Activities For Complex Dogs

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Introduction

A dog is a naturally complex creature. In fact, dogs are studied at great lengths in friendly labs across the world to see what really makes a dog tick. Why are they such amazing companions, why do they absolutely love chasing things and what everyday thoughts occupy their brains? Dogs can recognize people and other dogs faces, they can feel jealousy and empathy and they can sniff out a treat from a mile away. Dogs are complex! If you know that you are the owner of an especially complex dog, here are a few games to celebrate the amazing power a dog has. 

Emotion Training

Popular
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Any Day
Free
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

You may already know this but dogs can definitely experience emotion. You have most likely seen a few of these easy to read emotions such as happiness, sadness and maybe even boredom. Dogs can also sense emotions in people. Perhaps your pup has run to cuddle by your side when you have been having a tough day- they are trying to cheer you up! Teaching your dog to communicate these emotions may be challenging but it is nothing a complex dog can't handle! Once your dog can identify emotions, they will be able to convey their needs even better, making your relationship flourish. 

Step
1
Verbal cues
Begin training by just verbally identifying your pup's emotions throughout their day. When your dog is running around, ready to go for a walk with you, say "excited" over and over. Your dog will begin to associate the word "excited" with how they feel in the moment.
Step
2
Voice tone
When you are using words to identify emotions to your dog, change your own voice to also reflect the emotion. For example, if you are teaching excited, put a little excitement into your voice to really make them know what you are talking about! You will be surprised how quickly your dog picks up on the inflection in your voice.
Step
3
Emotion command
Once you feel as though your dog is picking up on emotion words and cues, use them as commands. Say "excited" and reward your pup when they run around in a circle with glee. You will find that your dog will start acting out emotions naturally when they need something from you, using their complex brain to sort out what they need and want!
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Toy Challenges

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Toys of all Kinds
Activity description

You can easily pick up a squeaky toy or a stuffed animal for your dog to play with and chances are they will love it. However, a complex dog needs a toy that is a little more challenging. You want to choose a toy that will make your dog think, make them have to decipher how to make the toy work and also make them work a little. Toys don't have to be easy to be fun! In fact, a complex dog may find more joy in a toy that is a challenge than one they can simply toss around with no gratification. Luckily, there are many challenging dog toys around for you to look into for your pup! 

Step
1
Puzzles
Dog treat puzzle toys are a great place to start when finding a challenging toy for your dog. Most puzzle toys have the same basic concept where you hide a treat in the puzzle and your dog has to work to get it out. There are varying levels of puzzle toys so choose one that is right for your dog!
Step
2
Kongs
A basic kong toy is something that every dog owner should have. While this toy may look simple, it is actually quite complex. The rubber is practically indestructible and it is also washable so you can clean it anytime. Fill a Kong with peanut butter or melted cheese and your dog will have to use their paws and mouth in order to get their treat.
Step
3
Rotation
If you don't want to buy new toys, try simply rotating your dog's toys. Only give your pup one or two toys at a time and hide the rest. When your dog is no longer interested in the two toys they have, give them a new one and take the old ones away (save them for later!). Even just having something new and interesting will benefit a dog's brain.
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Dog Jobs

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
20 min
Items needed
Dog Backpack
Treats
Activity description

While you may see your job as a chore or something you do just to make money, many people (hopefully you are one of the lucky ones!) view their job as something that is rewarding and adds meaning to their life. Your dog falls into the latter category and will find a job to be something that they thrive on. You don't need to give your dog a big job, just something that gives them purpose every day. You will be amazed how your dogs face lights up when they get to do their job and are rewarded when they perform their task correctly. 

Step
1
Dog backpack
Next time you head out for a walk or hike, give your dog a doggy backpack to carry. This simple piece of equipment can be purchased at any pet store and is easy to attach to your dog. The extra weight of the pack will make your dog feel as though they are carrying something important and they will be more focused and happy on their walk.
Step
2
Train fetch
Train your dog to fetch something for you every day. We've all heard the cliché of a dog fetching an owner's slippers each day but why not make this a reality. Not only will your dog love to get you’re your morning paper, pair of socks or remote control, but you will also benefit - you won't have to move from your seat!
Step
3
Play fetch
Playing fetch is seen as a job for a dog. You throw the ball and it is their job, their duty to retrieve it. This will especially speak to dogs who have retrieving or chasing in their blood. Head out for a game of fetch anytime and know that it is making your complex dog feel as though they are the most important pup in the world.
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More Fun Ideas...

New Tricks

You can teach an old dog new tricks or a young dog new tricks - they all learn the same! A complex dog will love learning new tricks often and be happy when they master a new skill.

Obstacle Course

A complex dog will thrive on a doggy obstacle course where they are required to learn a set of complex skills. Change the course every so often to give your dog an extra challenge.

Conclusion

While we may never truly or completely understand all dogs, you can get pretty close! A complex dog is more likely to be able to express to you what they want and how they are feeling so take advantage of this genius and work with your dog to learn what they need. A complex dog is anything but boring and you should be happy that you have such an amazing creature to call your own!