Cognitive Skills Training

Structured Brain Training and Cognitive Skills Classes

What is Cognition?

The scientific term for 'process of thought', mental action or process of
acquiring knowledge and understanding, through thought, experience and
senses.
Cognition Refers to the ability to process information, apply knowledge and change preferences.
Cognition or cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious and analysed from different perspectives and in different contexts.
The maintenance of wellbeing across the lifespan depends on the preservation of cognitive functions - Impacting behaviour as we grow, learn and age

Thoughts, feelings and behaviour - all connected.

Cognitive Skills training can help dogs over come difficulties in behaviour and emotional responses, by changing how they think and behave.

Core skills

Each of our human cognitive skills plays an important part in processing new information. That
means if even one of these skills is weak, no matter what kind of information is coming our way;
grasping, retaining, or using that information is impacted.
In fact, most learning problems are caused by one or more, weak cognitive skills, having a
HUGE impact on behaviour. This is also the same for dogs

Cognition Qualities

  • Working Memory
  • Perception
  • Visual Processing
  • Auditory Processing
  • Recognition
  • Logic & Reasoning
  • Attention
  • Processing Speed
  • Long-Term Memory

Development and improvement of skills

Cognitive skills develop differently for different people and dogs, which is why
we can demonstrate different levels of ability when it comes to learning and
other forms of cognitive performances.
Cognitive skills are not, however, set in stone. Weak cognitive skills can be
strengthened through the use of intense mental exercise. Strong skills can diminish if not utilised.

Cognitive Skills Classes

These classes test your dogs cognitive abilities and exercise parts of the brain which may not otherwise be utilised. This is done through the use of games and aims to test all areas of cognition

  • Foundation indicators- Push, Tap, Look and touch
  • Focus Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Discrimination Skills (visual, sensual, scent & Audio)
  • Counting
  • Short Term Memory
  • Picture Recognition
  • Listening Skills
  • Attention Span
  • Selecting Big & Small and Matching Pictures

Results

  • Improved Attention and Duration
  • Increased ability to process information
  • Better tolerance to frustration
  • Increased Anticipation
  • Improved Listening Skills
  • Boosts Confidence
  • Improves Self-management and Impulse control (impulse control= stopping yourself: self- management=controlling how often you do something)

There are many benefits to Cognitive Skills Training:

  • Staves off dementia
  • Better Connection between dog and handler
  • Dogs love problem solving
  • Empowering to the dog
  • No force used
  • It allows handlers to influence behaviour of their dogs through choice
  • Builds confidence in the dog to keep offering new behaviours
  • Builds focus
  • Lots of fun!

Cognitive Skills Classes are suitable for any age of dog in fact both our brains and the brains of our dogs are always in the the process of being "molded" in some sort of way. This occurs when we we learn something new or retain some new information that causes new neural connections.
It was once thought that our brains had a lowered ability to create new neural pathways beyond the juvenile period, a time frame during which it's particularly suited to neuroplastic adaptation, but new studies have shown that even the brain of the elderly is capable of being plastic. "Neuroplasticity never ends, you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks!
Neuroplasticity = neuro (refers to the nervous system)
Plasic (to mold)


Information on Canine Brain
Information on Canine Intelligence including relevant studies