Playing games with your dog is not only great for bonding with your fur baby but can also allow you to have fun together and even incorporate some training elements into playtime. Our Canine PR Team have picked their favourite top 10 games to get your dog’s tail wagging.
1. Hide & Seek
Our dogs love a game of hide and seek! Tell your dog to stay or ask someone to restrain your dog while you find a great hiding place then let him find you! If you don’t have a vast mansion or grounds, this game can become a little repetitive as you start to run out of unique hiding places! Another take on this game is to hide a Kong filled with low calorie treats or place kibble in various locations. Place the Kong or treats around the house for him to sniff out! Teaching him commands, such as ‘Go find it’, ‘Go left/right’ while pointing in the direction of where the treats are hidden are fabulous additional commands your dog will learn.
2. Tidy Up Time
If your dog loves to get all of his toys out of his toy box like ours do, then teaching him to put his toys ‘In The Box’ is a great way to get him to do the tidying up! Create a simple command, so your dog understands what you want from him. With time he should be able to return all his toys back into his toy box. This is a fun game that our dogs love!
3. Teach A Trick
From ‘Give Me Your Paw’, ‘Roll Over’ and ‘Speak’, your dog will love learning a new trick if you keep sessions short and sweet and reward with a treat when he tries. Teaching a new trick depends on the individual dog, and some dogs pick up skills quickly, and others take time. Have fun teaching your dog a trick or two!
4. On It!
This is a fun game we used to teach our dog agility stars when they were in puppy training, but we find it a really useful command for all dogs. Take a square carpet cut off and teach your dog to go ‘On It’. As soon as your dog puts a paw onto the carpet, reward with a treat, so he understands what is required. Use different fabrics or surfaces so that your dog understands the command correctly. When we lay a blanket on the floor and give our dogs this command, they will all sit and stay on the blanket. Ideal for client meetings away from the office!
5. Tug Of War
If played correctly, the ‘tug of war’ game with a tug toy can be a lot of fun. Before you incorporate this game, make sure your dog understands the ‘Drop it’ or ‘Leave’ command. If your dog starts nipping or getting overly boisterous, it’s time to stop play. All our dogs (big and small) love this game!
6. Name That Toy
Could you teach your dog to fetch their toys by name? This is an entertaining game to play with your dog and teaches your dog to listen to your commands correctly. Start by teaching your dog the name of each toy by referencing the name of it throughout playtime. Make sure that each toy has a name – start with one toy and see if your dog can work out which toy he needs to bring to you out of a pile of a few. Once he knows the name of one toy, then you can move onto the next one and add more and more!
7. That’s Handy!
Teaching your dog to learn the ‘which hand game’ is a great starting place for ‘nose work’. Put a treat or some kibble in one hand and hold both closed hands shut and let your dog’s nose do the picking — Reward with the treat for the correct nudge of his nose on your closed fist.
8. Take Three
The next move on from the ‘which hand’ game is the ‘three cups’ game. Take three cups in a line in front of your dog and put a treat under one cup. Make sure that your dog can see the treat has gone under a cup and then give him your command to show you where the treat is. Once he has chosen correctly, lift the cup, and he can take the treat. Repeat this exercise, and once he has established an understanding, then you can try moving the cups around and place back in a line for your dog to choose.
9. Interactive Toys
There is a vast array of interactive toys on the market to keep your dog focused and entertained. From dog puzzles to treat balls and chase toys. Based on your dog’s personality, choose a toy that you know he’ll love and enjoy playing with. Some dogs go crazy for balls and others are more interested in the food, so pick the right toy accordingly.
10. Create Your Own Dog Agility Course
If you have space in your garden and the weather allows, setting up a short agility course is a fun way to give your dog some mental stimulation and a physical challenge. We picked up six small cones from a charity shop and placing them out in a line, spaced widely in between mimics a dog agility ‘weave’ sequence. We have taught our dogs to go in and out and around them in different directions. We also lay a mat down and tell our dogs to go ‘On It’ and stay for 2 seconds before we release them and finish with a different path of cone navigation. Finishing off our round with a quick game of tug of war. The dogs love this particular game!