Dogs, like humans, have a brain, which also requires some activity to keep them active. Physical exercises are good for the body of the dog; however, they often tend to miss out the intellectual component, which is needed. This is why there are some special mental exercises, which you should perform with your dog to keep it healthy in all aspects.
Why train the intellect?
An intelligent dog will be able to handle itself better in a variety of situations. After all, in today’s world, animals cannot just survive on brawns. The smarter your pet is the easier it will be for it to survive in case something goes wrong. In addition, intelligent dogs can perform tricks and be a better companion to you as well. It is therefore needed to train the brain of the dog as well as the body.
Mental exercises often go hand in hand with most physical exercises. This is because most physical exercises require the dog be active mentally as well. Alertness is, therefore, a component of physical exercises albeit a small one. For example, a dog that is swimming needs to be mentally alert to keep paddling and see where he is going.
Nevertheless, this type of exercise is not sufficient to train the dog’s mind. More complex mental exercises are as follows:
1. Use of toys
Toys can be a great non-tiring mental exercise, which the dog can perform indoors as well as outdoors. Popular toys involve some easy puzzles, which require the dog to tackle to get to the prize of some dog food or biscuits. Such toys help in solely training the dog so that it comprehends the fact that it needs to do something in a particular way to receive the reward (the biscuit).
A variety of different types of games helps in developing different aspects of the dog’s mind. For example, a game like Frisbee, which is primarily for the purpose of the physical exercise, is also a great mental exercise. This is because in Frisbee the dog has to calculate the movement of the Frisbee so that it can catch it successfully.
Other games, for example, the chase is a good way to train the dog to follow you. In this, you must take some article, which is valued by your dog and run so that it runs after you. Then, in turn, you must give the dog one of your articles and you must chase it. Slowly develop strategies to catch the dog, and it will also do the same by developing its mind.
Another game worth mentioning is “hide and seek”. This game develops the dog’s intelligence to use its senses to track down things. This is particularly important for training dogs. You can play this game with the dog indoors as well as outdoors.
Training your dog to perform tricks is a great mental exercise, although it requires a lot of discipline on your dog’s part and a lot of effort on yours. However, training your dog will definitely improve the ability to handle the dog better.
Getting your dog to perform these mental exercises can be a little tricky though. The best way to enforce these mental exercises for your dogs is to incentivize it with some sort of reward in the end. This will train the mind of the dog and also make a better pet out of it.