Cognitively Active Dog: Brain Games

two pugs playing with a ball

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Dogs are intelligent animals, and they love to learn new things. Unfortunately, not all dogs receive the stimulation their minds need to stay active and healthy. 

The good news is that you can introduce brain games for your dog in various ways that will help promote their mental growth and keep them from becoming bored.

Bumpers and Toys

Bumpers and toys are a great way to play with your dog. They keep your dog active and engaged, especially if they have separation anxiety or aggressive tendencies.

For example, if you have a small dog that doesn’t like to play fetch, you can use the bumper as a reward for sitting when you bring their meals over from the kitchen. 

Or, if your big puppy has separation anxiety and is destructive when left alone too long in his own home, putting some bumpers out in different rooms will help him feel more comfortable without destroying everything he sees!


Not every obstacle needs to be a box or cone. It can be anything you can use to teach your dog to go around or jump over. You could use any number of items as obstacles, including:

  • Trash cans
  • Chairs
  • Car tires
  • Beds

Music and Scents

Music stimulates your dog’s brain by encouraging him to engage in active play. The scent of a familiar person, such as you or another family member, can also stimulate your dog’s brain.

To use music to stimulate your dog’s brain:

  • Play music with a beat that matches the rhythm of his paws hitting the floor as he runs around. This encourages him to move faster and more vigorously than when he hears slower music.
  • Place the speakers on either side of your dog so that they’re facing away from each other. This creates an echo effect that makes it easier for him to locate the source of sound (you).

Treats and Games

Treats are a great way to reward your dog for good behavior, but they can also be used in many other ways. 

For example, when you want your dog to do something, you can use treats as a tool to encourage them. This means you are using the treat as a reward for completing the task, not necessarily because they did it right!

For example: If your dog is learning a new trick and having trouble getting it down on their own, then one way of teaching them how to perform this trick is by giving them treats every time they do what was asked of them (even if it isn’t entirely correct). 

In this case, we are using treats as an incentive or encouragement for our dogs until we teach them what exactly we want to be done correctly.

Walks and Routines

Walks are a great way to bond with your dog and help them learn new things. Walks can be a great way to get out of the house and socialize, get exercise, and work on training.

You mustn’t use walks as a punishment if your dog doesn’t listen or acts up during walks. It would help if you only used walks as positive reinforcement for good behavior.

Brain games and dog’s mental growth 

Brain games can help your dog’s mental growth and slow the onset of age-related cognitive decline. Playing brain games with your dog is a great way to help him stay mentally active and engaged in life, which is also important for his emotional health.

Brain games are also suitable for physical health. Playing with your dog—and ensuring he gets plenty of exercises—will help keep him fit and healthy as he ages.


You can also play brain games with your dog as part of their regular routine. These games should be done every day, and they do not require as much mental exertion on the part of your pet. They can help slow the onset of age-related cognitive decline in dogs. 

Aging is inevitable, but you can increase your dog’s quality of life by giving them these low-impact activities—and that just means more joy for you both.