There seems to still be plenty of mystery about how the brains of both dogs and cats work. And it seems we haven’t even thought of half of the brain games we could be playing with our pets to see how much they really understand about the world around them. Once in a while, however, you’ll have an astute person move out of the usual action of teaching dogs how to sit or roll over and into doing something that brings all-new reactions to our pets.
Such is the case of a magician and mentalist from Finland named Jose Ahonen who recently put together a video of him doing magic tricks in front of dogs. His tricks provided some of the most entertaining reactions from dogs you’ll probably ever see. His video went viral and even precipitated someone doing magic tricks for cats with much less engaged reaction from the felines.
But as with all dogs and cats, it may depend on their individual intelligence level. Is it a good idea to do magic tricks to mentally engage your dog and cat? Take a look at what might help them think about the physics of the world and help stretch their minds into perhaps figuring things out quicker than we can.
Slight of Hand Tricks
That Finnish magician above wisely chose slight of hand tricks to befuddle the dogs in his experiment. Ahonen simply took a piece of dog food and acted as if he was going to give it to each dog. With a little slight of hand, the piece of dog food disappeared in his hand, leaving the dogs looking perplexed at their universe being somehow disrupted. The best part of that is you could see the wheels turning in each dog, despite their annoyances at what happened.
Slight of hand may be one of the greatest mind games a dog can have, because it forces them to consider what’s possible and what isn’t. It might be a good idea to show how it’s done to them later so they can process and figure out what’s real and what isn’t. It’s really no different than human beings who still get befuddled over something as simple as slight of hand tricks. Yet, unlike dogs, they may not be able to keep a secret if they know how it’s done.
Doing Magic for Cats
Whenever a video goes viral, you can be sure that someone is going to put out a complementary parody video or something similar in an attempt to rival it. One man put out a video where he attempted to do magic tricks for cats. The reaction is equally hilarious, mainly because all of the cats were completely indifferent to even watching the trick. One reason, perhaps, is because the man was attempting various tricks that were a little too elaborate and not ones engaging someone more intimately.
You couldn’t call it a definitive test either when some cats are more mentally curious than others. The truly intellectual felines would be the ones to try magic tricks on in the first place. In my own experience, my family had a vastly intelligent cat for many years. A few times, I did some simple slight of hand and mind-bending tricks for him when up close and with his undivided attention. The reactions were similar to the dogs above. Regardless, he was able to scope out how it was done quickly, especially if you were hiding something behind your back or in another hand as detected by scent.
Mind Games and Puzzles
Some pet owners are starting to buy interactive mind games for their dogs and cats to help them do mind-bending exercises without human intervention. These might have their benefits, especially when there’s food involved. However, it might give too much of a feel of a scientific lab having these around your home. Human interaction is the best part of helping build a dog or cat’s mind into thinking deeper about the world around them. Particularly if they’re exposed to people on a regular basis, their understanding of what’s possible and what isn’t can help them make their own judgments about taking actions of their own when it’s necessary.