Your fur baby is intelligent, and he needs to exercise his brain, just like you need to use yours. Dogs that a bored can quickly become destructive because they need something to do. If they’re very bored, they will make their own activities, which can lead to chewing up your favorite pair of shoes (maybe there’s a touch of revenge there—for not paying them enough attention?), or even worse, he may chew up the couch, doors and woodwork, etc. Playing together is also a great way to bond with your fur baby. He will enjoy pleasing you by learning new tricks, and you’ll both enjoy it when he can show others what he can do! We’ve put together a fun list of 10 games to play with your dog. We hope you both have much fun enjoying these activities together!
Tricks & Games to Teach Your Dog
Here are a couple of fun tricks and games you and your fur baby can enjoy together!
High Five & Shake: these are fairly easy tricks most dogs are able and willing to learn. Before you begin, be sure your fur baby knows how to sit. He’ll need to know this command before he can learn how to shake and/or do a high five. It’s also a good idea to have some of his favorite treats ready to reward your pup when he does the trick the right way.
Keep in mind that all dogs learn at their own pace. Some dogs will learn more quickly than others, so go at your dog’s pace and don’t try to hurry him in the learning process. Patience with your fur baby wins every time!
1. Teach your dog to shake:
a). Tell your dog to sit in front of you.
b). Hold your out your hand to him, palm up, close to his nose. He will probably try to sniff your hand and/or paw at it.
c). When your pup lifts his paw, tell him “Good!” and give him a treat. Do this even if he didn’t touch your hand but did lift his paw.
d). Repeat this process until your dog lifts his paw to your hand. Be sure to reward him every time and add the cue “shake” when you place his hand in front of him. Pretty soon, your canine companion will get the message and will hold his paw to your hand, and then you can take his paw and shake hands with him!
2. Teach your dog to do a high five:
a). Start with your dog seated in front of you by giving him the “sit” command.
b). Next, hold a treat in your hand, and place your hand near his nose, letting him figure out how to get the treat. At this point, he may try to use his mouth or paw to get the treat. That’s OK!
c). When your pup uses his paw to touch your hand, tell him “Good boy!” and let him have the treat.
d). Go through several repetitions until he gets this down.
e). Once he understands that he needs to touch your hand, add the command “high five” just before he touches your hand.
f). Keep repeating this process until your fur baby understands the command and touches your hand with his paw.
g). Over time, remove the treat from your hand, but be sure to give him the treat when your furry companion correctly makes the move to touch his paw to your hand.
Best Games for Dogs
There are some top games for dogs that you can enjoy together with your furry canine companion! These games go beyond training and your dog learning commands. Instead, these games are meant for you both to have fun together! Not only that, but your pup will have a fun time enjoying some cognitive stimulation, which can be a benefit to dogs of all ages.
Remember the main idea behind these activities is for you and your dog to have fun together. Here are some games that you and your fur buddy may enjoy!
3. The Hot & Cold Dog Game:
Remember that game you played when you were a kid? Someone hid an object, and then everyone had to guess where it was hiding. The person who hid the item would say “You’re getting cold,” if you were going away from the item. They would say, “You’re getting hot,” when you were close to the hidden object. Well, this is also a game you can play with your dog! In the doggie version of “Hot & Cold,” you use verbal cues and vocal tones to help your pup find a hidden toy or one of his favorite treats. Keep in mind that he may find the treat with his nose before you give him the cues. It might be a good idea to place the treat in a container that won’t give off a scent that could give away the treat’s hiding place.
a). Hide the treat/toy when your pup isn’t looking. You may even place him in another room temporarily as you hide the item.
b). Let your dog try to find the item. Give him clues that he can understand. When he moves away from the hidden treat or toy, use a calm tone for “colder.” If he is nearing the treat or toy, use a more excited voice for “hotter.”
c). Keep this up until your dog finds the treat or toy. If he’s found the hidden toy, then he sure deserves a treat! This came is a great way to train your dog to listen to you and increase his listening skills. You can also create a special language that is shared only between you and your fur baby.
4. Play Hide and Seek with your Dog:
This is another great childhood favorite that can be adapted for playing with your dog. One word of warning: if your dog happens to be older and is showing signs of dementia, this is not an appropriate game to play with him. A game like this could make his anxiety, confusion and fear increase. This game may also be too difficult for young dogs. However, this is a great game to play with any dog, as long as he’s capable of moving and it won’t cause him undo stress.
a). Have your dog sit and stay. While he’s waiting, you can go and hide.
b). When you’re hidden, have your fur baby come and find you.
c). It probably won’t take him long to find you, especially as he has a keen sense of smell and may have seen where you hid. However, be sure to reward him when he does find you.
d). As you both grow accustomed to the game, you can make it more challenging. This may take two people but have him sit and stay. Then have the person with him give the command to go and find you. You can make it more challenging; however, he still has a good nose and it probably won’t him too long. Still, it’s a great way to have fun with your furry companion. Be sure to reward him with his favorite treat and give him a hug for extra measure.
5. Dog Puzzle Challenge:
Dogs love a challenge, including puzzle games. You can create a homemade puzzle or buy puzzle from the pet store. Either will work and your dog will be happy. One puzzle suggestion is the Our Pets IQ Treat Ball Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy. This puzzle game resembles the hamster ball you may have seen online or at the pet shop. However, your dog will not be chasing a hamster in this ball.
As a side note, never put a hamster in a ball and let your dog chase it. Your dog will have fun; however, your hamster will be terrified, which is animal abuse.
So, for this puzzle game, the ball instead is filled with treats! It has an opening at one end and your dog will have to work out how to get the treats. This is a nice puzzle because you can determine the difficulty level—make it easy or more difficult, depending on your dog’s ability to remove the treats. You can enjoy watching him play and/or can leave the puzzle for him when you go to work. He can have fun with the ball all day long!
Outdoor Games for Dogs
You and your dog can enjoy playing outside together. First be sure to play in a safe area, such as your backyard or the dog park. Some game ideas to try:
6. Dog Fetching Games:
Dogs love fetching games. They enjoy the running and bringing the item back to you, though some dogs will make you chase them, rather than bring the ball or frisbee back! You have been forewarned. You can use a ball, a frisbee, a stuffed toy—whatever your dog will enjoying chasing and bringing back to you. One way to encourage him to bring the item back is to offer him a praise and a reward. Do this only if he brings the object back to you. You can keep up this activity until he’s tired of fetching…and you may be tired of throwing.
7. Puppy Pool Games:
Many dogs enjoy playing in water, including their own pool. Doggie pools are a great way to keep your dog cool in the summer. You can even toss treats into the pool for him to catch and enjoy. All you need is a shallow kiddy pool, such as the Taylor Toy Snapset Swimming Pool for Kids. If you have a larger dog, you will probably want to get a pool that’s a little bigger, so he can lay down in it. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid inflatable pools, which are easy for your dog’s claws to puncture. Some dogs love to dig in the pool; if you have an inflatable, it will quickly develop a hole.
Brain Games for Dogs
These are similar to puzzle games in that they will make your dog use his brain to get a reward, such his favorite treat. Here are some to consider:
8. Wooly Snuffle Mat:
This is a fun game that teaches your fur baby to use his sense of smell to find a treat. It also uses his natural foraging abilities. In this game, he will have to use his nose to hunt the treat. Made of up cycled materials, this puzzle is also machine washable.
9. ZippyPaws X-Large Burrow Log and Chipmunks Squeaky Toy:
This is an entertaining puzzle where your dog can work the chipmunks out of the “log.” He can dig them out and throw them around, having a great time, even if you’re not at home.
10. Wellood Dog Treat Dispenser Ball Toy:
This is another ball toy; however, instead of being round, this toy is egg-shaped. Your dog has to figure out how to roll the ball to get the treats to come out. It’s a durable dog toy made of materials safe for dogs and other pets.
These are some ideas of games and activities you can use to give your dog some brain stimulation, while also enjoying time together. Your pup can learn some new tricks, enjoy puzzles and playing outside—with you. The togetherness is a great way to build up the relationship between you and your fur baby. You’ll have a companion for life!