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Work out your dog's brain

Work Out your Dog's Brain

Guest article, written by The Canine Center for Training and Behavior

Does your dog need a job? 

Dogs that are domesticated to be working companions spend their day carrying out many complex tasks like detecting scents, herding animals, hunting and retrieving.  What does your dog do with the drive he was born with?

Some dogs are built to be thinkers, some for endurance, and some to sit on your lap.

If your dog is built for work, use both his brain and his body for a greater good.  Daily walks or even runs are a nice start, but do little to work the mind.  Treadmills are designed to increase endurance and fitness, but do nothing for the busy brain.  Most of us don't want our dog to have more endurance. We can't out-run them but we can out-think them!

Consider finding a sport or activity that you both enjoy.  After all, most breeds were designed to work WITH people in a cooperative relationship.  Sound good?

Some fun activities you could try are:

  • Puzzles
  • Agility
  • Rally Obedience
  • Scent Sports:
    •  Air Scenting
    •  Tracking
    •  Nose Work
  • Herding
  • Treiball (ball herding, think soccer)
  • Sporting Dog/Retriever Work (even if you don't hunt, your dog can work with dummies)
  • Dog Powered Sports:
    •  Canicross (running towed by dog)
    •  Bikejoring (biking towed by dog)
    •  Skijoring (cross-country skiing towed by dog)
  • Hiking and Pack Dog Work
  • And one of the most rewarding jobs your dog can do:
    • Therapy Work: Help others by sharing your dog's love and comfort in many different ways.  Everyone in a Therapy Dog team wins:  Handler, Dog and most of all, your neighbor in need.

Copyright 2011-2012 The Canine Center for Training & Behavior (Shari Elkins CPDT-KA)

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