A Dog’s Brain
Did you know that mental stimulation is just as important to your dog as physical stimulation is? The key to making sure your dog is happy is giving them a good balance of mental and physical stimulation.
A bored dog is more likely to get into trouble and be destructive or disruptive. However, a mentally stimulated dog is calm, secure, and happy! Mental stimulation can come from short training sessions, food puzzles, or games. Over the next blog posts, we’ll share some training exercises and activities that will work your dog’s brain and build your bond with them!
A PUPPY’S BRAIN IS ALWAYS WORKING
Did you know that 80% of a puppy’s brain cell connections are made in the first four months of its life? That means that every experience causes neural development. Neural development helps with brain development and impacts a puppy’s ability to learn.
It’s important to challenge your puppy’s brain with mental tasks to improve total brain function, efficiency, and nerve conductivity. These will have a lasting effect on your puppy. Behaviours need to be taught and reinforced every day so that brain synapses do not decrease over time.
REPETITION, REINFORCEMENT, & REWARD
When working with your dog, remember all dogs have different strengths. Training takes time and patience. The best way to teach your dog is to reward the behaviours you like and ignore the ones you don’t.
Dogs will repeat behaviours that result in a positive outcome. Neutral or undesirable outcomes will stop the behaviour they are offering. Repetition and consistency is crucial when training! If your dog does something right, praise them! Give them a praise party (without getting them too excited)!
Dogs don’t generalize well! Practice working in different environments – being able to “sit” on command at home versus in a park is very different for your dog. There are different sights and smells and other distractions. Remember to work at your dog’s pace and reinforce good behaviour!