Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, in summer or winter, playing games with your dog is a sure way to keep your pup feeling healthy and happy. It’s also a great way to reinforce good behaviors and obedience training while having fun. If you haven’t tried these five games with your dog, you might be missing out on some great bonding opportunities!
- Fetch – This classic game teaches you and your pup the value of teamwork. Some dog breeds are better at playing fetch initially, but every dog can learn to play along. There are many varieties to fetch as there are dogs and owners. Maybe you’ve seen doggy parents at your local dog park with tennis-ball launchers, or you might be the kind of person who prefers to toss a rope and play tug for a moment before saying “Go fetch!” again. Be sure to observe your dog carefully as you’re playing fetch so that you can note whether she prefers to run long distances—maybe you’ll need a Frisbee or a tennis ball, in that case—or to have something she can shake or chew on after a couple of tosses.
- Hide & Seek (with you, with you treats, with toys—whatever works!) – Hide & seek is a great way to improve upon your dog’s obedience training, especially the important “stay” command. Tell your furry friend to “stay” while you go hide—whether you’re hiding yourself, your dog’s favorite toy, or a special treat. (If you’re using a toy or treat, make sure that he knows you have it with you as you walk away.) Then use your “come” command and let your dog put his powerful sense of smell to sniff you out, or let him try to find whatever was hidden. Over time, this game helps to reinforce dog training, and it gives your dog a fun outlet for extra energy.
- Tricks – Teaching your dog tricks is a whole lot of fun all in itself, and you can use tricks to play a memory game with your canine companion. Start with the basic commands that your pup already learned in dog obedience training, puppy training, or dog agility training, such as “sit,” “down,” and “come.” After your dog has mastered the basics, you try to teach her slightly more complex tricks, such as “speak” and “roll over.” Before you know it, your dog could be ready to “shake” your hand!
- Obstacle Course – If your dog has the “zoomies” more often than he’s sleeping, then dog agility training might be good for both of you. By learning how to help your dog navigate an obstacle course, you’ll be able to channel your dog’s energy in fun and creative ways. Maneuvering around a simple step-stool or tunnel at home or in your back yard may be the extra “umph” your dog needs at the end of the day to tire out before bed. KC Dawgz’s dog agility training can give you the tools that you need to keep your high-energy pup engaged!
- Tug of War – This game is an excellent team-builder for you and your dog because it sharpens your dog’s mind and body simultaneously. It also helps increase your dog’s competency through repetition. Start with a rope and allow your dog to get a good grip on one end of it. Initiate the game by giving a light tug on the rope, side to side and up and down. Using both hands, test the strength of your dog by allowing her to tug a little before you pull back. Be sure to let your dog know how much force is appropriate by dropping the rope whenever she begins to pull or shake too aggressively.
If you haven’t given these games a try, start one today! Having trouble getting your dog started on the right paw with these games? Bring him in for one of KC Dawgz’s training courses. We help owners learn how interact in positive ways with their dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. Our group classes, Doggy Daycare, and Board and Train programs provide additional opportunities for you to help socialize your dog so that she’ll feel comfortable playing around and with other dogs and doggy parents.