his brain even more if you teach him advanced tricks. Some dogs are better at learning tricks than others but if your dog is very smart you can provide a good challenge for him with these tricks.

Dogs can learn to pick out a specific toy from several options; track down specific scents; and other complex tricks.

5. Work for Everything.

According to this approach, dogs shouldn’t get anything for free. Make your dog work for everything he gets. Dogs will enjoy working for their meals, attention and other privileges. When you feed your dog or give him water or pet/pat him, first make him sit, lie down or perform other tricks.


6. Have Your Dog Perform His Job.

Nearly all breeds have been bred for specific jobs. You can really keep your dog’s mind active by having him do his original work. If you have a sled dog, give him a chance to pull a sled. Let a sheepdog herd sheep. Take a hunting dog out hunting. These tasks will fulfill deep desires inside the dogs while also using their minds.

You’ll be amazed at how effective these jobs can be in working off your dog’s excess energy, too.

7. Exercise and Agility.

Ordinary exercise isn’t particularly useful when it comes to using your dog’s mind but it does get your dog’s body moving and they do burn off some energy.

Virtually every dog breed has been developed over the centuries to do a job. They enjoy these jobs and they enjoy thinking. It is your job, as a dog owner, to keep challenging your dog and giving him a specific job to do.

Without a job, a dog can grow restless and become destructive. The tips described here will help keep your dog happy and they’ll also keep you and your family happier with your dog.

When your dog is in the habit of learning you can teach him other tricks like fetching the newspaper or climbing a ladder. You can teach your dog anything if he likes to use his mind.

Mark Mansfield

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