Our innovative training class enhances your dog’s intelligence and helps them make good choices
Did you know that dogs can be taught to read, choose colors and learn the names of their toys? With Brain Games™, you can learn how to teach your dog mind-blowing skills and smart behaviors while gaining deeper insights into how your dog thinks. This 6-week class, for graduates of our Intermediate Training class (or dogs who can demonstrate comparable skills), is both fun and practical, covering behaviors that will enhance your partnership, create stronger communication and build trust.
Brain Games is based on dog cognition, the process of acquiring, processing and choosing how to use information. Choice is essential for the behavioral health of both humans and dogs. The foundation and goal of Brain Games is to give your dog choices and build a deeper understanding of their minds and personalities that will enhance the usefulness of the cues taught in previous courses. Choice is mentally, physically and emotionally fulfilling for your dog and, when we use choice in training, we can develop cues for practical application in everyday life. And the behaviors you can learn to teach your dog will become more reliable because your dog chooses to do them.
In the PetSmart Puppy/Beginner and Intermediate classes, we build a foundation by learning highly useful behaviors like Loose-Leash Walking, Sit, Place and Settle. In Brain Games, our goal is to coach our pet parents to incorporate choice into their training, continuing to build reliability and partnership. This can lead pet parents to success in Advanced, Therapy Dog training, Trick training, canine sports and more.
Dogs can learn to choose when they are given options. They have the capability to grasp complex ideas and can make deliberate choices, though we may have to teach them how. Many dogs have lived such structured lives that they may not know how to make choices.
Just like in humans, the power to control your own outcomes has a direct effect on behavioral health. Taking away choices could possibly take away a dog’s ability to fulfill their own needs, or even prevent them from avoiding or relieving stress.
In Brain Games, you can help your dog learn to make choices with these games and exercises:
The answer may surprise you. According to some canine intelligence researchers, dogs have mental abilities that are close to those of a two-year-old human. (And if that doesn’t seem impressive, think about what toddlers get up to.) Dogs can exhibit problem-solving abilities, such as, learning where you stashed their favorite treats and the fastest route to getting them, figuring out how to open latches and doors and understanding the meaning of over 100 words and physical signals.
While most pet parents recognize that dogs need exercise, that does not just mean physical activity like a hike or a run around the park. It’s important to give your dog mental exercise too, stimulation that gives them a chance to use their brain and learn new skills. In addition to highly rewarding puzzle toys and treat dispensers, there are many fun exercises that give dogs an excellent mental workout. As an added bonus, the behaviors they can learn in Brain Games are amazing to show off to friends and family!
Imagine a world in which your dog doesn’t dash to the door when the doorbell rings or jump up on a stranger to say hello. Part of the Brain Games curriculum is based in what our trainers call Environmental Cueing, which helps your dog learn to offer behaviors automatically depending on the cues in the environment.
Dogs are all about forming patterns; they are very cause-and-effect. The idea behind Environmental Cueing is to create patterns that help you in your everyday lives. What if we could teach your dog that if I do this, you do that? For example, when you sit at the dinner table, your dog Settles by your feet. So, when you sit at the table, you are cueing the Settle.
In Brain Games, you can learn to transfer known cues from verbal direction to an Environmental Cue. Using positive reinforcement, Environmental Cueing lets you spend less time managing your dog’s behavior by teaching them to make good choices for many situations including:
Dogs are devoted companions, true people pleasers who thrive when they have a close and loving bond with their humans. Training helps build their relationship with you—and vice versa—by engaging and enhancing their physical and mental capabilities. Enrolling your dog in Brain Games is like offering a growing child music or art classes—giving them the opportunity to use their intelligence in a fun and creative way. In addition to introducing your dog to fun games and useful cues for everyday situations, this class can provide physical exercise and mental enrichment activities that can help keep your dog calm and get them ready for naptime.
Here’s what you and your dog need to enjoy Brain Games: