Games do more than entertain

We’ve all read the articles about the human brain being another muscle that needs to be exercised in order for it to perform at its best. Many people play the latest word game on their smartphones. Some do the Sunday crossword puzzle in the newspaper—more like the digital version these days. Others spend hours trying to solve a sudoku enigma.

The point is that by keeping our brains engaged, we can ward off some of the effects of an aging intellect. But what about our companions? Does the same type of commitment help our Goldendoodles? What benefits do brain games give her?

We want to keep our own brains from becoming sedentary and functioning at less than their best. We should want the same for our Goldendoodle. Here are some ways to help stimulate the mental activity.

They can do it

If you have a Goldendoodle, you know exactly how smart they can be. In fact, the two breeds constituting the hybrid are known to be in the top 10 of most intelligent dog breeds—the Poodle and the Golden Retriever. Both are renowned for their intelligence.

We tend to pamper our companions. This can lead to our Goldendoodles becoming lazy and even bored. You know how a long day at school or work can physically tire you out? The same thing can happen for you dog. She needs the exercise. One thing you may not think of is activity on your daily walks. When she tugs a little at the leash to sniff something, let her. She is exploring and adding new knowledge to her growing arsenal.

What games do we play?

One of the simplest games you can start with is a simple sniffing game: find the treats. There is no special equipment required, and you don’t need a professional or licensed trainer to enjoy this activity with your Goldendoodle. Start when she is a puppy. Let her smell the snack, and then set it out.

By telling her “Find the treat,” you are engaging with her and letting her know the game is on. Give her encouragement and cheer her when she finds it. As time progresses, you can start hiding the snacks in more difficult places. Don’t worry. She’ll sniff them out.

You can also make a variation of the game by asking her to find another member of the house. Dogs are smart. Especially Goldendoodles. Tell your partner to hide and then ask your Goldendoodle to “Find Joe.” She will, or at least have fun in the search.

A variation of find the treat is to hide a snack in one hand and then ask her, “Which hand?” You will see her get excited. Not only do Goldendoodles like snacks, they also love to be engaged and work for your pleasure. As humans, we all value validation. Your Goldendoodle will not be any different.

Mental exercise

There are lots of ways to stimulate your Goldendoodle’s mind. The object is to try them. She will have fun regardless of which exercise you choose. It can be as simple as giving her peanut butter in a Kong toy. Teaching her a new trick also helps stimulate the brain. Whatever you choose, remember, she needs the mental exercise as much as you do.

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