Brain games and enrichment activities help make your dog think in new ways and keep them mentally stimulated which is always an essential part of dog training. Enrichment activities help beat boredom, reduce stress, curb behavior problems, and strengthen your bond with your dog by spending quality time with them. Dog enrichment activities have always been a part of our doggie daycare experience at Bark Avenue which our clients love!
Dogs are incredibly intelligent and are just as much brain as they are brawn. There are countless enrichment games you can play with your dog to keep their minds engaged. Many of these brain games are free and easy to put together at home, and there are many options you can purchase online.
As you teach your dog a new enrichment activity, remember to take it slow so your dog understands the rules. These activities should be fun for both you and your dog. Take some time to teach your furry best friend one of these fun and mentally stimulating brain games for dogs. Some games may need basic dog training commands.
Here’s a list of our top 10 fun brain games for dogs:
- Hide-n-Seek – We play this as a kid, and now it’s time to teach your dog. This one requires your dog to know a few simple commands such as “stay” and “come”. To play, tell your dog to stay while you go hide. When you’re ready, yell out “Ready or not here you come!” or “Find me!”.
- Treasure Hunts – Find something extra smelly that your dog loves, like a Kong full of peanut butter or a favorite toy. Show them the treasure, and then tell them to sit and stay while you go hide it. Say “Find it!” and watch them use their powerful sniffer to smell out the hidden treasure.
- Cups – Line up three old cups on the floor in front of your dog. Hide treats or kibble under one cup. Let your dog watch as you move the cups around, and give them the treat when they pick the right cup.
- Name Game – Your dog probably already knows the words like “ball”, “treat”, and “outside”. You just need a few more to play the name game. Just like teaching those vocabulary words, teach your dog the name of an object and watch as he seeks it all. Not all dogs will get this immediately, but persistence is worth it. You can teach them to bring newspapers, blankets, or a very specific dog toy.
- Pick-up Toys – Just like “52 card pick up” you don’t have to be the only one who cleans things up when it gets messy around the house. This game will teach your dog to help keep the house tidy. Similar to the “Name Game”, this is a fun way to teach your dog to pick up its toys. Once he picks up the object, teach them to put it in a specific location such as their dog-toy bin. As a bonus, you’ll get a four-legged house helper!
- New Trick – You can teach an old dog new tricks! It’s important to move at your dog’s pace and choose a trick that’s appropriate for your dog’s abilities, age, and temperament. Keep training sessions brief and set them up for success with a number of motivators as rewards, such as treats or playing with their favorite toy. The list is endless for new tricks: touch, play dead, speak, paw, roll-over, bow, spin…etc.
- Muffin Tin Game – Chances are if you check your kitchen, you may have a muffin tin hidden somewhere. Place some delicious treats in a few of the holes; cover all of the holes with tennis balls and let them figure out how to remove the balls to get to the good stuff.
- Bubbles – There are all types of flavored dog-friendly bubbles from peanut butter, chicken, and steak. This is a great sensory enrichment activity that will also make your dog’s taste buds very happy.
- Dog Puzzles – Teach your dog problem-solving skills with treats and kibble for a more advanced mentally-stimulating game. There are different levels of dog puzzles from beginner to advanced.
- Treat Toys – A great surprise would be a ball or toy that holds treats. Your dog will know there’s something tasty hidden, but he’ll have to use his brain to sniff it out. There are many variations and options to choose from.
At Bark Avenue, we provide doggie daycare and other dog enrichment classes that will provide engagement and socialization in a safe environment for your dog or puppy. Whether you live in Bartlett, Hoffman Estates, St. Charles, Elgin, or Schaumburg, call us at (630) 289-8470 or contact us online if you are looking for doggy daycare near me to book your dog or puppy for doggie daycamp or dog boarding with us at Bark Avenue Daycamp.