Took Parker to the vet the other night. Told her about the 2AM awakenings. She says he might not be tired enough. He runs around like a nut in the backyard. She suggested some mental games in the house (at which point I pictured us staring at each other waiting to blink). I'm not sure what she meant and she did not give any suggestions and I knew you folks would have some.
Hide and seek is my girls favorite. Hide a fav toy while they are out of the room and tell them to find it. We also have a carrot hunt, I cut up bits of carrot and hide them all over. They love that one of course. Then I take them through basic obedience, sit, down, stay, up, down, up down etc. I'm sure there are many more ideas out here.
Same as Rushpuppy, Zack loves hide and seek with his toys...but he also loves it when I play and hide on him! We do it in the garden and in the house, it's great fun. We also have a game where I set out 6 or so toys, rub a treat's scent on each one and he has to figure out which toy the treat is under sniffer dog style!
What your vet means is that labs (and many other dogs) are smart dogs - they need not only physical exercise but MENTAL exercise. Stuff like chasing a ball is good PHYSICAL exercise but the dog isn't thinking at all (though you could potentially make fetch more mentally stimulating). This is the issue with stuff like the treadmill (I know you don't do this just pointing it out) and even running with a dog. There is no thinking going on - it's all physical. While this is GOOD it means the dog's brain is still fully charged. They need to stimulate their brain and be challenged mentally regularly as well.
training (a new trick, practicing what they know) is great for the brain. Espeically bringing in new tricks or practicing in new places. Make sure to not always go thru commands in the same order.
"find" is good. You hide something ( you have to start simple).
Feed him using something like a tug a jug or kong wobbler or any number of those toys where they have to work at getting their food.
there are games you can buy like the Nina Ottinson (sp?) line of games. They are abit more expensive though but I quite like them.
Walks in new places make the brain work too - avoid always doing the same thing and staying in the same place - I find this is an issue that can happen with people who have yards - sometimes they just do all the exercise in the yard so the dog never gets to explore a new place and new smells. Heck, even I am guilty of this because I take the same walks daily - because I am a routine person. But when I force myself to go somewhere new I see the difference in the dogs. I am generalizing here not saying you do this.
Last edited by Tanya; 03-03-2012 at 01:19 PM.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
My Lab beat me in chess the 2nd time I played him, how embarrassing! The thing is that when he takes one of my pieces...he literally takes it ........ and starts chewing it.
If it is nice out I play hide and seek with them. I do and hide then I saw Okay and whoever has them on a leash lets them loose. It takes some time but they find me and when they do they get there reward. I also do a lot of tricks. I taught Tank to shut the door. With Bentley I'm working on bring the leash. i just research some things and came up with neat tricks to teach them. If it is nasty outside I hid treats in the laundry room and they have to find them. Since that is where the stairs are to go up-stairs sometimes I also hide the treats on the stairs.
~It doesn't matter how smart the dog is,it matters how smart the owner is.