Apr 27

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Exercise Your Brain

Smiling Dog 2Keeping your pooch’s brain active is just as important as keeping his body active.  I love to provide my dogs with some mental stimulation while giving them an opportunity to exercise their bodies as well.  A great way of course is simply by taking the dog for a walk.  Hopefully, you’re not one of those people that command the dog to walk military style right by your side.  Of course, there are rules he has to comply with, but it’s a walk and it’s exciting to smell new things and explore different neighborhoods or parks.  Let the dog jump off the grass, balance on the curb, and smell the flowers (just watch the roses for thorns and bees!)  You can also reinforce the skills you’re dog already has.  Ask him to sit and wait at the corner before crossing.  Dogs love nothing more than working for you and pleasing their human.

Another great game to play is hide and seek.  (It’s not just for the kids!)  A friend should be asked to hold your dog’s leash while you hide.  This is a great game to reinforce the command of “come.”  Once you’re hidden, shout “Come,” and the dog will excitedly look for you.  If he’s overly excited because he found you (which will probably be in an instant due to his great smelling skills), ask him to sit down and reward him for being such a good boy.  One more way of playing hide and seek is having your dog hunt for a toy or treat (this is a great game if it’s raining outside and you’re stuck indoors).  A friend should divert the dog’s attention from where you’re hiding the toy.  Once hidden, tell your dog it’s time to “find the ball.”  Playing and spending time with your dog is not only mentally and physically enjoyable for your pooch, but provides great benefits for you too.  There’s nothing like seeing your dog smile when he just performed the task at hand…….and that’s sure to put a smile on your face as well.

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