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3 Fun Games to Play with Your Dog

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

Selective focus of a white dog with a red ball in his mouth, sitting on a couch next to a human

For some dogs, all it takes is the faintest “thud” of a tennis ball bouncing on the ground to paws-itively get their tails wagging. Others get doggone giddy at the sound of their leash being removed from its hook, knowing that they’re going out for a walk or run. Others yet might be avid tug-of-war enthusiasts. Each dog’s play and exercise preference is as individual to them as their nose print and accounts for a large part of their identity. Although they may never tire of their favorite games, it can be beneficial to add some variety to their routine. Our canine counterparts are capable of learning much, and it’s up to us to challenge them.

Mental and physical stimulation accounts for an important part of our pup’s overall health. Of course exercise is vital, but engaging their brain is important too. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry; there are plenty of fun and rewarding ways to challenge your pup. Teaching your dog some new games is a great way to prevent boredom and learn new skills. So go ahead, teach your old (or young) dog some new tricks!

If you’re ready to give your shoulder a break from playing fetch, keep reading.

3 Fun Games to Play with Your Dog

Hide and seek

little boy hiding under beige couch pillows

It’s a classic for a reason. This simple game requires no supplies and is easy to play indoors. Simply get your pooch’s attention, ask him or her to stay (or have another human stay with your pet), and go hide. When you’re ready to be found, call out.

Tips: Choose a few easy hiding spots to begin to help build your dog’s confidence. When your dog finds you, reward him or her with a treat, praise, or vigorous petting. Enjoying the victory will help your dog stay interested and engaged in the game.

Learning names

close up of dog mouth with yellow spikey ball toy

You may be surprised to know just how much language your dog is capable of understanding. Put their language skills to work by teaching them the names of their toys. When you have your dog’s attention, pick up a toy, clearly say the name of the toy, and hold it up to your pup for inspection. Lay the toy on the floor, and say the name again, directing your dog’s attention to the toy by pointing to it. Reward your dog when they direct their attention to the toy and repeat the process until you are confident that your dog has made a firm association with the toy and the name.

Once they’ve made the association with the first toy and its name, you can try adding another toy by repeating the process. When your dog has successfully associated the second toy with its name, you can place them on the floor, side by side, and ask your dog to get one or the other. You can add more toys to the game slowly.

Tips: Be sure the names are distinctive and not too similar. To avoid confusion, don’t add too many toys too quickly. Make sure your dog has made a solid association with previous toys before adding new ones. This game can also be played with family members instead of toys.

Clean up the toys

small white dog sitting on rug next to toys

A favorite of dog parents everywhere, it’s the clean up game! Yes, you really can teach your dogs to clean up after themselves. If your dog has mastered the “drop it” command, this is a fun game to teach. Scatter toys around a room. Guide your dog to pick one up, say “pick up”, and then coax them over to the toy box. Give the “drop it” command when your dog is standing over the toy box so the toy falls in. Give plenty of praise, and try again with another toy.

Tips: This one will take quite a bit of repetition, but with enough praise and patience, your dog will get it. Be consistent and kind, and take a break when your pup starts to lose interest.

When it comes to fun and engaging play, sometimes we just have to think outside of the box. What fun games do you play with your dog? Share them with us on our pet-lovin’ facebook page!

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