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4 Exciting Games To Play With Your Dog

4 Exciting Games To Play With Your Dog

Playing games with your dog isn’t just a way to prevent boredom or a chance for some exercise, it’s also a way to give your pet an outlet for their natural instincts. As social animals, playing with your dog is an essential way to teach them about relationships and communication, strengthening your bond with them.

Your dog’s personality determines what games they’ll want to play, so it’s worth experimenting with a few to see what they like. With that in mind, here’s four games that many dogs love!

1. Hide and seek

Hide and seek is a great game that makes use of your dog’s strong sense of smell. Dogs naturally use a combination of tracking and wind scenting to find you. That means they’ll sniff along the ground to find you as well as sniffing the air, and it’s a great chance for them to practice what their ancestors would have done to catch their prey.

This game is best played with two people. Get a friend to hold your dog while you hide somewhere else in the house, garden, or other safe area outside where your dog can’t get lost or hurt. Once you’ve hidden, call for your dog. If it’s the first time you’ve played, you may need to call them more than once. As soon as they find you, reward them with a treat and lots of praise!

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2. Searching games

A variation on hide and seek that offers another chance for your dog to practice their tracking skills is to teach them to hunt for their favorite toy. Make sure you choose a toy they’re especially fond of though, or they may not want to join in, and you’ll have to retrieve it yourself!

Start by teasing your dog with it, and while they’re watching, throw it into some long grass, or if you’re indoors, behind some furniture. Just remember not to throw it anywhere you don’t want your dog to go – aiming at a priceless ornament or throwing the toy into your prized flowerbeds is not a good idea! Then encourage them to start searching – ask them where it is in an excited voice.

After playing a few times, your dog will start to understand what to do, and you can make things harder by not letting them see where you hide the toy.

Some dogs aren’t interested in toys, but with some slight changes they can still have fun with this game. Why not try hiding their favorite dog treats instead?

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3. Tug of war

Many dogs find tug of war very exciting; however, many owners can be wary of encouraging it, as they think it will encourage the dog to become controlling and aggressive. This could lead to your dog trying to play the game at inconvenient times. The truth is, you can control their behavior by ensuring you instigate the games, meaning you’ll set the rules, not them.

Start by telling your dog to “take it” in an excited voice, while moving the toy towards them. Wait for your dog to take hold of the toy, then keep their interest by moving the toy around, side to side, back and forth.

After a while, stop tugging by saying “leave” once without repeating, move your hands to your sides and don’t speak. Your dog may continue tugging, but will eventually release. Once your dog has let go, you can pause the game and then start again. This teaches your dog that they can only play once invited to, and that they must stop when your hands are still and close at your sides.

For stronger dogs, it can be easier to end the game by holding their collar before letting go of the toy, which reduces their excitement and competition for control over the toy. Again, this teaches them that they must stop playing when you touch their collar.

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You can also stay in control of your dog by occasionally stopping and restarting the game, but only removing the toy entirely when you’ve finished. If your dog attempts to grab you or snatch at the toy without invitation, then immediately go still and quiet. Both these methods reinforce the fact that you decide when they can play, not them.

4. Chasing and retrieving

Chasing and retrieving is another great game for dogs. Most dogs love to chase toys, but not all have learnt to bring it back. You can train them to do this by teaching them how to hold the toy first.

Offer your dog the toy and then pick it up – you may find they’re more likely to pick it up if you roll it across the floor in front of them. Then, praise the dog for holding the toy, but only give them a treat if they drop the toy by your feet or in your hand.

The next step is to run backwards as your dog picks up the toy, so they have to follow you to get their treat. Keep practicing this, and occasionally throw the toy, but only allow your dog to fetch it once it’s come to a standstill.

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After repeating this over a few days, you’ll have trained your dog to realize they’ll get their treat only if they drop the toy in your hand or at your feet.

Featured photo credit: Lucian Venutian via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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