If you’re looking for ways to have a doggone good time with your pooch, you have come to the right place! Playing games with your dog provides him with both mental and physical stimulation, builds your dog’s confidence, and strengthens the bond you have with your pet.
Check out these five, fun-filled suggestions from our team at Caring Paws Animal Hospital.
Perfect for high-energy dogs, a game of frisbee catch will encourage your dog to track an object over longer distances. One tip: choose a soft disc made for dogs. They’re easier to catch, and it won’t hurt if your dog gets bonked in the nose! Start out by tossing it short distances until he gets the hang of it.
DIY “Ninja” Course
The added focus required to navigate an agility course will give your dog a big boost of mental stimulation along with plenty of exercise! There are obstacle course items made just for pets, but you can have just as much fun repurposing items you have around the house. Hula hoops for jumping through, sports cones for weaving around, and boxes for jumping over are all you need.
Hide and Seek
What could be more fun than playing hide and seek with your canine sidekick? This is a game you can play outdoors or indoors on a rainy day. Tell your dog to “stay” while you hide. Then call your dog, and heap on the praise when he finds you.
Find the Treats
Scent games like hide the treats are mentally stimulating and a great way to nourish your dog’s natural talents. To teach your dog what “find the treats” means, begin with your dog in the “stay” position and place some treats nearby on the ground. Release him by saying “find the treats.” Gradually move the treats farther away, and try hiding them around corners. Point him in the right direction if he needs help, and give him lots of praise when he finds the treats.
Chasing and popping bubbles outside is fun for the entire family. Begin by blowing a few bubbles and showing your dog what to do by enthusiastically popping the bubbles yourself. Bubbles made for kids are nontoxic, but keep a towel handy, and blot your dog’s face occasionally to prevent too much of the bubble solution from getting into his eyes or mouth.
There are almost as many activities for dogs as there are breeds, so experiment with different games, and tailor them to suit your dog’s age (especially if you have a senior pet), energy level, and personality. And keep your dog in tip-top, game-playing shape by staying up-to-date on his wellness exams.