Intellectual games for dogs: search games
There is a huge variety of intellectual games for dogs. In this article we will focus on the simplest games that are easy to organize at home.
You just need to play with a dog
Why does a dog need intellectual games?
Each dog needs both physical and mental stress. If we talk about physical activity, then the dog, regardless of its size, needs at least 2 hours of walking per day. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the Yorkshire Terrier or the Irish Wolfhound, the phlegmatic Chow Chow or the choleric terrier. If you can walk even more - wonderful!
During the walk, the dog gets tired physically, receives impressions, which the brain then processes - so the walks to some extent also tire the brain.
But unfortunately you won’t be full of physical activity. Let's draw a parallel with people: if we rush around playing football or go to the gym, it’s great, we enjoy it, endorphins are produced, we are tired, but this is not enough. If we go to the gym every day, most likely, we will still get bored, want to read a book, go to a museum or chat with interesting people, and at least play Sudoku. The dog, like man, needs a mental load.
Some statistics: 15 minutes of mental load are equivalent to a 1.5-hour active walk.
This does not mean that we can work out with the dog for 15 minutes, and then walk for only half an hour. All the same, the dog needs to run and carry out a typical behavior: sniff, communicate with fellow tribesmen (unless, of course, your pet is trying to eat them). But if he is trying to eat other dogs, I, as a specialist, consider it more honest with him to correct this behavior. Let not your dog play with his fellow tribesmen, but at least to minimize the constant stress that both of you are in while walking, looking for enemies.
Unfortunately, our life is such that we often work 8 to 12 hours a day, therefore, we are absent at home until 14 hours. A difficult daily test for our pet: after all, the bladder is filled in 5 hours, and feces accumulate in 8 hours. Dogs older than 12 months (in infantile breeds - later) can tolerate up to 12 hours. I will not dwell on those who walk their dog only once a day, and the dog suffers and does not go to the toilet at home. I believe that such cases should be equated with cruelty to the animal. Now I settled only on the physiological aspect. However, prolonged loneliness also affects the psychological state of our pet.
Studies show that dogs with a normal nervous system calmly endure loneliness, which lasts up to 6 hours. Left without a company for more than 6 hours, the dog begins to feel discomfort. By the way, in the countries of Scandinavia there is a law: if your dog is left alone at home for more than 6 hours, you must hire a dog sitter, or a dog nanny.
Belarus is developing the idea of contacting dog sitters and dog wokers (people who walk your dog in your absence), and this is very cool. When I’m leaving for on-site seminars, I myself invite a dog-woker to my dog for a walk, and on days when my husband works for 12 hours, a dog sitter comes to Elbrus for 30 minutes in the afternoon - just to sit with him, play in educational games.
The dog needs intellectual games. But not all games are equally useful :-)
3 main ways to entertain a dog
With our workload, we can not always give the dog the opportunity to get a sufficient number of impressions, but there are ways available to everyone that can easily and cheerfully occupy the dog at home.
- Trick training. Firstly, it is fun and can be fun for both the owner and the dog.Secondly, the more a dog can do, the better. In the end, when the dog collects the pyramids or hugs a teddy bunny - it's nice. In addition, we can always boast of the dog’s skills when visiting or, in the worst case, in our unstable economic situation, show a performance on the square and gain reserves for a rainy day. 🙂 In the following articles we will talk about how to teach your pet useful and interesting tricks.
- Shaping - when a dog plays a guessing game. It is fun and does not require active action on the part of the owner.
- Interactive games are all kinds of combinations of labyrinths and drawers that the dog must learn to open in order to earn a treat. Now the market offers a large number of production interactive games. The most famous companies that produce such games: Trixie, Karlie, Nina Ottosson, Kong. Belarusian pet stores already offer a fairly large selection of such games. But such games can be made with your own hands from improvised materials. Interactive games include search games. We will consider the ideas of home-made games below.
Simple educational (search) games for dogs at home
- The simplest educational search game. Take a piece of goodies, pinch in a fist so that a small hole remains, and show the dog two fists. She must determine on the scent in which of the fists is a treat. In the future, sniffing the fists can be "put" on the team "Seek" or "Sniff."
- When the dog has learned to choose the right cam, we complicate its task: take disposable plastic cups (not transparent), make a small hole in the bottom and play thimbles. We put a treat under one of the glasses, and let the dog determine which of the glasses it is hidden under. The number of cups is gradually increasing (we start with two).
- You can take an empty shoe box, half fill it with crumpled paper (ideally take toilet paper, and the cheapest without fragrances) and throw the zhenya feed there too - let the dog get it. In the future, you can complicate the task: cover the box with a lid or make a lattice of fabric ribbons in the upper part so that the dog has to put its face in it and fight against obstacles.
- Sometimes the owners complain that the dog literally sucks in the food. In stores you can buy special slow-feeders (slow feeders) - special labyrinth bowls where the right amount of food is thrown, but the dog does not have the opportunity to swallow it instantly. As a result, what the dog usually eats in 3 seconds, she has to eat out for several minutes. As such a feeder, you can use a plastic or rubber lattice mat, which is usually put under the mat at the front door: we fill the feed into the holes of the mat - and voila.
- The game "Candy". We take the squares of paper (again, you can use toilet paper) and twist them in the feed or a few feeds. And we scatter these "sweets" around the room (you can put everything in a box, but be prepared for the fact that the paper will still be scattered around the room). The only “but”: I would advise using dry food rather than natural products - the “natural” gives juice that impregnates the paper, the greedy dog can swallow the “candy” along with the wrapper. On the other hand, even if the dog eats some pulp, it’s not scary. It is interesting that in this game dogs are divided into 2 categories: some unfold each "candy" with the help of paws and teeth, while others take the candy in their mouths, skillfully bite a piece and spit out a piece of paper. I call them "seed-eaters." And so they quickly and cleverly get it that you wonder. I usually prescribe “sweets” to dogs with anxiety of breaking up or smashing an apartment: 10 “sweets” the dog eats for 5 minutes, so that you not only gain time, but also give the dog a good mental load.The dog eats 30 pieces of food - and already tired.
- You can collect toilet paper sleeves, put them vertically in a shoe box and throw a handful of goodies inside.
- Instead of toilet paper bushes, you can use wine corks, only carefully ventilate them first.
- The delicacy can be put in the sleeve of toilet paper and seal this sleeve on both sides. Better let the dog chew on the bush than linoleum or wallpaper!
- You can take a cardboard container from under the eggs, put a treat in each cavity, and on top - a tennis ball or simply crumpled paper into a ball. This is the simplest game for very timid dogs. In fact, all that is required of them is to shove the ball with his nose, and the reward is received. Then you can close the container - and let the dog chew it.
- Take cupcake baking dishes - a pallet on several small niches - put treats there and cover with the same balls.
- If the soul requires scope, you can install a children's pool with plastic balls and throw goodies there too. Although it is not known what will be more important - a treat or balls. Well, since there are already balls for the pool, you can fill the container with them, and not the pool - the scope, of course, is more modest, but the dog will delight in digging into the container, fishing pieces of food between the balls.
- You can take a bamboo rug or yoga mat, put a path out of treats (first, a feeding belt every 5 to 10 cm), and then twist it. For starters, we show the dog one treat lying on the mat, she begins to unwind the mat with her nose and self-promote. Then the distance between the pieces increases, and then the jackpot (a few pieces of goodies) remains at the very end. In parallel, you can teach the dog the command "Slave, unwind the rug!" :-)
- You can take old socks and lay goodies in them.
- You can use old jeans or T-shirts, towels - crumple them, put food in the folds, and let the dog understand.
- A great game that dogs really like: a snuff rug. We take the grill for washing or, for large dogs, the grid, which is laid under the mat at the front door. We cut strips 2 cm wide from the old flannel shirt or fleece sweater, old jeans. And we impose knots on each grid in the grid. On the reverse side, we get a kind of soft “hedgehog” from fabric strips, where we can throw zhmenka feed. This will take the dog a long time. (You can enter the query “snuffle mat” in the search box).
- Especially fanatical owners who love to do something with their own hands, I recommend sewing developmental rugs with various pockets, fabric hedgehogs, etc. (You can enter the query “snuffle puzzle mat” in the search box).
- Throw a piece of food in front of the dog and say: “Look.” Then gradually the pieces rush farther or hide, and we sit the dog on exposure in another room. You can hide toys.
- You can play hide and seek - offer the dog to find a specific family member who, when discovered, gives the dog a treat.
- You can use plastic bottles of small volume, for example, 0.33 liters. Pour zhmenka feed into the bottle, leaving the lid open. While the dog is braking the bottle, the feeders occasionally get enough sleep.
- Another version of the game with a bottle: cut a hole in the side plane of the bottle, with a diameter slightly larger than the diameter of the feed. Pour the food into the bottle, twist the cap, give it to the dog. While she rolls the bottle, the food gets enough sleep.
- You can drill a hole in the tennis ball (just be sure to rinse it from the inside before you pour the feed into it): the dog rolls the ball and earns feeds.
Dogs enjoy the search games
Such games not only amuse the dog, but also teach perseverance and help fight frustration.
CAUTION! Use extreme caution when using toys whose ingestion of parts could harm your pet's health: for example, plastic bottles, tennis balls or fabric toys!
Before leaving the dog alone with such toys, make sure that the dog will not try to swallow a piece of such a toy.