Our dogs need toys, but what about make them play in a smart way? Today, all sorts of smart toys for dogs exist, that are also called “cognitive toys”. You will find some on the market, but you can also create some yourselves.
A smart game is an activity that will require the dog’s reflexion. It is not only a plastic toy to chew or something you’re going to throw him so he can bring it back. Smart games for dogs have been conceived on a simple fact, which is that dogs need to split their days into different activities: food, social, fun, locomotor, and also intellectual! Cognitive games respond to this need to stimulate your dog’s intelligence. Simple but wise, you can find them on the market in specialized shops, or you can build them yourself!
Why it benefits your dog
The fact that your dog will have to think to access the reward will stimulate his/her reflexion: this is really beneficial for your animal. Plus, these smart games are often more tiring than a pure physical activity. Smart dog games will awaken cognitive capacities of a puppy, stimulate a senior dog, or just entertain your animal.
What toys should you choose?
You can begin with building your own smart game. A very simple idea: put a little amount of knibbles in a shirt or a piece of fabrics and tie a knot in it. Your dog will have to undo the knot to find the knibbles, THE reward! You can also make few holes in a plastic bottles filled with knibbles. Your animal will have to roll the bottle on the ground to free the knibbles.
There are also many smart toys that you can find on the market such as innovating bowls, smart/ludic food dispensers, toys designed specifically to get your dog busy when you’re not home, or hiding board games. Start with easy games and increase the difficulty gradually. Smart toys by Nina Ottosson for example offer dogs and owners ludical, cognitive and eco-friendly toys.
To stimulate your dog, don’t hesitate to use things he likes. Of course, you will have to reduce their portion of food accordingly. What we can tell you for sure, is the cognitive capacities of your dog will surprise you!
Of course, it is important to stay by your dog’ side during playtimes to prevent him from being injured or from swallowing something he shouldn’t.