Mental Games?

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peachesmommy
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Mental Games?

Postby peachesmommy » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:16 am

I heard people talking about mental stimulation as well as physical. What are some good mental things to do with a dog? I do fetch, some obedience, hide and seek. I don't do them all the time but would like different things I can do with her so she doesn't get bored. She seems to get bored of stuff pretty quick. Even bones and chews. I walk her daily several times daily so she's always moving that way and doing things that way but I'd like to really tire her out so would like better ideas for mental stimulation.

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FBODGRL
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby FBODGRL » Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:01 pm

do a search in training and behavior. I think there are at least a few threads about all types of "mind" games or mental stimulation.

Mental stimulation can come from training a new trick as well.

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Celesteandthebullies
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby Celesteandthebullies » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:19 pm

Practicing what you've trained, or trying to train new things. I find clicker training great for mental stimulation, especially since you can shape a behavior.

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pblove
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby pblove » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:37 pm

try an internet search for
"101 Things to Do With A Box"

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kaytenmags
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby kaytenmags » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:38 pm

the muffin pan game!! i used it a fair bit when my dog was recovering from (one of her many) knee surgeries.

here's the directions:
-take one muffin pan
-put a small treat (or a couple kibbles) in each of the 12 cups/divets/holes/craters/voids (what the hell do you call those things on a muffin pan?!). obviously, i'm not much of a chef.
-put a ball in each of the cups, on top of the treats.
-put the pan, complete with treats and balls, on the floor.
-release the hound!

a video demonstration:
Image

blackeyedblonde
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby blackeyedblonde » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:24 am

Moose adores the muffin game. I have one of those pans for two-bite muffins, and i put shot glass sized dixie cups (I think they make them for mouth wash) in the hole things. I fill the cups with various weights, like coffee beans or rice. It makes the game a little trickier for him.

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Stormi
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby Stormi » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:38 pm

The biggest way we can offer mental stimulation for our dogs is to change the way we feed them. Work-to-eat puzzles, often marketed as "treat toys" feed into our dogs natural drive to hunt and scavenge and WORK for their food. When we plop a bowl of food down twice a day, we're actually doing our dogs a disservice by taking away what they would spend the majority of their time doing if we weren't there. A dog who's fed by work-to-eat puzzles or training games is far less likely to have anxiety or behavior issues resulting from pent up anxiety. There's a variety of different versions and levels of difficulty, all the way from the tricky treat ball or kong, up to extremely advanced puzzles such as those by Nina Ottosson. If you're crafty, you can even build your own :)

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tiva
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby tiva » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:03 pm

Stormi wrote:The biggest way we can offer mental stimulation for our dogs is to change the way we feed them. Work-to-eat puzzles, often marketed as "treat toys" feed into our dogs natural drive to hunt and scavenge and WORK for their food. When we plop a bowl of food down twice a day, we're actually doing our dogs a disservice by taking away what they would spend the majority of their time doing if we weren't there. A dog who's fed by work-to-eat puzzles or training games is far less likely to have anxiety or behavior issues resulting from pent up anxiety. There's a variety of different versions and levels of difficulty, all the way from the tricky treat ball or kong, up to extremely advanced puzzles such as those by Nina Ottosson. If you're crafty, you can even build your own :)


I love treat-dispensing toys. We have lots of different ones. But it also works well just to toss the kibble into the grass and let your dog hunt it down.

Tracking is wonderful mental stimulation--you can do formal tracking training, or you can just lay a track on your own, and have your dog do the track. Lots of sites online give good instructions.

Any kind of shaping games can be great mental workouts.

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peachesmommy
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby peachesmommy » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:48 am

I love these suggestions. I never heard of the muffin game and will definately have to try it with her. I've done the search with her ball. I toss it in the longest grass I can find and make her go get it. I started with letting her see where I threw it to having her face away and then tossing it. I've been playing hide and seek as well with her. I never thought about those toys where they have to work to get the treat out. Do dogs get bored with them? She gets bored with bones very very quickly. It's like if she has to do work then she doesn't want it..lol

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Stormi
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby Stormi » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:18 pm

peachesmommy wrote:Do dogs get bored with them? She gets bored with bones very very quickly. It's like if she has to do work then she doesn't want it..lol


Only if she learns that if she ignores it long enough that you'll do it for her ;) If you give in, then she probably won't engage with them all that much, because its easier just to wait till you dump it all out for her. Never fear, a hungry dog will not purposely starve themselves. Once she figures out that you aren't going to do the work for her, she'll engage with the work-to-eat puzzles. The only trouble you'll find once she gets the hang of it is keeping the toys rotated to keep her guessing! And the added benefit is dogs who have grown up working for their food rather than eating out of a bowl have amazing problem solving skills that you can put to use in training games!

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peachesmommy
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Re: Mental Games?

Postby peachesmommy » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:45 pm

I'll have to look into some toys that have treats in them. I played the muffin game and I will have to come up with heavier balls or something. It took her 2 minutes if that to figure it out and clean out every muffin cup. Once she got it figured out she just went along nosing the balls out of each cup and eating the treat.


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