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Games for mental stimulation

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I was just thinking about how huskies are smart enough than they need mental stimulation as much as they do physical occupation, and that (in my opinion), part of the reason that they're so mischievous and into making trouble is that they're looking for something "fun" to do. And I don't know about your dogs, but mine gets bored with his ordinary toys, so I get creative. Here are some things I do:

1. Hide and Seek

Max LOVES this game. Basically, I make him sit-say in one room, usually at the top/ bottom of a staircase, and then go hide somewhere that he can't see me. For instance, I'll have him sit at the top of the stairs, then run downstairs and hide behind the sofa. When I yell, "Come find me," he knows that's his cue to come searching for me. When he finds me, he gets a treat. I use "come find me" to distinguish it from his normal "come," since it's not a command - it's a game. It helps clue him in to what we're doing. Also, my carrying an entire bowl of treats around also helps him understand that we're playing hide and seek.

When I first started training him to play it, he didn't get it. It was like playing with a really, really little kid - I always hid in the same spot, and it was a really easy one, and yet he still had trouble. It didn't take him long to understand the object of the game, though, and then I could make it harder and harder. At first, he'd be fooled if I put a blanket over my head and sat in the middle of the living room floor (this worked well except it was hard to control my giggling!), but now he understands that mysterious blanket lumps are usually me. I've had to get trickier and trickier. If he hears the laundry room door creak open, he knows to go check there, etc. So when I'm at my sneakiest, I put piles of pillows under blankets, open and close a few doors, and then hide. He almost always still finds me, but sometimes he has trouble and needs a hint.

I haven't figured out how I'm going to make this a 2-dog game with Kaya, but I am excited to try. It's one of my favorite things to do with Max.

2. Egg Cartons

I take a small handful of kibble or treats and put it inside an egg carton (with him watching, so he knows what's in there). Sometimes I glue them down with dabs of cream cheese, other times I just leave them loose so that they'll rattle. And when I tell him "Okay!" he's allowed to do whatever it takes to get that kibble out. I've found that he doesn't usually try to destroy the carton, just open it. Of course, it's taken less and less time as he's learned how to open egg cartons (usually applying pressure with one paw at one end, while sticking his nose in the crack at the other end), but he still has a blast working on that thing. Sometimes after he gets it open, I'll let him take a few pieces and then close it back up for him to continue playing with. I've done this with other sorts of empty food containers (i.e. the plastic box that my spinach comes in), too.

What are some things that YOU do to occupy your pups?

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Great thread - I keep my two in the house and go and bury treats in their sandpit outside - I then tell them to 'go and find it'. They know what that means and will make a bee line for the sandpit. It is quite a large and deep one, so it takes a while for them to find it all :) We also throw five or six tennis balls into the pool - they love chasing them around the pool - good exercise as well.

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muffin tin an tennis balls for me tomoz lol. i'll let you know what they do xxxx

You should film it! When We get chance I'm going to try it with Aleu XD.

Stacey xxx

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I play lots of games with my dogs. I agree totally that mental stimulation is just as important, if not more important, than physical exercise.

Teaching a dog to pick things up on command is really useful and can be used in lots of different exercises/games.

I taught my beagle a few scent games, mostly just for fun as I don't think we'll ever compete at that high a level of obedience. Here she is using her nose to find the object I touched (in a pile of objects that look exactly the same)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joVEZVF14-s

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Awsome thread +1

Brilliant ideas :)

My 3 like to play hide and seek but instead of me going to hide I will go and hide a toy and tell them to "go find". When they find it and bring it to me I give them a reward (either a food treat or play with the toy, depends who it is)

Another game I play with them is what I call "the duck on a string" game. Basically a duck on a string attatched to a piece of strong bamboo. Then I will keep hold of the bamboo and throw the duck around in all differnt directions for the boys to chase and try to catch. Bandit goes mad for it, one of his fave games!

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some great ideas here need a duck and a coffee can lid :lol:

I recommend 3-5 coffee can lids, if your pup is as terrible at fetch as Max is. He'll chase a few times, but then need a new toy in order to stay interested. I rotate them. And they get chewed up pretty quick, even though I don't let him chew on them.

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ok i got the muffin tin an tennis balls, tried it with Odin lol, at first he just sniffed it then wanted to play with the balls, he did figger it out in the end. Later i'll do it with Loki an Thor. i am videoing them so will post up once all 3 have done it xxxxxx

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I hide little treats in small boxes and seal them, then i put those boxes into bigger boxes with more treats in, and then those boxes into even bigger boxes, etc. They both love ripping the boxes up to get the treats (see video).

I also have 3 Nina Ottosson games that Mya is very good at solving.

kzciSKZY878

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Great thread, I love it!

I gave my guy a try at the tennis ball game, he loooooves tennis balls, haha.

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I hate the sound my room mate's camera makes when it's trying to focus ._. I did have my own camera until Kira bumped into it with his nose.

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Thanks for all the videos and game descriptions, everyone! I am loving them. Will definitely have to try some of these out with my pups.

I tried to play hide and seek with both of my dogs this weekend, but little Kaya is just a little young to understand. She didn't hold a stay very well, and she kept giving away my hiding spot to Max! Kind of disappointed, but we'll get there. It does take practice, and I have no doubt that once she's a little older, she'll be able to pick the game up even quicker than Max did, since she's got someone to model it for her.

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I hide little treats in small boxes and seal them, then i put those boxes into bigger boxes with more treats in, and then those boxes into even bigger boxes, etc. They both love ripping the boxes up to get the treats (see video).

I also have 3 Nina Ottosson games that Mya is very good at solving.[quote

too funny- however- I think I don't want to teach my dogs to tear up cardboard boxes.

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Awsome thread. I to have a cuddly toy on which i hide around the house. Willow is brill at finding it but Akia just likes following Willow around wondering what she is doing. One day I hope Akia will catch on.....lol. I think I will try Akia on the tennis ball game as she will do anything for food....lol. Will vid her and see how she does. I can motavate Willow into doing anything but Akia seems to lad back so we will see.....lol

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I must be totally blind but I read the whold thread and cant find anything about this tennis ball game!!! :blink: Did I miss something??:huh:

Storm loves to play fetch, I guess he's one of those abnormal Huskies!!!! :lol: And I never taught him, he just sorta taught himself to do it!:P

He also loves to play tug, but he's getting so strong he almost pulls me off the chair! :blink:

He also likes a bit of tumbling on the floor with my 9 yr old son. He's very careful and knows not to go too far (before anyone starts saying I put my kid in danger!!!) :o Plus I am always in the room.

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