What is Brain & Nose Stimulation for Dogs and How Does it Work?

Dogs, like humans, require physical activity to stay healthy and fit. Some dogs are more active than others, such as herding dogs, which were bred to herd animals such as sheep in large open spaces of nature and thus run many kilometers every day. Hunting dogs are also bred to be very physical when hunting and retrieving game, whereas other dogs are bred to guard in one location. Regardless of the breed of dog you have or how often you walk it, all dogs require mental stimulation. From puppyhood on, the brain must be kept active.

How do you stimulate the dog's brain?

There are numerous types of brain games for dogs. You can, for example, attend obedience training, hunting training, police training, rally training, agility training, and so on. It is only your imagination that limits which training teams you can join, but it is critical that you know your dog. When deciding on the best type of training for your dog, it is critical that you have a thorough understanding of the breed and understand the dog's natural instincts.

Having said that, both agility and obedience training are enjoyable for dogs of all temperaments, including those with strong hunting instincts. It is less crucial what form of training you choose if you don't actively go hunting and the training is done as a hobby to please both dog and owner. As long as the dog exhibits joy, you encourage it, and you both enjoy yourself. What matters most is that the dog uses his mind and picks up a lot of knowledge.

Brain-nose gymnastics at home and outside

Although some dogs (hunter dogs) have superior noses than others, canines in general benefit from mental stimulation when using their noses. You may train your dog's nose work in a variety of ways. An excellent tool that most dogs quickly pick up on and find entertaining is an activity ball. It may be used both inside and outside and can be filled with tiny treats that drop out of the holes when the dog pushes the ball around. The dog is motivated by receiving treats when he plays with the ball.

If you don't have an activity ball, hiding little goodies in a blanket or towel and folding it up is a great mental training game. In order to access the rewards in this situation, the dog must use his nose to pry apart the towel. This game is also simple to play and is portable. You can fold the towel a few times at first to help the dog understand how to do it. Then, fold it numerous times so that the challenge level rises and the dog has to work harder to earn the treat.

Tossing the dog's dry food over a big lawn is a third simple game that works wonders for nose and brain training. This requires the dog to use its nose to find the food, which can take some time if you throw it far away. You must either have a garden or a lush yard to play this game. When you go for a stroll without a garden, you can carry the dog's treats in your pocket or a bag that you can subsequently throw in front of you. To prevent your dog from losing all of his food, make sure no other dogs show up and join in the game. 

There are other games that need the dog to solve problems in order to receive a treat. For instance, the dog may need to raise or push lids or other objects to the side in order to receive the treat in a variety of activity games. You can also use a regular cup or lid, but make sure that the dog doesn't chew or devour the items you want it to move. Alternatively, you might place the dog's dry food in a non-glass bottle and ask him to figure out how to handle it. Another option is to hide lots of treats throughout the house and let the dog find them. 

Exercises that focus on body control are also excellent for mentally stimulating dogs, but they do not involve using the dog's nose. Every dog will be challenged by these balance and motor skill exercises. Similar to agility, the dog must walk on a seesaw, through a tunnel, remain motionless on a high, narrow area, etc. If an agility track is not available, you can easily practice these drills while doing daily walks together. Here, you may educate the dog to leap onto a bench or a tree stump while being required to remain motionless and regulate its actions. It is just a matter of being a little creative.

Dogs don't have high expectations, so small and simple changes can make a big difference. The dog is happy and satisfied as long as it uses its nose and brain.   

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