Mental Stimulation

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Shemeen's picture
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Joined: 2011-07-10

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I have seen in alot of books and websites Dobermans need daily mental stimulation.  I talk to Apollo all the time,we practice sit, come,and we have been trying to learn stay.  He plays with the older dogs for at least 3 hrs. a day.  My question is, is this enough?  What else should I do to mentally stimulate Apollo?  I don't take him out yet because he's not done with his shots, so I need suggestions we can do at home.  Thank you

DJ's Dad's picture
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Play hide and seek with him outside. I sometimes let Ziva walk in front of me, and then I duck behind a tree or the corner of the house just to see how long it takes for her to notice that I'm gone.  Usually within 10 seconds she's coming to find me.  Play "find it" with him inside or outside, by hiding one of his favorite toys in an easy to spot place at first, give him all sorts of "GOOD BOY"s when he finds it, then hide it in a different place and tell him "find it".  There are lots of mental stimulus games to play that keeps them busy and challenges their intelligence. Kong toys stuffed with treats are a great way to stimulate your dobie to figure out how to get them out.  Dobies are very smart and most love to play head games!

sweetpea's picture
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It sounds like you're off to a good start!  How old is he now?  You'll be able to tell right away if he's not getting enough stimulation.  He'll get whiney and start to destroy things lol.  Too much stimulation and he'll just become a sleepy boy...as long as you are somewhere in between you're doing fine. 

"Stay" is a good one to work on because you can increase the amount of time as you go.  Another good one for in the house is "find it."  I like to use small treats or pieces of a hot dog to start; or something else that has a strong scent.  Let Apollo sniff the treat in your hand while your hand is closed around it; then hide it behind your back and say "find it."  When he sniffs around to your hand he gets the treat.  From there move to hiding it in easy places, like under a plastic cup or behind a corner.   As he gets better, gradually make the treat harder to find,and try switching to other items like a dirty sock, anything that's "smelly."  It's a great way to get him to develop his sense of smell, and mentally it's good stimulation, teaching him to associate a command with scent recognition. 

Keep all your learning games short and sweet at first.  Training should be fun first and formost, in order for it to be most effective.  As soon as it becomes tiresome or "work" for him it's not nearly as effective.  Try to always end on a positive note also, before he gets to that tired stage.  That way he looks forward to training sessions and games, and is always eager to go!

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

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Oh dear.. Sofia really IS a Diva you know..

Find it?

" Find it yourself"

Fetch?

"That's why I have people"

She even asked me to pass her one of her favorite toys.. see below:

 

 

" I can't reeeeach....Please pass the hedgehog..."

Sir-Phin's picture
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Phin loves to play "find it" and he's really good at it too.  I try to play hide and seek with him too but his velcro is too sticky and it's hard to hide from someone that's barely 2 feet away from you.

Sofia is so adorable, I love that she asked you to pass her toy to her, such a sweet diva!

We bought Phin the Kong Wobbler from Petsmart, I put treats that are barely able to fall out of the opening along with smaller ones so that as much as he has to work to get the bigger treats to fall out, he doesn't get frustrated by not getting anything out of it when the little ones fall out occassionally.  He loves it and it keeps him occupied for about 30 minutes depending on what I put inside.

KevinK's picture
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Like said above, play some games that get the dog thinking, give a job to do, stuff like that.  A "job" can be as simple as helping you carry something around, moving something, etc.  One of our favorite things to do is to clean up the yard together.  I'll tell Dakota "go get that stick" or "go get those branches" or whatever, and then I will direct her what to do with it. 

I trained Dakota for scent detection, and it's one of her favorite things to do.  Gets her thinking, working on her senses, and running around.  It tires her out, and is a great way to have fun, and get her thinking.

Like said above, they also make toys that require the dog to do something to get a treat or toy.  Those are good.

Shemeen's picture
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Joined: 2011-07-10

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Apollo is 10 weeks and 3 days today.

Thank you for the responses.  I will try your suggestions and let you know how we did.  I want a yard cleaning dog, all my dogs do is destroy the yard!Dakota is so smart.   I will definitely try the sent detection, that seems fun and useful.

@ Lady Kate, Sophia is my kind of girl, Go diva!