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Mental stimulation?

August 9th, 2009, 11:17 PM
What kind of activities are mentally stimulating for puppies?

Every day we work on obedience training, and he gets plenty of running and playing time. But I feel like I'm not making him think enough. I've read that they need mental stimulation to be well rounded and happy.

So what can I do? Are there any toys, or activities I can do with him?

August 10th, 2009, 12:01 AM
try hiding his toys under a blanket and seeing how long it takes him to find it and get it out. Show him what you're doing and then let him try or use a stinky treat and hide it. Teach him the name of things and then get him going and bringing them to you. Start target training with him and teach him nose and paw to touch. I taught Bayley to touch with her nose or her paw. I say touch paw or touch nose.

August 10th, 2009, 08:17 AM
Taking him out and socialize him to sounds and people and stuff. That stimulates them. Make sure he had the parvo vaccines first.

August 11th, 2009, 10:22 PM
Hide and seek is for sure a good mentally stimulating activity. Hide items and them have the dog find them.

Training doesn't have to be obedience training, it can be fun stuff that's also mentally stimulating, such as agility and fetch (retrievers usually like this the most, obviously).

A lot of plain old interactions are mentally stimulating for that matter. If you're a really physical person and so is your dog then just rolling around with them and wrestling or playing chase is plenty mentally stimulating because they're learning how to interact appropriately with you.

There are toys that are kind of like a puzzle if you're looking for something like that.

If your dog is smart and patient enough (some aren't, it's just a fact) you can do stuff like teaching them names for specific items and having them pick them out of a row. We played with certain toys and gave them specific names and lined them up in a row and then had Walnut pick them out.
Don't make it a chore or be really strict about it, just make it a fun game. If they get it wrong sometimes that's ok, you're just using it as a fun mentally stimulating activity.

You can also teach tricks, like turning off light switches (if your dog is tall enough obviously) or retrieving things like a remote control or pair of socks, how to play dead, crawl along the ground (some dogs aren't flexible enough for this, so don't try to hard if your dog seems to have trouble), etc.

Pick the stuff that your dog seems to have the most fun with though and does well, otherwise it won't be productive since your dog will just get bored and give up. If he doesn't "get it" you don't wanna spend too much time on it. It's like if a rocket scientist came up to you and started teaching you about all kinds of physics stuff and you aren't even very good at math, you go "huh?" and just stop listening.