Born Free Master Elements: Part 2 Stimulate Your Dog’s Mind

Born Free’s Master Elements training series is back in session. If you didn’t catch the first part of this series, brush up here.  In this part of the series, we are focusing on more advanced skills.

Toys are a big part of our dog’s lives, so using them as training tools ties in to their natural instincts. Wolves – the ancient ancestors of all domesticated dogs – play with objects or  “toys” that they find in nature, ex. sticks or bones. Let’s take a look at three toy-oriented skills to work on with your dog!


Identifying Toys by Name

In our first Born Free Master Element, we introduced how to introduce your dog to new toys. The next step is to teach your dog how to identify and fetch toys by name.

To help your dog master this skill, break it down into these easy steps:

  1. Have your dog target an object — probably start with a ball.
  2. Add one or two more toys calling them by its assigned name as you draw your dog’s attention toward them.
  3. Have your dog target one of the newly named objects.
  4. Continue adding more objects to target over time.


Learning Find it

The next time your dog deserves a treat—have them sit (“stay”) and watch as you hide the treat. Then say, “Find it.” If your dog has trouble finding the treat, encourage and hint. As they get better at the game, have them wait in another room while you hide the treat. Eventually, you should be able to play the game with non-food items like toys.


Playing the Shell Game

You’ve probably seen this classic game performed by street magicians. It turns out dogs love it too! It’s a great way to stimulate your dog’s mind and all you need are three small, identical buckets or empty coffee cans — and treats. If you need some ideas on how to make a dog-friendly shell game, check out this article from AnimalHub.

We hope you and your dog will enjoy these fun and interactive games. We encourage you to tune in for part three of Born Free Master Elements, coming up in a few weeks.

Class dismissed.