Brain games for dogs: the golden rules

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Written by Laure-Anne Visele, dog behaviourist, on 12 May 2020

Brain games for dogs are all the rage – and rightly so! If you use them well, you can transform your dog from hyperactive devil to the calmest dog. The idea is that brain games make dogs happily tired.  

So, how do you use brain games responsibly? 

  1. Don’t pressure the dog. Let them dog explore the object at his own tempo. 
  2. If the dog really doesn’t get it, help before he gives up. 
  3. Don’t just leave the brain game with the dog without supervision. Always closely supervise its use. 
  4. Don’t let the dog get frustrated. Help way before that point. 
  5. If the dog gets over-excited, use more boring treats. 
  6. Use them to work on impulse control:
    1. The dog barges onto the brain game before you’ve given permission? Bring the brain game out of reach.
    2. The dog politely asks for permission by sitting down, unasked? Then give permission and let him enjoy it.  
  7. Wait until the dog is no longer busy with it before you take it away to re-fill it.  
  8. You can use a brain game to give your dog part of his daily kibble.  
  9. If you have several, you can rotate them so that the dog gets to regularly re-discover them. They can cost an arm and a leg so this way, they stay challenging for longer. 
  10. You can use them during veterinary or grooming procedures that are a little challenging for your dog. Do use something that takes time to be licked off it, then.  

Enjoy your gaming! 

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