Not only is playing games with your German Shepherd fun for them, it also helps to entice their mind while giving them a workout.
Mind enhancing activities are a great way to improve your German Shepherd’s independent thinking while tapping into their primal instincts.
There are multiple ways in which you can entertain your German Shepherd, including many games.
As German Shepherds are known as one of the most intelligent dogs, playing games with them will help stimulate them even more.
Interested in finding more about how to enhance your German Shepherd’s mind?
Read more to find out our list of mind-enhancing activities you can do with your dog today!
Importance of Mind Enhancing Activities for German Shepherds
German Shepherds have physical and mental capabilities that need to constantly be stimulated.
Having activities that help this process is important for German Shepherds to keep them mentally fit.
Not only does it help them mentally, but there are also many other benefits from letting them engage in mind-enhancing activities.
This includes encouraging good behavior and having a better dog/owner relationship.
While physical exercises, such as walks, can also stimulate and strengthen their body, mental exercises will stimulate their brain instead.
This will help them improve their abilities and capacity to think.
If you are bored with constantly playing the same games with your German Shepherd, here are a few mental exercises that you could try with them.
1. Treasure Hunt
Have your German Shepherd sit while you hide toys and treats for them to find.
This game helps to utilize your dog’s senses as it stimulates his nose and brain.
Before playing, encourage your dog to find the food and toys by showing them dropping some pieces of treats in front of them before hiding the rest.
As German Shepherds have a keen sense of smell, they can learn to track things easily.
This allows them to catch on quickly during this hunt.
2. Cup Game
If you want to train your dog’s brainpower, try playing the cup game with them.
All you need are 2 cups and a treat.
- Get two cups and put a treat under one of them while showing your dog where the treat is.
- Once the treat is covered, let them guess which cup the treat is under. To help them understand how to play this game, give them a treat whenever they point to a cup. Give them a treat even if they point to the wrong cup.
- Once they understand, stop giving them treats when they pick the wrong cup. While this may take your German Shepherd some time to understand, you should continue practicing and encouraging him to pick a cup.
- When they realize the difference between the cups, you can make this game harder by moving the cups around and getting them to guess where the treat is.
- To make this harder, you can even add more cups.
Do note that this game takes patience for your dog to master, so continue to encourage him even if he gets it wrong.
3. Mind Enhancing Toys
Another game that takes less effort is mind-enhancing toys.
There are multiple toys out there for your German Shepherd to engage with.
One of which is a Ball IQ Toy.
This toy is essentially a ball that allows you to insert their treats.
Fill up the ball with treats and adjust the level of difficulty in the ball.
With this, let your German Shepherd have a go at this ball, playing with it to get the treats out.
Another game is a puzzle that helps them improve their mind and agile paws.
This toy, Puzzle Pleaser, is inexpensive and provides a range of levels for you to choose from.
All you have to do is to fill up this toy with their favorite treats and watch as they figure out how to retrieve them.
For this game, you may have to show your dog how to play it a few times, encouraging them to search beneath the surface to find the snacks.
4. Agility Training
Having your German Shepherd go through an agility course is not only mentally challenging, but it also helps to encourage discipline.
Find an agility course at your nearest dog park, or you can even make your own.
Use obstacles such as tunnels, seesaws, and tires to engage their minds.
Teach them how to jump, crawl and weave to get to the finish line.
If you don’t have space outside or a backyard, you can even create an indoor obstacle course!
Find household items such as towels, chairs, and toys and set up an obstacle course for your German Shepherd to complete.
5. Muffin Tin Game
For this game, you will need a muffin tin, tennis balls, and treats.
When choosing a muffin tin, make sure your tennis balls are able to sit on top of each hole.
- Put a treat in each hold and put a ball on top to hide it.
- Once you have set the tin up, place it in front of your German Shepherd and get them to explore it.
- Teach your dog how to remove the balls and retrieve the treats.
- If they are unable to remove the balls, you can also use something smaller. This will help them understand the game better.
This game can also get your German Shepherd engaged for hours!
Your German Shepherd may find some games more difficult than others, or more fun than others — but that doesn’t mean that they are less intelligent.
German Shepherds love trying and learning new things, so keep finding fun new ways to interact and engage with them.
Remember that when teaching them new games, you will have to interact with them and show them how to play!
Keeping your interactions fun and positive will make your German Shepherd happier and healthier too!