Brain Work For Dogs

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Ina, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Ina Well-Known Member

    Dunno in which forum to post this ??? It's not general training, it's not trick training and it's not just chitter chatter. I did a search for "brain work" but nothing came up either.

    I somewhere read that training your dog for 5 minutes wears them the same as going for a walk for 20 minutes - brain exercise versus physical exercise.

    Because they predicted rain for the next week I need to wear my 6-mnths puppy out differently. Normally we go for lots and lots of walks. But since we both hate rain we won't be doing much walking :(

    So I thought of including some "scent work" into our schedule. One suggestion I read somewhere is you feed your dogs breakfast by placing little bits of food every step you take .. after 10 steps he will find the bowl with the rest of the food.
    Gradually you increase the distance. Next dinner he will find bits of food only every second step, then every third step. After a couple of days the dog is supposed to be able to track your footsteps.
    Has anyone tried this?

    Second idea was that you have 3 containers with little holes in the lid. You place a treat in only one of the containers and the dog has to sniff the right cup in order to get the treat. You then put another treat in one container and swap them around. Sounds like a fun game.
    Again, has anyone tried this?

    I need more ideas please. Any suggestions for brainy games for dogs?

    Cheerio ... Ina
    Jean, Dodge and tigerlily46514 like this.

  2. Appy Member

    Fab ideas :)

    Training definitely wears their brains out - mine can be quite hyper and a bit of training (as long as its something where the dog has to think) calms them down.

    Have you ever tried freeshaping a behaviour? You could freeshape him to interact with an object, eg paw a cone, walk around it etc. The tiny steps where he has to work out what you want definitely get the old brain working!! Start easy though, such as targeting and you can do all sorts from there.

    Mine love when I ask them to wait, walk off and then call them to me - they get SOOOOOO excited. They also love playing with the 'whipp-it' which is essentially a fluffy toy on the end of a small lunge whip - you use it to teach impulsion control, use it to reinforce sits, downs etc and its great fun!

    Lots of little sessions is generally best when they are young and not used to this type of training.

    Then of course, trick training will use his brain!! Ooh there's so much you can do :)
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  3. sara Moderator

    I use trick training to tire out Oliver when it's too cold to walk him... Freeshaping is EXTREMELY useful with Ollie... but I've recently discovered a great new way to tire him out without setting foot outside... training him to keep his front feet on a giant ball!!! It's AWESOME!!! it requires strength to keep the balance on the ball, and he's exhausted after a 10 min session! he's also been learning the Elephant Trick on the ball as well... I have one tuckered out boy!

    Mouse is also doing this, and is completely pooped after a session!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  4. Appy Member

    Oooh fab idea Sara - I can see the big red ball is going to come out! Did you freeshape it or use a paw target? Similarly what approach did you take to asking him to stand on it - did you place it so that it was on a level with a higher surface and he could walk onto it with free choice or did you do something else?

    Thanks so much for this idea :)
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  5. Ina Well-Known Member

    I saw it on your video - it looks like a lot of fun.

    Freeshaping is so hard for ME because I have to laugh all the time when Smokey brings out his whole repertoire of tricks to see what I want him to do. He then starts frantically looking around the room to find something he can put his paw on. The other day he decided that I probably want him to paw the full rubbish bin that is standing under my desk. Before I could stop him he had tipped the bin over :D Good for him that his human has a sense of humour!

    Actually we will also put a compilation of learnt tricks together this week. It will be so much fun to look at it again in a couple of months time.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  6. sara Moderator

    Well, Oliver already knows the "paws up" command. for him, it meant to put his front paws up on any object I point to. So I held the ball a few times, so it didn't move then just started asking for "paws up" while the ball was rolling around... it was really funny at first! He was falling everywhere. he learned to manipulate the ball to keep it under him, but he has to constantly adjust... he hasn't quite figured out how to hold it steady... but he'll get there!

    I'd imagine it's quite the ab workout!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  7. Ina Well-Known Member

    Smokey is still a bit too young for any tricks that involve height I think. He is pretty clumsy sometimes (eg "in the box" will make him fall over because he is excited because he understands what I mean.)
    On free shaping he tries his paws and his nose to see which one will earn him a click - if that doesn't give him a click he tries barking at the object - by that time I have to laugh so hard that we usually end up rolling on the floor in our favourite wrestling game.
    I just LOVE working with this puppy. He is so cute.
    Oliver looks like he has a LOT of doggy tricks up his sleeve. Don't want to know what kind of mischief he comes up with when he is bored! :)
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  8. sara Moderator

    Oh GOD you have no IDEA!

    You should see what he did to his crate bed last week! Oliver has eaten many, MANY objects... some have even been destroyed with me right next to him! He NEEDS to be kept busy, otherwise, in true Terrier fashion, he EATS THINGS! LOL The reason he's back to being crated, he has learned to open the drawer in my bed side table... there's LOTS of interesting things to eat in there! UGGH what a mess! think ink pen on bed spread, physical therapy putty stuck in the carpet, and Aveeno hand creme on my pillow...

    Free Shaping is a blast... Oliver throughly enjoys trying to figure out what I want, and he comes up with some really fun stuff! (like his backwards crawl and saying Momma!)
  9. reveuse Well-Known Member

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh that will SO work with Ro (well at least the paws up portion of it... ) *makes plans to get a ball tomorrow!* - elephant here we come! Course now that i've said that it probably is going to go all kinds of wrong ROFL

    --- Are terriers really notorious for chewing type destruction? I didn't know that.... If so that is one trait that thankfully skipped Ro - the only things he EATS are nylabones, any food/treat that is offered to him and the occasional man. even as a puppy he didn't destroy a single item of mine. (Unlike Miss Whisper who ate all the gems off my brand new shoes the second week I had her *sigh*)...... He is intensely stubborn tho! :rolleyes:
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  10. sara Moderator

    Terriers are definately chewers, and diggers, and stubborn, but Ollie didn't get the stubborn gene, thank goodness! Ollie is the most willing dog I know (must be the Lab in him! LOL) Terriers are also very, very smart, and bred to work independently of their handler, so their stubborness and intelligence stems from that.

    The elephant trick is soooo much fun with a ball! I thoroughly enjoy that, nevermind my dog! LOL
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  11. Dodge Well-Known Member

    :DDodge hates the rain and can look like a mental patient when out in it when gushes it down :eek::rolleyes:bless him,he normally sleeps through it on his sofa (yep,he s got his own sofa :censored:|) and will only give me a wink with one eye if he knows he s being watched,so funny,lazy bum!!
    Brain games are fab,we ve got a turtle toy (with 3 "eggs",which are squeeky balls!) but he just lurve lurve lurves having treats in them . . . I tell him to sit and wait and go off and hide it somewhere upstairs,I come down and "release" him with a clap and "GO FIND" after round about ten goes he retires to his sofa,utterly pooped :oops:LOL defo a mental workout ))CLAPCLAP((:D
    Appy and Ina like this.
  12. Pei Pei Active Member

    Is free shaping the same as 'shaping' behavior?
  13. Ina Well-Known Member

    We still have a looooong way to go with sniffing games. Instead of looking for hidden treats Smokey rather follows me around the house :LOL:
    I laid a track for him to find the treats. It's okay if they are one step apart, but when the distance between treat get's bigger he just comes back to mum. With lots of coaxing I get him to find the next treat. Unless I POINT to the treat he just happily wags his tail and lets me do the searching
    (and probably thinks "I trained my human well. If I sit next to her and wag my tail she starts finding treats and all I have to do is gobble it all up - my human gets very excited playing this game saying Come, sniff here, here , HERE")
    abby_someone and Dodge like this.
  14. Appy Member

    Dodge - great idea on the find it game. How did you teach him to find it initially, in sight and then further away?
  15. Dodge Well-Known Member

    I started with him having the turtle with a treat in it and let him figure out how to get the treat out of it(its a small whole and with him not having a very long nose being a boxer,took him a while,giggle)
    Once he got that I started with just putting the turtle behind a door with him watching me where I ve put it.
    Then in the next room and so on,he has a pretty good "stay" (thats as long as there s not another dog/horse/cows/basically anything with a pulse:LOL:) so told him to stay and wait,so cute,he used to shake with excitement:ROFLMAO:waiting for me to say go find.
    So just increased the distance to upstairs to make it a little harder for him,he luuuurves it :D
    abby_someone likes this.
  16. 7Riddler7 Member

    Gday>> With my dogs i like more of a tracking skill than just particular scent sniff work. So initially began with lemon citrus tea bag out of packet (keep packet :)

    hide without showing dog>> asked my dog to smell packet so knows what is to be found> than command (sniff) first time starts looking for ordered smell.
    I than couple of days repitition moved to different flavour tea bag. apple & cinnamon.

    :: in the beginning treat as find is made (dog may try to eat it offer substitute dog will drop it instantly hopfully :0 worked on later getting dog to pick it up bring out to open and speak..) i still supervise incase they try to eat the find.

    other than that i just than moved on to other solids and than began with food treats. food treats same idea keep a snipit of the packet so they know what they are looking for i guess, dog can eventually look for particular items from sniff/find ________. without a source to show for smell. unless its a new thing.. good luck.

    (how did u go about jump up into my arms?) would like it as a trick but have made it clear jumping uninvited is not allowed> will only stand and lean on ppl if asked.)
  17. 7Riddler7 Member

    More brain work>>

    Has your dog got retrieve down pat? if so when it brings the item back begin introducing places to put it. name them in front of dog when dropping the iem there a few times out loud. Give the name of the new spot a few times. than go nuts. box, basket, bucket... on the table put it on the chair.. or recycle this etc...
  18. 7Riddler7 Member

    if your puppy keeps coming back to you during the routine try turning your back to the dog and ignore for a minute or so> hopefullly will go back to searching, if dog circles you or paws for attention simply hold either side of dog turn to diretion wanted and ease them forward till they go by themselves. hope that helps

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