15 Fun Games To Play With Your Dog
Along with exercise and training, playing fun games with your dog is a great way to bond and will also help your pup to burn on excess energy. Most dogs love playing games, and enjoy the mental and physical stimulation playful challenges bring.
You can step up your dog’s fun with these 15 fun games to play with your dog:
1. Back and Forth Fetch
Most dogs love the fetch but the game is fairly basic. You throw the ball, the dog chases it, and brings it back so you can throw it again. To ramp up the game of fetch, try this:
To start, you’ll need two or more balls. Throw or roll one of the balls in one direction. When your dog chases it and brings it back, throw another ball in the opposite direction. The pace is much faster than typical fetch and your dog will enjoy the excitement of having more than one ball to chase.
2. Hide and Seek Fetch
Fetch is a great for fit, active dogs. Older dogs or dogs suffering from other health problems may not be able to handle as much running or jumping as the normal game takes. For dogs that can still run but need less action, the game of hide and seek fetch is perfect. Your dog will need to know how to find a toy before playing this game.
To start, hide your dog’s favorite toy. Once they find the toy, have them bring it to you. Once they bring it to you, throw it so they can fetch it. This game is great because it uses mental and physical energy and creates a fun challenge for the dog who is instantly rewarded by the throwing of the toy.
3. Basketball Fetch
Basketball fetch is probably what you’d guess by the name. You throw the dog’s ball and they fetch it. However, rather than bringing it back to you, they bring it back and drop it in a basket. For smart pups, you can create more challenges by moving the basket away from you or using more than one basket. This game requires teaching your dog to drop a ball in a basket.
4. Fetch Tricks
Another way to make fetch more fun and challenging is to have your dog do a trick before throwing their ball. Some tricks to try are high five, shake, sit, and spin.
Once your dog does the trick, praise them and throw the ball. This game is not only fun and exciting, it also reinforces training and offers an instant reward for being obedient. Try to keep the pace quick and switch up the tricks as your dog masters the game.
For dogs that like to chase, another fun game is to let them chase bubbles. Of course, the bubbles pop and finding the new bubbles keeps the dog interested and challenged.
This game works best with dog friendly bubbles. Yes, they are a thing. They are more attractive to dogs because they come in scents such as peanut butter and bacon. If you don’t like blowing bubbles yourself, no worries-you can also buy a dog bubble blower machine.
6. Seek and Treat
Seek and Treat is a great game because it can be played indoors or outside. It’s perfect for rainy days, or when your dog needs limited activity, and mental stimulation. It’s also perfect for dogs of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. It can be made as easy or difficult as your pup requires by adjusting the level of difficulty in finding the treat.
The game is simple and easy to teach. All it takes is hiding treats around the house or yard and giving your dog the seek command (or whatever command you choose). You will lead your dog toward the treat until they grasp the game. Most dogs love to play and you can encourage reluctant dogs by simply offering a more decadent, smelly treat. If the dog has trouble finding the treat, hide the treat in plain sight and slowly make it harder to find as the dog gets better at searching.
7. Find the Toy
Find the Toy is more challenging than Seek and Treat because it doesn’t revolve around food. It’s great for dogs that are more toy oriented than food oriented. It’s also perfect for dogs on a special diet.
Find the toy involves hiding your dog’s favorite toy and then encouraging them to find it. Once they do, offer tons of praise and then hide the toy again. In the beginning, it’s fine to hide the toy in front of them while they learn they are supposed to find it. You can also treat your dog after they find it, if you feed treats.
You can make the game more difficult by adding more toys and hiding them in more difficult places. By alternating the places you hide them in the home (you place the toys higher or lower, under or behind, etc.), you make the game more challenging. This is another great game for dogs of all fitness levels that can be played inside or outside.
8. Will Work For Food
Most dogs like to work and most also like food. An easy, fun game for dogs is to have them work for their dinner.
To play, simply add some tasty bits to the dog’s regular meal. Then separate out several portions of the food and hide it around the house, or yard, or put inside puzzle toys. Once the food is hidden, allow the dog to hunt for their meal. Dogs love this game because it’s instantly rewarding while being enriching and entertaining.
9. Indoor Agility
Another fun game that can be played indoors and can accommodate nearly any dog is Indoor Agility. Indoor Agility simply involves setting up an agility course in your living room then leading your dog around the ‘ring’ with a treat.
You can purchase indoor agility equipment or you can use what you have by moving dining room chairs, using broom sticks or pool noodles for jumps, making a tunnel out of a blanket, or using a hula hoop as a jumping ring.
10. Dog Puzzles
If you need a game that your dog can play by themselves, dog puzzles are perfect. You can Google DIY dog puzzles and make your own or you can buy readymade dog puzzles. There are tons of puzzles on the market for all levels of genius. Dogs love puzzles because they are challenging and filled with yummy treats. People love puzzles because they keep dogs busy while their humans are doing other non doggy things.
11. Flirt Pole
Not only for dogs in training, a flirt pole is fun for any dog that likes to chase. A flirt pole is a pole with a piece of cloth attached to the end. It can provide great entertainment for pets that love to hunt and chase things. You can buy a flirt pole or you can Google DIY Flirt Poles and make one for yourself out of PVC or a wooden dowel and an old rag. Once you have your flirt pole, simply drag it around the yard and watch your dog’s inner hunter come out and chase it.
12. Snuffle Mat
Like dog puzzles, the snuffle mat is a brain game your dog can play alone. A snuffle matt is a rubber mat that is covered with strips of fleece. How it works is, you hide tiny bites of food and treats between the fleece strips and the dog will have fun finding them. Dogs love this game because they get to use their nose and they get treats. You can make your own snuffle mat or you can buy one. Snuffle mats are washable so they are easy to clean and reuse. They also come in many shapes and sizes so nearly any dog can enjoy one.
13. Hot and Cold
Similar to the kid’s game, Hot and Cold is a communication game that you can play with your dog after they learn how to find things. How it works is, you hide a treat and ask your dog to find it. As your dog moves toward the treat, talk to your pet in a higher pitched more excited tone. As they move away from the treat, use a calmer, slower tone. When they find it, use super excited praise. This game takes some practice but will help teach your dog to follow your verbal cues and is challenging.
14. Wild Man
A fun game that you can play with your dog, that also teaches impulse control, is Wild Man. Wild Man can be played inside or outside, depending on your preference. How you play is pretty simple but your dog will need to know basic commands, such as sit, to be able to play.
You start the game by jumping up and down, running in circles, and basically getting your dog hyped up and super excited. Once your dog is in an excited state and moving around, freeze and ask your dog to sit. Once your dog sits, pause for a moment, then go all wild man again. This game takes some practice but active dogs love it. Once your dog masters the sit, you can add different commands, such as down, to make it more challenging.
15. Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a fun game that can be played inside or outside. You dog must know how to sit and stay to be able to play. The game is simple, you choose a place and ask the dog to sit and stay while you go and hide. Once hidden, you call the dog to you. Once your dog finds you, you praise and place them back in their stay spot while you go hide again.
If you’re playing outside, you can incorporate more exercise by throwing a toy after your dogs finds you. Dogs typically learn this game fast since they love using their nose and of course, love finding their humans!
We hope you enjoy these game ideas. We’d love to hear your favorites. Please pass along to your family and friends.