Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Games You Should Be Playing with Your Dog

Play these special games with your dog.

It's crucial that you spend time playing with your dog. Not only does it help her get rid of excess energy and decrease the chances she'll engage in inappropriate behaviors, but it also helps the two of you bond. And it's just plain fun.

Here are some games that are good for dogs' mental and physical health.

Fetch with Balls and Flying Objects

Fetch is a fantastic game to play with your dog. You can use a ball or a flying disc. The game can be endlessly adjusted based on your dog's athleticism, ability, and the physical space you have available.

But some dogs don't automatically know how to play fetch. Don't worry—it can be taught. Follow the steps in this article: "How to Teach a Dog to Fetch."

Agility

Canine agility is teaching your dog to go through an obstacle course. This really helps your dog stay mentally sharp and bonds you while you train your dog how to perform the various obstacles. You can find a local class to teach you both, or you can set up an obstacle course at home.

You can use a child's tube toy for running through or a large box with both ends open. Prop a hula hoop on its end and teach your dog to jump through it. Use a sturdy stick or pole sitting on two crates for your dog to jump over. Just remember to start low. Stay positive and give lots of praise.

Hide and Seek

You and your dog can play hide and seek once he reliably knows how to sit and stay. Find a treat or object that can hold treats and show it to your dog. Then have her sit and stay and go into another room to hide the object. Then release her and tell her to "find it."

You might need to start very easy, by showing your dog where you're putting the object until she understands the find it command.

You can play this while you're outside on walks too if you have another person available to hide the treat or hold your dog while you do.

Teach Your Dog English

One fun thing to do with a dog is to teach her as many toy names as you can. Few things are as impressive and fun as watching a dog pick the right toy out of a line-up of twenty things each time.

Start with two toys. Pick one, say its name, and toss it for your dog to fetch. Give her a treat when she does it. Repeat that a few times and then do the other toy.

Next, put the toys on the floor next to each other and say the name of the first one. Give your dog a treat when she goes to it. Then say the other one. If she doesn't know them yet, go back to the first step.

Once your dog can tell the difference between the first two toys reliably, add a third, and so on.

This exercise is super fun for both you and your dog and helps her stay mentally sharp.

You May Also Like These Articles:

How to Teach a Dog to Fetch

How to Teach a Dog to Play Fetch Using Clicker Training

How to Teach Your Dog to Sit

How to Teach a Dog to Stay

Petting vs. Praise: Which Does a Dog Like Best?


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