Activities For A Clever Dog

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Introduction

Dogs have an uncanny ability to learn new tricks and understand some things that humans try to convey, which makes them one of the smartest animals in the world. While dogs are generally all clever, there are a select few who are considered the cream of the crop – intelligent canines who are able to learn faster and pick up new information much quicker. These extra smart dogs come in all breeds and sizes. If you happen to have a clever dog, consider yourself lucky. However, with great intelligence comes great responsibility; clever dogs have special stimulation needs that should be met. 

Muffin Tin Game

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Any Day
Free
Easy
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Muffin tin
Tennis balls
Treats
Activity description

Not a lot of dog owners know this but excessive energy and boredom are two of the leading causes of behavioral problems among dogs. This becomes even more problematic if you have a clever dog that requires constant mental stimulation. One of the simplest games that you can play with your pooch in order to fight boredom is the muffin tin game. This is a favorite among dog owners because of how easy it is to find the materials needed. Moreover, the game can keep your dog occupied for long periods of time and can be played within the comforts of your own home. 

Step
1
Prepare the materials needed
One of the good things about the muffin tin game is that the materials you need can be found lying around your house. For this game, all you need is a muffin tin, tennis balls and your dog’s preferred treats. In case you do not have enough tennis balls, you can get this from any sports shop.
Step
2
Hide the treats
When you have all the materials needed, you can start with the game. Call out to your dog and do a trial run where you place a single treat in the muffin tray while your dog watches. Place tennis balls in all the molds, including the one where you placed the treat in. Then, let your dog discover how to take the tennis ball out to retrieve the treat.
Step
3
Keep your dog guessing
When your dog gets a good understanding of how the game works, you can start adding more treats into each mold of the tray. This time, do not let your dog watch where you put the treats. Cover each mold with a tennis ball and have your dog guessing. Not letting your dog see where the treats are hidden is a great way for them to use their sense of smell along with their brain.
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Hot and Cold

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Any Day
Free
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

Another classic brain game that owners like to play with their smart dogs is the hot and cold game. This is also a favorite among owners who do not want to exert too much effort without compromising their dog’s stimulation requirements. All you have to do is think of any action that you would like your dog to do. You use the words “hot” to indicate if your dog is going in the right direction or movement and “cold” if they do the opposite. When your dog eventually executes the action you had in mind, you can then give a treat as a reward. This is a great game for clever dogs because it keeps them on their toes and gets them trying lots of different actions. It also helps improve understanding and communication between the two of you. 

Step
1
Think of an action
To start the game, think of an action that you want your dog to execute. Since you are just starting out, choose an action that is not too complicated or even one that your dog does regularly. A good example would be to want your dog to lie on the couch or go to the kitchen.
Step
2
Reward your dog
If your dog makes any step in the right direction or starts to execute the move you had in mind, say the word “hot” using an excited tone. The closer your dog gets to the action, the more excited your tone should be. Likewise, if your dog starts to move away from the target, say “cold” in a non-excited manner. Clever dogs will eventually make out how the game works. Once your dog executes the action, give a treat as a reward and start all over again.
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Red Light, Green Light

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Any Day
Free
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

Smart dogs love to play games. However, it is inevitable for some of them to get too enthusiastic or wound up during play time. If your dog falls under this category, then the game of “red light, green light” is perfect for your pooch. This game is basically commanding your dog to stop or go at any given point in time. One of the top benefits of playing this game is that you get to teach your dog to control their impulse. This becomes practical in real-life situations so that you can easily control your dog when playing with other people (such as children) or when going to public places such as off-leash dog parks or beaches. 

Step
1
Work on each command
To play this game, your dog must be aware of the basic commands, particularly “stop” and “go”. Work on the commands one at a time. Start with the “red light” command where you call out your dog towards you and then tell them to stop abruptly. Then, practice the “green light” command, where you get your dog to come to you using an excited tone. Do this repeatedly until your dog associates the words with their respective commands.
Step
2
Play the game
After your dog has a good understanding of the red light and green light commands, you can then put the practice to the test. Choose a spacious area, preferably your backyard, and ask your dog to sit. Then, using the green light command, have your dog come to you. You can also use the red light command if you want your dog to stop on their tracks. Always give your dog a treat every time they follow your command.
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More Fun Ideas...

Toy Cleanup

This game is a good activity for your dog to learn because not only does it hone your dog’s grasp of basic commands, it is also practical for when you need help with cleaning up. The objective of this activity is to have your dog pick up a toy and drop it on command. Slowly but surely, your dog will understand that you want the toys to be moved to a box or basket. 

Puzzle Games

A good way to keep your dog mentally stimulated without having to do much work on your part is through puzzle games. Like humans, the brains of dogs also decline as they age. Getting your pooch invested in puzzle games helps reduce brain deterioration caused by aging. There are literally hundreds of dog puzzle games that you can buy from any pet store. 

Conclusion

Having a dog that is not only adorable but also clever is really a steal; there are many benefits that come with having smart canines. However, it is not without challenge. Clever dogs get easily bored and creativity is required on your part in order to keep your pooch happy. Trying out any of these activities can help keep your dog stimulated.