Have you met “The
Smartest Dog in the World”? In 2014, 60 Minutes introduced
the world to Chaser, a border collie with a vocabulary of more than
one thousands words. Woah.Wouldn’t it be fantastic if your
dog knew the difference between your shoes and boots and could
bring them on command? You may not have the time (or patience) to
teach your dog a thousand words. That’s okay. There are easy ways
to increase your dog’s intelligence and decrease boredom if
you’re not home. Before we suggest seven simple ways to make your
dog smarter, you must first give your pet a strong base.
Start With a Solid Foundation of Training
You may have taken your young pup to one or two obedience
courses when you first got him. Did you stop training after those
beginning classes? The old adage you can’t teach an old dog
new tricks isn’t as accurate as you may think.
According to research from the
University of Milan, the more you train a dog, the smarter they
become. Researchers from the university’s psychology department
conducted a study of 110 dogs. Half the dogs had minimal obedience
training while the other half had much more schooling. The dogs
were given a test to find hidden food. Even though their earlier
training had nothing to do with hunting food, 60% of dogs with more
training discovered the treats. Only 30% of the minimally trained
dogs found them. Once you’ve taken your dog to obedience courses,
you’re able to increase their intelligence with continued
Try these seven toys and games to make your dog smarter and less
bored when you’re not home.
1. Sniff It Out
Time for a little nose work. The
Sniff Diggy Mat is a great way to exercise your pup’s sensory
and cognitive skills. Or try a modified version of the shell game.
Start with one of your dog’s favorite treats. Once you’ve
gotten her attention with the treat, show your pup three different
cups. Hide the treat under one cup and switch the cups around until
neither you nor the dog knows where the treat is hiding. Your dog
probably doesn’t know this common “hustler” trick, so
she’ll enjoy sniffing out the reward. Add some real incentive
single ingredient beef liver treats – my dogs will do
practically anything for them!
2. The Puzzler
If you’d rather watch him interact with a toy, consider
purchasing a puzzle to engage your dog. With more than 2600 reviews
on Amazon, this
TRIXIE strategy game was made to teach your dog cause and
effect through flipping knobs and sliding disks. Like all dog
training, the ultimate goal for your pup is nabbing a treat. By
playing with this toy, your pet will use different techniques to
get his reward. Consider leaving your dog with this toy when
you’re not home to occupy his time.
3. DIY Agility Test
use items around your house (think: pillows, cushions, chairs,
low tables) to create an agility course for your pooch. Yes, there
are physical benefits to these tests, but there are intellectual
perks, too. An obstacle course forces your dog to concentrate on
the task at hand. He must be obedient to complete the course and
earn his reward. Once your dog masters the test, change the course
around to continue encouraging his intellectual growth.
4. Increase IQ Through Treats
Another Amazon favorite for a pup’s brain development is the
IQ Treat Ball. The inexpensive treat dispenser combines fetch
with food. Your dog will benefit from mental and physical exercise
with this toy. Fill the ball with kibble, toss it across the room.
As the ball rolls, it will release treats. Your dog will be able to
retrieve them from the ball, and you can increase difficulty by
making the opening smaller. This is another one to leave with the
pup when she’s home alone.
Need treats for training? Dogs love these
single ingredient treats! 5. Hide and Seek
This game isn’t just for kids, it will also stimulate your
dog’s mind. Before you can play, your dog needs to learn the
“stay” command. Once she’s got that down, you’re ready to
go. The rules are simple. Tell your dog to sit and stay. Find a
hiding place. Call for your dog. When your dog finds you, offer her
praise and a good ear scratch.
6. Stack the Rings
Another favorite for little humans and canines alike is ring
stacking. Your dog may love playing with a
ring stacker, too. Like other types of training, you can use a
clicker to positively reinforce your pet each time he learns to
place a ring on the stack. Of course, treats will encourage your
pup along as he adds each ring. It may sound impossible, but
this pooch stacking the rings. If your pup can do this, we’d
love to see video or pics. My dogs seemed more excited about eating
the rings, but I love ’em!
7. Pick Up and Drop Off
Get your dog to help with chores by training them to drop off
toys in a basket. Like ring stacking, clicker training helps with
this one. If you’ve taught your dog to “drop it”, you can
slowly mold the behavior, one click and treat at a time. Start
with one toy, and over time you can increase the number of toys
they pick up and drop off in the proper location.
Learning isn’t just a lifelong habit for humans. If you want a
smarter dog, you must encourage training and obedience throughout
Source: FS – Dogs – iHD
7 Simple Ways to Make Your Dog Smarter