You can teach an old dog new tricks and in so doing, boost your dog’s brainpower. Just like us, dogs that don’t continually use their brains can lose the ability to function at a high level. Studies on the neurology of dogs have shown that one of the best things owners can do for their dogs is provide mental stimulation. No matter the form this takes, such as teaching the dog new tricks or giving the dog puzzle toys, research has shown that mental stimulation will lead to a much happier — and smarter — dog.
Personalized Dog Training Classes
In order to test or bolster the IQ of your pet, training is essential to developing a basis of knowledge and instruction. In fact, dogs that participate in personalized training classes are less likely to develop cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), which normally develops with old age and manifests as forgetfulness and general disorientation. In addition to undergoing training, there are several ways to boost your dog’s brainpower and improve their cognitive function for the long-term.
Improve Your Dog’s Vocabulary
Whenever we think of improving our own IQ, one of the immediate suggestions we hear is to learn a new language. In a similar vein, improving your dog’s use of language is a great way to boost brainpower. Even though we talk to our dogs on a daily basis, we don’t often times teach them what a word means. However, since dogs can’t talk, improving your dog’s vocabulary actually means teaching him/her how to associate words with certain actions.
For example, one command your dog probably knows is “go potty” or “go do your business.” For dogs, these words are immediately associated with going outside and, well, doing their business. Try teaching your dog new commands with new actions, as this will improve their IQ and make them smarter. We’ve all seen those dogs on TV or YouTube who can bring their owner a bag of chips or open the front door. You, too, can expand your dog’s vocabulary to learn new commands like these—much to the surprise of your neighbors and friends!
Get Playful with Brain Games
Another simple and fun way to improve your dog’s IQ is to create some brain games that will make them think. As mentioned before, stimulating their brains in anyway we’ll make them a happier and healthier dog overall. While everyone enjoys playing fetch, and that is great for exercise, the downside is that there is no real thinking involved for your dog.
Fortunately, there are many fun activities that are basically dog-versions of classic children’s games that will exercise both your dog’s body and brain. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Create a backyard treasure hunt with hidden toys or treats
- Play hide-and-go-seek by having one of your friends or family members hide while you distract your dog, then releasing your dog to start looking for the hidden person
- Make cleaning a game! If your dog has mastered the command “drop it”, then you can encourage him/her to pick up all of the toys lying around and “drop” the toys into a bin or box.
- Play red light, green light if your dog knows how to heel!
By improving your dog’s vocabulary and planning some fun brain games to play together, can boost your dog’s brainpower and make them a happier, healthier and smarter pet for years to come.