Is your dog bored out of his fur?
If you notice an uptick in destructive behavior (chewing, zooming, anxiety), there's a good chance that Fido is bored!
Dogs are brilliant creatures that need constant mental and physical stimulation. Owning a dog is a lot more than just feeding time and evening walks. You must have a plan in place so that your pooch wouldn't act like she's part of the furniture.
Remember the saying about "idle hands" and "all work and no play"? Replace hands with paws and Jack with Fido, and you get the picture! Here are 9 fun games you can play with your dog to ward off boredom, keep her mind sharp and healthy. Bonus: They will keep you fit too!
9 Fun Games You Can Play with Your Dog
1. Set-up an Agility Course
An agility course will challenge your dog's mental and physical capabilities. This type of game will force your pup to use all his senses to figure out how to finish the course and get the treat in the end. You can either buy an agility course set or make one for your dog. The important thing is to keep challenging your dog at every turn.
How does an agility course work?
It's pretty simple! The basics of an agility course are ramps, tunnels, weaving obstacles, a ring to jump through and a horizontal pipe to climb over or crawl under. You can make one for your dog using everyday stuff you have at home:
- Horizontal pipe = leftover PVC pipe placed on top of cinder blocks or chairs
- Ring = an old hula hoop
- Weaving obstacles = kiddie soccer cones or extra large plastic soda bottles filled with water
- Ramp = stacked old clothes, cardboard or newspaper
- Tunnel = old boxes duct taped together
2. Play Wet Dog
Almost all dogs go gaga over water!
Dogs chase water coming out of a hose. They get mad at the water coming out of the sprinkler and try to bite it. They even try to dig water placed in a washing tub on a hot day! With your pup’s innate fascination with H2O, you can play plenty of water games with her. Got a sprinkler? That's even better. Playing fetch games under the cooling spray of a sprinkler is grat fun.
If you live near a public beach, you can also play water fetch with your dog. Throw any float toy or ball in the water and watch your dog scramble to chase it! Make sure the water is shallow enough, and your dog's a strong swimmer. You can get her a doggie life vest if you feel she needs it. Fancy a work out? Jump in and race your dog to the ball!
3. Kickball Fetch
While regular fetch is excellent, you can take it up a notch and give yourself a workout, too.
Kickball fetch is just what it sounds like. You get your dog's favorite ball, find a large enough space and start kicking it! Your dog will immediately chase after the ball after you give the command or when his instincts kick in.
The mechanics are the same as fetch. After kicking the ball, your dog must chase after it and return it to you. This isn't soccer so even a small ball that your dog can bite will work. If your dog knows how to play soccer and you have a larger ball, then your dog can use his nose or paws to return the ball to you.
Frisbee is an all-time classic game you can play with your pooch that will really test him physically. All you need is a dog-proof frisbee
In a game of frisbee, your dog needs to run fast, jump high and use timing to catch the frisbee using his mouth. This game is very taxing, and not all dogs can do it. Try to keep your frisbee games short, and have water available to your dog at all times.
If your dog is new to frisbee, go slow and use a soft disc, so she doesn't get hurt if the frisbee accidentally hits her.
5. Hide and Seek
It's time to challenge your dog's sense of smell and tracking ability.
If you had a blast playing hide and seek as a child, you'll love playing it with your dog! Hide and seek lets your pup use his most potent weapon to find you: his nose. To play, leave your dog in a place where she can't see you and issue a command to stay.
Try to make as much noise as you can to throw her off, going from one place to the next before you settle on a final hiding spot. Then, call out to her and let her nose do it's magic!
6. Treasure Treat Hunt
The treasure treat hunt is another game that will challenge your dog's olfactory senses.
It's also one of the easiest to pull off on this list so you can do this anytime you feel your dog needs something to do, or when you have to leave your house.
To play, all you need to do is hide small treats around the house in places that your dog can sniff around and search. Make sure your dog has an easy time reaching the reward, so avoid high places. A stuffed Kong will also work, but keep in mind that once your dog finds it, he'll try to get the treat inside and it's game over!
7. Three Cup Game
Three cup game is another mental game that you can play with Rover.
You do this like how the street hustlers do it, without hustling your dog! Get three cups and hide a treat in one of them. Then, you move the cups around and stop until they're lined up again. Command your dog to look for the snack. If he chooses the right cup, the reward is his.
8. The Staircase Race
If you want to get a good workout while playing with your pooch, you can race her up and down the stairs!
If your dog knows how to climb up and down a flight of stairs and can follow commands, this is a game you can play. You can command Fluffy to run up and down the stairs alongside you, or you can throw a toy down and ask your dog to retrieve it.
9. Puzzle Games
Puzzle games are rewarding for both dog and owners alike!
Seeing your dog turn a knob, flip lids and open drawers to get a treat are pretty satisfying. There are plenty of different puzzle games for dogs you can buy. Making a puzzle game is a little challenging if you don't have any craft or woodworking skills, so it's easier just to buy one.
Honorable Mention: Tug-of-war and Flirt Pole!
Ready to Play?
There you have it, folks! 9 fun games you can play with your dog that will challenge his mental and physical abilities. Always remember to keep the games short, exciting and not too hard. The last thing you want is a frustrated dog second-guessing himself!
We hope you have a blast playing these games with your best pal.
Until next time!