A Basic “Magic” Trick
This “brain game” has your dog use his eyes and nose to find the hidden treat. Get 2 or more plastic or paper cups, place them upside down on the floor, and show your dog that you’re hiding a treat under one of them. Then, encourage your dog to tip the cup over with his nose or paw to get the snack. Up the difficulty by hiding a treat and then scooting all of the cups around on the floor, mixing them up. You can also make it even more difficult by adding more cups.
Hide and Seek
This game isn’t just for kids! For the first game, hide behind something where you’re very visible, like a chair, with your dog watching. Then, call him and, when he “finds” you, give him a treat. If you have another person available, you can have the other hide while you hold or distract your dog. Next, give your dog the command “Find!” before the other person calls him. You can up the difficulty by only giving your dog the command to find a person with no further hints and by hiding behind larger objects.
Frozen Food/Toy Fun
Dogs love to exercise their brains by working to get something, and freezing toys or food does just that. Get a cup or bowl (ice cube trays work also), fill it with water, and put treats (dog kibble works great!) and/or toys into it. Once it’s frozen solid, pop it out by running some warm water on the bottom of the cup or bowl. Give it to your dog outdoors for him to lick and gnaw at to get at the treats and toys. This can keep your dog busy for a long time and is a great way to cool off as the days get hotter!
Teach New Tricks
Of course, a great way of exercising your dog’s brain is to teach him new tricks. Visit the Tricks Page to learn more!