Dogs are a man’s best friend. Throughout the decades, we’ve seen amazing feats of coordination and communication between dogs and humans—so much so that there are now countless cases of pets and dog owners helping hand-in-hand in order to accomplish a mutual goal.
You’ve seen the adventures of the police and their K-9 units on TV, capturing traffickers through a well-coordinated operation. You’ve seen airport security and their bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling each and every section of the airport, making sure that no suspicious package would ever trigger something catastrophic. And you may have seen some therapy dogs and their owners visiting children’s hospitals and orphanages, bringing smiles to the little ones who need them the most.
Indeed, dogs and humans are a perfect combination when it comes to accomplishing something great—but that mutual connection and coordination may only be accomplished with ample amounts of training and mental exercises. You and your dog at home may not be a part of the police or the airport security, but you should still hone your coordination in order to live a mutually productive and happy life.
The following are just some of the most common activities you may do to mentally stimulate and train your dog.
1. Hide Your Pet’s Toys
This may sound cruel; however, the intention here isn’t to frustrate or make fun of your pet. Instead, this is done in order to develop their “puzzle-solving” skills.
Hold the chew toy in your hand, then hide it somewhere accessible. Make sure that they were able to see you hide it so that they have an idea of where to find it. Now, watch them retrieve the toy from its current hiding place.
If they were able to get it after a couple of tries, do the same thing again, but this time, hide it in another accessible place. So as long as they can reach it, they would be able to come up with ways to retrieve it. Lend a helping hand if they’re getting frustrated with the exercise, then feel free to reward them afterward with a few treats.
2. Walk Through New Paths Whenever You Would Go Out Jogging
While it would be wise to familiarize your dog with the same path just in case they get lost and need to remember the path to go home, it is still advisable to teach them new paths whenever both of you would go out for jogs. Discovery is a part of stimulating your dog’s mind, and letting them discover and sniff out something that they’ve never encountered before would ensure that they would have the urge to keep on discovering for the foreseeable future.
3. Teach Your Dog New Commands
Teaching your dog to sit, rollover, and fetch is already a foregone skill that you may have taught it from the very start. Now, it’s time to teach it more complicated instructions, such as “go to the potty,” “stay,” and “pick up your toys.”
While these may all sound like your usual toddler instructions, they are actually commands that you may teach your dogs as well. Teaching them to clean up after themselves, avoid making any further mess, and return their chew toys in their container would teach your dog discipline and stimulate their mind for more complicated commands.
Training your dog isn’t easy. You have to allot time and effort in order to teach them something repetitive and useful. Don’t just settle for simple commands and whistles; you have to be creative enough to make them follow your instructions, stimulating their minds and sharpening their instincts in the process. Remember, a well-trained dog is an obedient dog, and an obedient dog is nothing short of a perfect companion that would stay loyal to you until the very end.
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