You’ve just woken up and were about to take Fido for a walk until you looked out of the window and saw that it’s heavily raining! Your dog will still need some exercise, and brain exercise is just as important as physical exercise.
Spending just a few minutes each day playing these games will help to strengthen the bond between the two of you, and will also make him more confident.
Here are five of the best brain games which you can play indoors if the weather is miserable outside.
1: Treasure Hunt
Treasure hunts are a great way to keep your dog entertained indoors, and it also allows them to exercise their natural hunting instincts. The aim of this game is for your pooch to find several treats hidden around the home.
To teach this game, you should start simply. Hide some treats in plain sight in one room while your dog is in ‘sit.’ Give your dog the release command and let him sniff away and find all the treats.
As he gets better at this game you can start to hide them in trickier places, and even other rooms around the house.
This is a great game to play during a meal time, especially if your dog tends to eat too quickly. Making them a treasure hunt will force them to slow down.
2: Pick Up
When your dog has learned the names for at least 5 different toys or objects around the house, you’ll be able to get him to help you tidy up! Call out each toy, or object, for them to go and find and bring back to you. This game works well with objects that they play with daily.
Try asking them to pick up their ball by saying ‘fetch ball;’ once they’ve returned that to you, you can give them the instruction to pick up the next object, such as their pull.
Your dog will enjoy the process of hunting them out, and it will also require him to think about each object and what that is which is very engaging for their brains.
3: Set Up an Obstacle Course
Setting up an obstacle course is a great way to make sure that your dog still gets exercise even when it’s raining outside.
For this, you can use things that you typically have around the house, such as pieces of furniture, large cardboard boxes, and toys.
There are also lots of products which you can buy to make a super fun obstacle course. These could be placed next to a chair, to encourage the dog to walk up the steps and they hop off the chair.
4: The Shell Game
This brain game is excellent if you want your dog to really concentrate and slow down a little.
You’ll need two or three cups and a few treats. Have Fido sit, and then put one of the treats in front of him. Place a cup on top, and another cup or two next to the first one.
You can then move them around and reward your dog when they pick the correct cup.
If this is too tricky to start off with, just begin with two cups, and don’t move them around.
5: Interactive Toys
If you can’t be at home with your dog, why not use an interactive toy to keep them mentally stimulated?
iFetch is an automatic dog ball launcher, which will randomly throw the ball in one of three different directions for your dog to catch.
If they can be trained to place the ball back into this piece of tech once they’ve collected it, this can provide them with house of fun in your absence.
How to Teach Your Pet a New Brain Game
You’ll likely have taught your pet lots of commands already, including teaching them their name, how to sit, come and stay.
Once these essential commands are mastered, you can move onto more fun training, such as brain games.
Teaching your dog a new game will require patience, and sometimes treats. Teach your dog the new game by rewarding them with a small treat each time the correctly perform whatever they need to.
Have plenty of patience and only use positive reinforcement; this means rewarding them every time that they complete the required task correctly, and ignoring or redirecting any behaviors which aren’t in line with the game.
John Woods is a keen dog lover and has been training dogs for as long as he can remember. He is the founder of All Things Dogs, a company that aims to educate people worldwide about caring for and training our four-legged friends.