Mind games for your dog, the optimal use of time
That a dog can smell much better than a human, you probably already knew. That a dog chases his nose is therefore only natural. Your dog likes to put his nose to work! Brainwork for your dog through mind games and sniffing games stimulates your dog's brain, gives them a satisfied feeling and on top of that creates a better bond with its owner. Definitely worth a try, right?
How do you start?
You don't necessarily have to buy games from the store. You can use the household items you have at home to create a fantastic game for your dog! Empty bottles, cardboard boxes, old pieces of fabric, silicone baking mold, ... you name it and you can turn it into something you can entertain your dog with. Just about anything is suitable for hiding a tasty dog treat in or under (as long as the material is safe for your dog, of course).
Example: Let your creativity loose and make your own sniffing mat from old pieces of fabric you have lying around. Hide some dog treats in it and let your dog sniff around on it. Or fill a cardboard box with empty toilet rolls and spread out his tasty dog treats in it.
The purpose of dog games
Brain work for your dog offers numerous benefits. It helps your dog's concentration, brings his energy level down, but the benefit that jumps out at the top is the fact that it stimulates your dog's brain. Instead of putting their muscles to work (in e.g. a pull-rope game), you now put their nose to work tracking down certain things. Which is great for your doggie, it makes them feel fulfilled. Make regular brain games part of your dog's weekly routine, it will keep your dog's thinking skills sharp.
Besides being a stimulus for your dog's brain, it also helps your dog get rid of his energy. But don't get us wrong, it's obviously a different kind of fatigue than after a big walk. Dogs need both physical and mental challenges! Within the physical and mental challenge, the connection with the owner is also key. By working and playing together, you will get to know your dog more closely and see how he handles solving 'problems' or puzzles. That way you can quickly work further on things your dog enjoys doing.
Puzzling for everyone
Brainwork is for every kind of dog, if it is properly shown to the dog. The game should be tailored to your dog's needs. Feeding from a KONG that requires the dog to lick and chew is soothing. Whereas feeding in a food ball is more likely to provide more energy. Do you have a dog that needs more exercise? Then a food ball is more likely to be the right choice for you. Does your dog need to calm down for any reason (such as an operation)? Then mind games are also the ideal solution to keep them active and occupied.
Time to get a brain game in the house!