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Mental exercises for your dog

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
are 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

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).

2. Games

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 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, 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.

3. Training

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 your. 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.

Mikael Rieck

Mikael Rieck is the happy owner of a pet health and insurance site at > where he shares a lot more information on pet health, pet fitness and pet longevity.

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