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brain exercises

March 13th, 2006, 05:17 PM
Hi again! I was re-reading some old posts with regards to how to get through the "bratty puppy phases" and a few people mentioned that mental or 'brain exercises" for 30 minutes a day are just as effective to tire out a puppy. So...I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for some "brain exercises" or "Jobs" I could teach my dog? I have done obedience class with her but am not very creating in finding ways to change it up to still challeng her. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

March 13th, 2006, 06:38 PM
Teaching her any tricks at all is tiring. Name her toys and then hide them and get her to find them. Name the rooms and send her into them by name. Name the people and have her go to them by name. Heres a list of possible words to teach her:
Down (lay)
Sleep (lay on side)
Be a bear (beg)
Heel (walk by my side)
Up (from down to sit)
Up-Up (on to things)
Roll over
Scoot (crawl on belly)
Okay (release)
Leave it
Take it
Easy (gentle)
Back (back of car)
Toys (bone, ball, fuzzy…)
Parts of her body (tail, tummy, foot…)
Rooms in the house (Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom…)
Furniture (bed, couch, chair, pillow…)
Names (of family members)
Eat & Drink
Find it

March 13th, 2006, 07:21 PM
Wow! Tenderfoot! Thanks very much! How do you teach these words? Wait until they do the things (i.e. come up on the couch) and then say, "Up-up"? Or do you try to lead her with a treat? Thanks again!

March 13th, 2006, 09:09 PM
I know I'm not Tenderfoot. But I wanted to add another command to the list! I think any dog (but especially those that might compete in doggy sports) benefit from learning how to touch [target] your hand, or a target! You can put together all sorts of different behaviours when you teach your dog to target (for instance, Dodger turns on/off lights and targeting made teaching him that behaviour much easier!)

With regards to the how-to behind most commands you have a few options... You can capture it when it happens and then reward by saying "good [insert behaviour]; you can lure him into position so you are asking, creating and rewarding the desired behaviour; or you can combine compulsive training (gently placing/leading your dog into position) with luring and rewarding.

For some of the words that Tenderfoot listed like car, outside/inside, rooms, furniture etc...I would just say the particular word before or while your dog is doing it because its not really a command at first...So just get into the habit of saying the word like "inside" everytime your dog comes inside. They will usually catch on really quick! You can approach them like commands but I think its much easier to capture such words and then turn them into commands later.

Obedience or trick training is probably what will really tire your dog out because you are both working together and your dog is learning something new - which is quite tiring!
I love that Dodger has "jobs" because it lets me be lazy...He will fetch anything and will find certain items on command (ex: keys, phone, remote), he'll bring me laundry, put away boots and toys, switch on/off lights, open/close cabinets and doors etc... It is so fun to have a "little molly maid" because it becomes so much more than "parlour tricks"!! The best part is that Dodger loves keeping busy and is so conditioned to help that he does it naturally! It really strengthens the bond!

March 14th, 2006, 09:03 AM
I hope you were smiling when you said "I know I'm not Tenderfoot." :confused:
I hope you don't think that our advice is held in any different regard than anyone elses. We all come here with experience of one kind or another and all experience is valuable.
You give great advice.:thumbs up

March 14th, 2006, 09:37 AM
I agree w/ all that's been said already - especially the TOUCH command, as Lissa mentioned. I taught my dog to target by using lids - yogurt container lids, margarine container lids, cream cheese lids, etc... get a clean lid - rub a treat on it (transfer the smell of the treat to the lid), put dog in a sit, hold the target (lid) at his level and say TOUCH - when his nose hits that lid, REWARD! (praise, treat, whatever works for you)

gradually build this skill, then start putting the target (lid) on the floor. imagine it's a painted dot on the floor - tell your dog to GO TOUCH.

we have "lid races" - using a hallway or such - put a lid at each end, and race to the lids - pump your dog up (ready! ready!! ready!!! go touch!!!!!!!!!!)

eventually you can phase out the actual "lid" and teach him to touch other things.

March 14th, 2006, 09:53 AM
I hope you were smiling when you said "I know I'm not Tenderfoot." :confused:
I hope you don't think that our advice is held in any different regard than anyone elses. We all come here with experience of one kind or another and all experience is valuable.
You give great advice.:thumbs up

:D Don't worry, I only wrote that because she was directing her question at you!!! :)

I always smile!:grouphug:

March 14th, 2006, 11:38 AM
Hi Lisa - Oh thank g-d - I was so confused... I must still be learning how to read peoples posts without getting weird about their intentions.:p

March 14th, 2006, 05:06 PM
Thanks all! I don't know if it's just spring or her age (almost 9 months) or both...but I am starting to go insane! I don't think I have ever posted so many questions! Indy has gone back to eating everything in sight during our walks. She knows "out" and "leave it" but just doesn't seem to care! So, every second step...she's got something in her mouth (paper bag, plastic bag, pine cone, plastic...whatever has fallen out of the garbage or was hidding in the now-melting snow). I was told awhile back that it's better to exercise her before feeding her as it's not good for bloat. BUt do you think that feeding her first would help this?? It's making the walks totally miserable! this just another "test" considering her age? I know she's a golden and everything goes in their mouth...but oh my God!

March 14th, 2006, 06:09 PM
It's both spring and her age - a double whammy.:evil:
Feeding her in advance should not make that big of a difference - this is about relationship not hunger. She is challenging to see if she can control the walk. I would take her out on the leash, stop and let her potty and sniff for a few minutes. Then take charge. Plan on a brisk walk forward until you reach a predetermined location where you will stop and let her potty and sniff again. Do not let her pull you during this break. You are like a tree in the ground and she can learn to walk around you as she explores but no pulling. Then off again for another brisk walk until the next place YOU decide to stop.
Don't forget to practice 'leave it' in the house with lots of high level distractions. Don't wait until you really need it as she approaches a dead skunk. :eek: Practice in advance, and often will pay off in the trying times.

March 14th, 2006, 07:08 PM
Thanks Tenderfoot. I do try to walk briskly (and I am a fast walker) but she's like a little Hoover! She gets things before I even see tehy are there! And today she was all over the place chasing flying leaves! I hard to pull her to not get hit by a car (we have no sidewalks where I live). I feel like our walks are all about me pulling her and I just don't want that! I am afraid of hurting her but it's getting ridiculous! I do stop when she starts to pull....but then she thinks she's getting permission to eat whatever's on the ground! Literally, all anyone would hear me say when we are walking is, "Leave it", "Leave it", 'Leave it", then I have to fishout whatever is in her mouth! Sigh. I feel like she's associating her leash and a walk with something unpleasant because it's such a fight! Guess I just needed to vent! :o

March 14th, 2006, 07:16 PM
If your words are not impacting her then its a total lack of respect. It might be better to go back to basics and not go for walks. Go back to what she can do well and work on that again, build up to the walks - right now it sounds like these walks are college level for her and she needs to go back to Jr. High.

March 14th, 2006, 07:28 PM
That's pretty much what happened today. She just wasn't behaving and I didn't want to "reward" that with a nice walk so we turned around and went home. I then dug into the Cheerios and tried to work her brain instead. C'mon dry weather!!