Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Exercising the (Dog) Brain

We all know that it is important for a dog to get exercise. Every.Single.Day.
Did you know it is just as important for them to get brain exercise?  Challenging the brain is very important. If your dog is destructive, chances are they are bored both physically and mentally. 
There are a lot of ways to stimulate the brain but I am going to tell you about one that I just found out about myself and it is GREAT! There are quite a few articles online so I can't take credit for this. 

Here is what you do:

You make a mixture of moist treats - what works best are treats that they are not used to or they don't get on a daily basis. Don't make this while they are in the room with you. You want them to completely be unaware of what you are doing. The mixture I put together was packaged (cooked) salmon and a small handful of Bil Jac treats that were given to me as a sample, so he had not tasted them yet.  

You will need to make sure you use an area that is nice and clean - grassy - not a lot of weeds or debris. You take the mixture and you spread it out over a large area. Not close together and not a lot in one spot. What you want to do is stimulate the brain by having the dog follow his nose. Dogs are sniffers by nature and most domesticated house dogs don't have the chance to use their noses like their ancestors did. Once you are done with the spreading of the mixture - get your dog and take them to the area but don't take them too close to where the mixture is. Let them get a hint of the scent and go to work on their own. Trust me, it won't take long! 

The first time I did this with Opie - he looked like a bloodhound! His whole body was pulling in the scent as hard as he could. He was running in circles and trying to figure out which way to go next. So not only was he working his brain/nose but he was getting physical exercise as well. 

Needless to say, he always wants a nap after he is done "working" his way around the backyard finding all the little tidbits he can. 

It is a great exercise - easy to do - and you can be as creative as you want to be.

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