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Dog Brain Games

Updated on June 20, 2011
Assortment of Milkbone Treats.  Picture from Google Images).
Assortment of Milkbone Treats. Picture from Google Images).

Want to Improve Your Dog's Brain Fitness?

Keeping your dog mentally active is as important as keeping them physically active. Here are great ways to exercise your dog's brain at any age!

These game can be played indoors or outdoors. All you need is your dog and a handful of treats. (I usually useMilkbonewith each treat broken in half). But you can use anything that drives your dogs nose and salivary glands crazy. To really spoil them and get them working you cut even use small pieces of meat, like bacon chips.

German Shepherd Sitting & Waiting.  Picture from Google Images.
German Shepherd Sitting & Waiting. Picture from Google Images.

Time to Play!

To play the game:

1) Have your dog sit in an open area of your house (like the living room) or a clear area of the yard outside.

Fool Your Dog

2) With the treats, go around and pretend to plant a treat in various places around the house or yard. Go through the work a little, bend down pretending to place each treat behind an object, or beside an object. Is your dog watching you with great interest?! I'm sure!

Finally Bury The Treasure (Treat)

3) Finally, find a great spot to plant the actual treat. Usually behind or beside an object is good. Even on top of an object if it's not too high for the dog and won't at some point be a forbidden area. (Don't mix pleasure with punishment or you will confuse the dog).

Dog Sniffing For Hidden Treats.  Picture from Google Images.
Dog Sniffing For Hidden Treats. Picture from Google Images.

Release Your Dog!

4) Go back towards your dog. Give a command to release the dog and allow the dog to go look for the treat. We use "Go find", but you can use one that's unique to you, that you like better if you want.

Observe The Seek & Find

5) Watch your dog go crazy as the dog sniffs out the real treat! Does your dog stop at the pretend hiding spots and look for the treats there first? Mine does!

Things to Note:

You can play this activity over again as much as you like, at your discretion. Keep in mind that very young and very old dogs have a short attention span and may not like to look for too long.

Fatigued Senior Dog.  Picture from Google Images.
Fatigued Senior Dog. Picture from Google Images.

My Dog & I

Also, the possibilities of this game are only limited to your individual dog's experience with seek-&-find type activities. If you have developed your dogs brain a lot through similar games, you can use more complex hiding spots and keep increasing the challenges. If it's the first time for you and your dog, keep the hiding spots simple, even leaving the treats in plain view until your dog gets the point of the exercise.

My dog is very old now, but he still looks forward to playing this game. We can't go too crazy with challenging hiding spots because he does not have the attention span or the experience (we started this game late in his life). But it leaves him mentally exhausted and he sleeps for hours afterwords. I hope you and your dog will have just as much fun with the game too!

Try This Game - Than Vote on It!

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    • Charlu profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Great hub and Memories is right they need both. Great ideas and a great hub

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for this great hub. For dogs mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. We play this game with our Border Collie and he loves it.


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