One of the best things in owning a dog is the fact that you can play with it whenever and wherever you want. You can play out in the open in the park or anywhere in the outdoor world, and you can also play inside on rainy days. Your pet won’t refuse some fun bonding time. In fact, he or she needs it more than you might know.
Young puppies, adult dogs and senior canines alike need amusement and entertainment on a daily basis. Boredom is bad for your dog, regardless of its age, breed and size, because it can lead to numerous issues, including obesity and destructive behavior.
Canines have been domesticated since time immemorial. Over the course of the past centuries people have developed countless ways to play with their pet dogs and to keep them well-occupied.
As such, nowadays there’s an abundance of opportunities for fun games for dogs, which the dog can play on its own or when the pet parent wants to engage it in a mutual play session. Going over every single game for puppies is practically impossible, so we’ve created a list of some of the best fun games to play with your dog.
What happens if you don?t play with your dog?
If you don?t have the time, energy and willingness to play with your canine friend on regular basis, it may lead to destructive consequences. Your pup will have tons of excess energy, it will suffer from lack of entertainment, and it will crave attention and social interaction. The dog will become restless, it will start blowing off steam on your furniture, and in some cases might even become obese from not being able to burn all those calories.
How often should you play with your dog?
Between taking care of school, work, family, social life and so forth, no human being can play 24/7 with their dog. However, each play session contributes to entertainment, exercise, social contact and bonding. Thus, playing with your puppy at least once on daily basis is of intrinsic importance for both you and your pet. Of course, each dog is unique on its own just like humans are. As such, each pup will require different play sessions in terms of length. For some breeds 10-minute long sessions a couple of times a day will be enough, whereas others might even require hours spent in playing on daily basis.
How to play with your dog?
If you’re a new dog owner, it’s perfectly understandable to ask yourself this question. On the other hand, it’s not shameful to admit that even though you’ve been a pet parent for a while, you still don’t know how to engage your canine friend in proper play sessions.
You can play with your pet in a variety of ways depending on your location. You can either play inside or out in the open. If you’re residing in a smaller house or apartment, indoor activities are fundamental because your pet doesn’t have enough free space to roam around and let all that excess energy out.
Playing with your dog outside
The outdoor world is filled with numerous opportunities for play sessions for you and your dog. You can vary the games with different toys and rules. Bubble wands with soapy solutions, for example, are an awesome make-shift toy because canines adore chasing them all over the place.
Fetch is among the most popular options for outdoor games for dogs. Balls, ropes, Frisbee disks and plain sticks/ branches are ideal for playing fetch as they can be used either on hard terrain or in the pool/ ocean.
Chasing is another efficient way to exercise your pet and to spend some quality bonding time with it while enjoying yourself. You and your canine pal can chase each other around or you can use toys for that purpose, such as remote controlled ones, tennis balls or even big volleyballs. Moreover, you can also play the chasing game if you happen to find rotating sprinklers. Any water hose can easily substitute the sprinklers.
Tug-of-war is undeniably a top pick for most dog owners out there. How to play tug with your dog? It?s actually quite easy. If you’ve never done it before, just remember that there are two basic rules ? the dog must always obey you and you must always be in control of the game. This means that you must teach the dog to respond to commands like ‘Let go’, ‘Release’, and ‘Stay’. When it refuses to listen to you, restrain it and quit the game at once. It’s essential for your dog to learn that you?re the one making the rules and that if it starts acting out, you’ll stop playing with it.
Playing tug not only strengthens your relationship with your pet, but it also trains it mentally and physically in the same time. It’s a challenging, yet entertaining game, which is ideal for the outdoors. Nonetheless, you can still play it inside if you have enough room for it.
Playing with your dog inside
How to play with your dog inside? You might be surprised, but there’s a vast variety of ways to entertain your canine pal within the borders of your house or apartment when you can?t go outside.
Set up hiding spots for treats and encourage your puppy to find them. Keep praising it each time it discovers a new location. This game is excellent for exercising muscles, olfaction, and inborn hunting instincts. It’s also fun for the dog because it gets a tasty reward. One of the lazier versions of this game is the Shell Game where you’re using 3 or more cups and hiding a treat in only one of them before making the dog guess the treat’s location.
Performing tricks is another great option for indoor games. It actually combines the pleasure of the tasty reward with the mental stimulation of learning and performing new tricks. Quick tip ? don?t ever make the mistake of thinking that your pet is too old to learn something new!
Use toys for playing fetch. This trust-building, bonding game is ideal for exercising dogs of all breeds and ages. If you’re residing in a small house or apartment, move some things around to make room for running. You can use chewable toys, stuffed animals, balls and so forth when playing fetch.
Lastly, you can also opt for playing hide and seek. That won’t work for young puppies as they get easily distracted, but if your pet is around a year old or so, you can easily have fun with it while playing this old-school game.
How to teach your dog to play with toys
Some canine breeds are more susceptible to training than others. What?s more, it?s completely natural for your pup to be notably picky in terms of expressing interest in particular toys.
Teaching your dog to play with toys is easier when the toys are appealing to it. Discover your doggie’s preferences towards balls, stuffed animals, lasers and other interactive toys. Some pet supplies manufacturers offer special chewable toys, which are made of non-toxic materials. They easily break down in your pup’s stomach if it rips off a small particle and decides to swallow it. Others offer scented items, which are specifically designed to appear more appealing to the canine olfaction.
If you can?t find such items, you can easily teach your canine friend to play with regular toys. Encourage the dog each time it picks up a toy with verbal and physical praises. Start playing with the toy by yourself and show your dog how much enjoyment you’re getting out of having the toy, thus tricking into thinking that it must try it out. Opt for squeaking toys or even the ones with hollow centers in which you can place a small dog treat.
Training a dog requires efforts, time, devotion and patience, whether it’d be for games or for something else. Don’t ever shout, hit or punish your pet in other brutal ways just because it?s not acting properly all the time. Instead, apply the positive reinforcement technique. Putting an abrupt end to a game is enough to teach the dog that improper behavior results in ending its fun. Trick your canine pal into thinking that good behavior equals a rewarding experience instead of making him/ her hate you for treating him/ her badly for each wrongdoing.
Easy Types of Games to Play With Your Dog
Playing with your dog on daily basis is of fundamental importance for your relationship with it in terms of building trust and spending some quality bonding time together. Not only that, but it?s also essential for exercising it on a physical and mental level.
You don?t need to go to the park in order to play with your canine pal. In fact, the two of you can play even in the pool or within the borders of your home. Here are the top 5 games to play with your dog, regardless of where you are.
Chasing games are ideal for pet-owner bonding time. They can physically exercise the dog, as well as its owner, and are most suitable for the outdoors, even though they can also be played inside.
Chasing games can be carried out anywhere. If you’re living in a smaller house or apartment, move some things around to make enough room for your pup to move freely and start playing. You can either chase each other all over the place, or you can use toys for that purpose.
These fun games often involve dog toys and tools like stuffed animals, Frisbee disks, rubber bones, flossy ropes, sticks, tennis balls, floating soapy bubbles, volleyballs, beach balls and other items, which the canine can chase around.
Of course, you can also play water volleyball in the pool or even use the rotating sprinklers in your yard (if you don’t have sprinklers, just substitute them with a plain water hose). Another option is to use bubble wands to make soapy bubbles, which dogs adore chasing around.
Chasing games as Tug-of-war and fetch are suitable for young and adult dogs, but senior canines shouldn’t engage in them too often and for too long as they require a lot of energy and put severe strain on the pup’s muscles.
The important thing to remember is that the idea behind these games isn’t for your dog to bring you whatever it’s chasing down. After all, you’re playing chasing games with your dog, not fetch.
Speaking of fetch, this particular game can also be played both indoors and outdoors on a hard terrain, as well as in a swimming pool or in the ocean. When it comes to fetch, it?s a top choice for pet parents from all over the world and it’s without a doubt one of your best options for fun games to play with your dog.
You can opt for Frisbees, sticks and branches, chewable toys, stuffed animals, tennis balls, ropes and basically anything else, which the doggie can pick up with its teeth and bring back to you. Playing fetch is one of the easiest ways to make sure your canine pal is well-exercised and entertained on daily basis.
Tug-of-war, or simply Tug, is undeniably a fun game for both smaller and larger dog breeds. Your canine companion won’t mind playing this awesome game out in the open or inside your home.
Playing tug teaches the dog discipline and manners. During the game your puppy must always know that you?re the one in control and that if it starts acting improperly and dominantly, you?ll end the game immediately. Tug-of-war stimulates the dog on a physical and mental basis while also contributing social interaction. Ropes are the ideal toy for this particular game.
Hide-and-seek isn’t a game just for kids as it can be played with dogs too. You can hide in some other room or behind trees whenever you’re in the park with your dog and make it go looking for you.
Moreover, you can also use dog food and delicious treats in the hide-and-seek games in order to make them more appealing to the doggie. Either hide something tasty in various places in your home or just use toys for that purpose.
You probably never thought about it, but you can play hide-and-seek with your dog. You can either hide from your pet (make it go looking for you), or you can hide treats and make it discover them. Another version of this game can be carried out by using special dog toys with hollow centers for hiding treats. Use several of those, but leave some of them empty, otherwise it will be too easy.
The ‘Shell game‘ is an easy example, because all you need to do is stock up on some plastic cups and dog treats. Of course, you can hide treats in your fist and just make the pup guess the correct fist instead of playing Shell with cups. Another option is to hide the treats in balls, mazes and other similar puzzle-like dog toys, which you can get from pet stores or order online.
You can also play the Shell game by hiding one treat under one cup from a row of many cups and then making your canine pal find the tasty reward. Of course, you don?t have to use cups ? simply hide the treat in one of your fists and then make the dog guess in which one it is.
The dance-off game is pretty simple, yet it’s tons of fun. It basically consists of the idea that both you and your dog need to perform the same moves, whether it?s something as simple as walking in a circle or rolling over, or some other more complicated moves. The dance-off game is just a more interactive, entertaining version of having your canine pal perform tricks alone.
All of these fun games to play with your dog can be carried out inside your home or out in the open while you’re taking it for a walk. They are not only entertaining, but also offer a bit of a boost on a mental level for your canine pal, while keeping its muscles well-exercised in the same time. Regardless of your pet’s age, breed, gender and size, try to make time for daily play sessions.
Making your puppy perform tricks is among the best possible fun games to play with your dog. You can perform the tricks along with your puppy or just make the canine respond to simple commands on its own.
Some?dog breeds?are more susceptible to training than others, so you need to be patient.
Apart from responding to common commands like ‘sit’, ‘circle’, ‘roll over’, ‘high five’, you can teach your dog how to carry out numerous interesting tasks. Moving through obstacles, climbing on top of something, jumping through hoops and so forth and just some ideas to help you teach your canine pal some impressive new skills.
All of the above mentioned games can be played both outdoors and inside your house or apartment. If you don?t have a spacious home, just move around some furniture to make more room for free movements and you?ll be able to play these popular fun indoor games for dogs with your own pup.
Don’t make the mistake of believing the false prejudice that old dogs can’t be taught new tricks. Teaching your pet something new, regardless of its age, is an excellent way to stimulate it on a mental level and to strengthen your bond with it as a pet parent.
Even senior canines, which are well advanced in years, need to have some fun from time to time. Are you ready to play? What is your favorite game? Leave a comment to share with us.