happy furbuddy

Brain Games For Dogs-Fun Activities

It goes without saying dogs are intelligent creatures. They thrive on mental stimulation. Brain games are important as keeping their brain active is just as important as physical activity. There are numerous ways to provide mental stimulation for your dog that you can both enjoy. Dogs love learning and practicing new tricks, they love to please their owners and love to receive praise and rewards. Depending on the personality of your dog will determine which activity or toy is suitable. Even the laziest dog will respond positively to mental stimulation. Some dogs need more stimulation than others, there are particular breeds that no amount of physical activity will tire them out, so providing mental stimulation can prevent destructive behaviours.

There are a variety of dog toys and puzzles available, ranging from budget to ridiculously expensive. There is also plenty of brain training games that cost nothing if you use a little imagination.

Brain training

Genius Dog 300 x 250 - Animated

Whether your dog is being house-trained or learning a complex trick they will love the attention. Learning basic skills such as sit, stay or lie down are stimulating to our dogs. Keeping our furbuddies mentally stimulated is an important responsibility as a dog owner. A bored dog can be a depressed dog, a destructive dog, and an unhappy dog. Simple things like daily walks or playing fetch are enough to provide our pooch with love and security. Being outdoors is in itself mentally stimulating for our dogs. All the different scents and noises are beneficial in keeping their brains active. Seeing other dogs, trees, water and people are all factors that can excite and stimulate our dog’s brain. All their senses are active and are therefore providing stimulation. Organizing a doggy play date is another great way to stimulate. Having the opportunity to interact and socialize with other dogs regularly is beneficial to our pooches.

Simple ways to brain train

  1. Basic obedience training
  2. Changing walking route
  3. Teaching new tricks
  4. Toy treat dispenser

Teaching your dog new tricks regularly is a great way to get their brain active. Dogs respond positively to attention from their owners and enjoy the repetitive activity. They respond to human behaviours and recognize the tone of our voice when giving praise.


DIY dog puzzles

There are many ways we can make our own games for free to stimulate our pups. Simple games like fetch or go find is enough to get that tail wagging with excitement. As dogs have amazing noses and love a good sniff, hiding treats is a free and simple way to get their brains active. A tennis ball with a treat inside is a simple way to entertain. A good DIY game to get their brain busy is putting a couple of treats in a muffin tin then filling the holes with balls. A win-win situation, treats and balls to play with.

Cardboard egg boxes can be great boredom busters, drop a couple of treats in, close it, and let your dog find his own way to get the treats out.


Great for dogs that love to destroy!

Only use cardboard boxes for your dogs safety

Using household items is a great way to entertain without any cost

  1. A plastic bottle secured inside a sock can provide fun for those dogs that love a bit of noise.
  2. Treats frozen in ice cubes
  3. A cereal box taped shut with treats inside
  4. Hide n seek with favourite toy

Home alone puzzles

There are times our dog is home alone, providing mental stimulation when we are not around can prevent boredom. Ensuring the puzzle is strong enough not to break and cause harm to our pooch is key. Snuffle mats are great to stimulate foraging skills.


These mats are designed to stimulate your dog by using their strongest sense, their nose. Sniffing out a treat is a satisfying activity for your pooch. Some experts pointed out that using a dog snuffle mat for 10 minutes is equivalent to one hour of exercise. Treat dispensing balls and puzzles are also beneficial to our dogs mental and physical well-being. Learning how to retrieve the treats can be an enjoyable and stimulating game. There are many toys available that are advertised as indestructible, always initially supervise play to ensure your dog cannot destruct the toy and cause them harm.


Brain game from afar


Playing games with your dog, whether DIY or shop bought is quality time spent with your dog. A great way to bond and understand their likes and dislikes. Not all dogs like the same activities. Take time to get to know your dog and what their preferred activities are. Dogs love attention and interaction with their owners, without this they may engage in unwanted behaviours. The best way to bond and mentally stimulate your dog is to ensure at least 30 to 60 minutes play every day. Whether it’s a short or long walk or playing his favourite games, any activity that provides interaction will benefit you and your dog.

A happy healthy dog

Fair to say any time spent with your dog will keep him happy and stimulated. Dogs are sociable creatures and benefit from interaction with humans and other dogs. Just as we humans get to understand our dog’s behaviours and preferences they also understand ours. Our dogs can recognize our tone when scolding or giving praise. They know when we are responding positively to them which in turn leads to them responding positively to us. Dogs truly are amazing creatures, with amazing senses and the ability to learn. They are invaluable as service dogs and can be taught to assist the human race in numerous capacities.



Interesting information regarding dogs behaviour.


Hope you enjoyed this article, feel free to share any brain games your furbuddy enjoys.

22 thoughts on “Brain Games For Dogs-Fun Activities”

  1. I really like the snuffle mats you showcased on your website. That’s a great idea to keep a dog busy and keep his brain stimulated.

    I loved that my dog knew my emotions and I knew his as well. He always made me smile and his presence was indispensable to me during my teenage years. He lived until I graduated from college.

    My dogs name was Bo. He lived to be 15 years old. That’s a nice long life for a big dog like my dog, Bo

    Great article. It reminded me of the time when Bo was around and we did the same things you mentioned in your article.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Last year we had the opportunity to take in a youthful Pomeranian named Timmy. While not a pup this little guy has been full of endless energy. Very curious he likes to get under things to hunt or just look around. While in bed a special game he likes to play with me is to “hunt the hand” under the blankets which it seems he never tires of. I hadn’t thought of using egg cartons before, what a wonderful idea. Mr Hand thanks you…..

  3. What I like about this is that we(more so myself) is I’ve been doing most of what you mention but didn’t really know I was helping my furbuddies brain. Knowing that makes me feel glad and know that my four-legged child’s brain is in good condition. Thanks

  4. Nice tips. I am planning to get a family dog in the near future so it nice to know what to do with it once I have it – I definitely will need the home alone mat.

  5. That dog’s mats are amazing. Many of my friends have dogs and they love them much. I think I know now, what gift to buy them next time. Great games ideas, when I’m reading that, I already feel super empathetic with happy looking for their treats. Thanks for very useful post!

  6. I adored this article! I had no idea that mental stimulation could prevent destructive behaviours- I’m very lucky with my dog, she’s good as gold, but now I know what to do when I come home and she’s been playing with my jumper 😂 I need to give her something more interesting to do! I think when I go out, I need to leave something for my dog to play with (the main reason I haven’t before is because I worry about the safety aspect.) Those snuffle mats are a genius idea! Do you have any suggestions particularly aimed at older dogs? My dogs teeth aren’t amazing so anything that doesn’t involve huge amounts of chewing would be so much appreciated. Thanks for such a great read, I’ve bookmarked this for future reference. I also really like what you said about a walk being mentally stimulating for them, I feel like I better understand my dog now, thank you 🙂

    • Hi Natalie, so pleased you enjoyed the article and you and your dog will benefit from it. I would suggest a lick mat for your dog, there is a variety of these around. Spread some favourite food… maybe peanut butter on it. Getting her tongue into all the grooves should be an enjoyable and safe boredom buster.
      Hope to hear how it goes.

  7. I honestly had no idea that dogs required such brain simulation – but it totally makes sense! I love all your creative ideas to keep them entertained. Definitely going to try some of them out.

  8. Lots of useful information Michelle. Like the idea of the egg carton. Dougal will have it ripped to shreds in seconds but will enjoy getting to the treats😁

    Going to check out the snuffle mats. I’ve never come across them before.


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