Activities For Chess Players With Dogs

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Introduction

Sometimes referred to as the "Royal Game" chess is one of the oldest and most mentally stimulating games in existence. Chess is so complex that there have been scores upon scores of books that discuss Chess theory and strategy, and the game itself has become synonymous with super intelligence and academia. This is an unfortunate association, however, as there are quite a large number of people who seem to believe that Chess is a game that's only meant to be played by "smart people" and that the vast majority of people could never learn to play. This couldn't be further from the truth, as Chess is one of the few games out there that completely omits random chance as a factor. In reality, Chess is deceptively simple to play but hard to master.

Homemade Obstacle Course

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 - 45 min
Items needed
Hazard Free Household Items
Dog Friendly Furniture
Chairs and Tables
Activity description
When one thinks of the term "Obstacle Course" one may immediately think of the sort of incredibly intricate Conformation Courses found at most dog shows and feel that such a thing can only benefit a show dog. In reality, obstacle courses are a fun and unique way for dogs and dog owners alike to train their brains and learn to think ahead more efficiently; the dog's brain will develop as they learn to successfully maneuver around the course while the owner's brain will be tested as they set up the course while trying to make it as fun and engaging as possible for their pet.
Step
1
Set up the course
There are a number of ways to set up an obstacle course for your dog; you can go to a dog park and add simple additions to many of the pieces of equipment that are already there or you can set up shop in your backyard using chairs, tables, and boxes from your own home. You may also want to consider using dog poles or a small fence to help keep your dog within the confines of the play area.
Step
2
Practice makes perfect
More than anything else, we feel that the best piece of advice we can give you is to try not to get discouraged if your dog isn't able to get the hang of these obstacles all that quickly; it's very cerebral stuff and it may take weeks until you see any real progress in the way your dog tackles these trials. But stay on it and remain as focused and dedicated as you were when you were first learning how to play Chess. Many owners will run the course when possible with their dog, demonstrating the method along the way. Others choose to walk alongside the obstacles encouraging their pup as the boxes, hurdles and poles are traversed. Work with your buddy and see which approach works best.
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Dog Treat Toy

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Dog Treat Toys
Dog Treats
Timer/Stopwatch
Activity description
Dog treat toys are relatively new tools that can effectively take out two birds with stone; dog treat toys are excellent ways for pet owners to stimulate their dog's brains while also feeding them and helping their pets reach their nutrition goals for the day. We think that Chess playing dog owners will appreciate the various ways these toys prompt pets to think outside of the box in order to get what they want. Treat toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes; some are very easy and intuitive while others will require pets to take a page from Bobby Fischer and think way outside the box!
Step
1
Pick the right treat toy
As we mentioned before, treat toys come in a number of shapes, sizes, and difficulties. The size of the treat toy isn't really all that important in comparison to the difficulty, which may be the determining factor between your dog loving treat toys and shunning them with a fiery passion. No matter which type you decided to get for your dog, we recommend starting with the low difficulty toys if your dog has never played with a treat toy before.
Step
2
Be consistent
Just as a Chess player has to consistently study the royal game in order to understand all of its intricacies, a dog needs time to fully figure out a treat toy before you attempt to move them on to a higher difficulty. Give your dog a few weeks of play, at least, before you attempt to move on to a bigger or badder treat toy, so to speak.
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Shell Game

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Any Day
Cheap
Hard
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Shells
Dog Treats
Activity description
This last activity is an old school game but dogs of all breeds are almost guaranteed to love it; the "Shell Game" simply involves getting at least 3 shells, taking an item of value, placing it underneath one of those shells, shuffling them around, and then asking another person to guess which shell the item is under. In a match between humans, the item of value is usually a set amount of money. But with a dog, the item of value should be a treat or piece of food that your pet really loves. This will prompt them to really pay attention in order to find their reward.
Step
1
Set up the shells
Though it's called the shell game, you can use anything from cups to shoes to small boxes to give this activity a try; just be sure that you have a treat that your dog really likes and at least three objects that you can use to cover it. After you've gained your dog's undivided attention, let them see you place the treat underneath a shell in order to start this game on the right foot.
Step
2
Shuffle 'em around
While your dog is still looking at the shell with the treat underneath, slowly shuffle all three shells around. As an added bonus, pay attention to your dog's head and eyes as they follow the shell that they think contains their reward around. After shuffling for a bit, pause and prompt your dog to reach for the shell they think has the treat in it with their muzzle. If they're right, give them their treat and loads of praise! If they miss it the first time, encourage them and then reset the board.
Step
3
Speed things up
As your dog continues to successfully choose the shells that have the treats underneath them, feel free to speed things up in order to give your dog a greater challenge. We recommended earlier that you play the game slowly in order to help your dog get used to this activity, but as they begin to acclimate to the game you'll need to increase the challenge over time.
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More Fun Ideas...

Ring Stackers

This game is very similar to the one found in most daycares and preschools that help toddlers and young children develop their sense of hand-eye coordination. Most dogs will end up using their mouths to complete these ring stacking puzzles, but the end result will be the same; your dog's brain will have developed that much more after the successful completion of a 15 to 30 minute session playing with a ring stacking toy.

Hide and Seek

Much like Chess, hide and seek is a very simple game on the surface that actually requires a lot of thinking outside of the box to win. Dogs tend to love hide and seek because it tests and challenges them in ways that they typically aren't exposed to. Furthermore, hide and seek matches can help your dog come to rely on their sense of smell when trying to solve problems.

Conclusion

Dog owners who like Chess have likely gone through the trouble of learning each piece involved in the game, have devised a number of strategies to outmaneuver their opponents, and have possibly even studied a number of famous Chess matches to try and learn from the masters. Earlier in this article, we mentioned that Chess isn't inherently a game that only "smart people" can play. We know that this is true, but we also feel that it takes a lot of dedication and persistence to really learn the ins and outs of the game, in the same way that it takes dedication and persistence to properly raise a dog. We feel that if you've the strength of will and dedication to raise a dog, you'll have the willpower to learn how to play Chess and that you should give it a try if you haven't before.