Fun Games to Play with your Pooch
Like us humans, dogs are one of the only animals who play well into adulthood. A study showed that play benefits the relationship between you and your dog, and the ability of us to play together plays a huge part of what makes the bond so strong. At North Paws Ranch, playing with our pooches is one of our top priorities to encourage good social dog behavior.
Here are a few games to keep you and your pooch busy for hours…
For beginners, use a soft frisbee as your dog may be discouraged from playing frisbee in the future if he’s hit with a hard disc. Start with getting your dog excited by tossing the frisbee in short distances or rolling it on the ground. Encourage and praise him when he runs after the frisbee and brings it back. Once your dog is worked up and excited, you can start to throw it further.
Taking your pooch on a day trip to the beach can be lots of fun for them, especially those who already enjoy swimming. Bring along some dog toys to play fetch in the water (but be sure to check they float)! If you don’t have a beach nearby, or your pup isn’t the strongest of swimmers then you can play water games in your own yard. Filling up a plastic kiddie pool with water will do the trick – your dog will love it! You could toss some toys into the pool and turn it into a ‘bobbing for apples’ game.
If your dog likes the garden hose – get it out and let him run free while being splashed. Not all dogs are fans of the garden hose, though, so be sure to stop if you get a negative reaction.
Hide and seek
Most dogs love to play hide and seek and they find thrills in finding you. Have your dog stay while you find somewhere to hide. Once that’s done, call your dog and praise him when he finds you. Maybe offer a treat to reward him for finding you.
If your dog doesn’t have a good ‘stay’, you can just ask someone to help keep him distracted while you hide.
Doggy treat hunt
Like hide and seek, have him stay while you hide treats around the house. However, if it’s your first time playing this with your dog then place the treats around in his sight to get him used to the rules of the game. It’ll take a while for him to stop relying so heavily on visual cues and to put their excellent sniffing ability to good use. Once your dog has gone through a few rounds, you can make the game more challenging by hiding the treats in tougher spots.
Putting toys away
This one is going to save you the struggle! Have your pooch drop the toy while standing over the box. This may take a while for your dog to catch onto, but with patience, you’ll have a pooch that’ll be able to clean up after himself. How great is that?!
Chasing bubbles is one of the easiest games you can play with your pup. If your dog doesn’t know how to chase bubbles, start off by blowing only a couple at a time so he doesn’t become overwhelmed. Point the bubbles out to them and encourage them to chase after the bubbles. Catch some of the bubbles yourself to show him, if he’s still hesitant.
It’s okay to use bubbles for children. They’re non-toxic, however, if too much is ingested then your dog could wind up with an upset stomach. Remember to wipe your best friend’s eyes after this game as the bubble fluid could cause irritation.
Find an empty laundry basket or toy box, and grab your dog’s favorite ball. Drop the ball into the basket while saying “drop”. Once you’ve done it enough times and you think your pup understands, pass the ball to your puppy component. Every time he drops the ball into the laundry basket as you say “drop”, reward him with lots of enthusiasm. It may take him a while to get used to this command, but reward him with treats when relevant.
Red light, green light
Children can also get involved in this game! All participants spread out in the yard. One person is the game moderator and instead of saying “red light” and “green light”, the keywords will be “stay” and “come” to make it easier for your pooch to understand. The moderator will then call out the commands, which both humans and dogs will have to follow. Be sure to give him treats as he follows each command.
Tug of war is great physical exercise and it’s a great way for your dog to practice good manners. There’s one main rule when playing tug of war with your pooch – stop immediately if his teeth touch your skin. Some dogs may struggle more than others as they get pretty worked up when in play mode. If you continuously stop when his teeth touch your skin, then your dog will realize that “the fun game stops when I mouth my person”. Despite all the rumors, tug of war doesn’t make your dog aggressive, or dominant, it’ll make him more playful and fun to be around. Remember, it’s important to let your dog win as it makes the game more engaging and it shows that you’re one of the most fun humans!
All you’ll need for this game is a stairwell and a ball. Sit at the bottom of the stairs and command your pooch to “sit” and “stay.” Throw the ball to the top of the stairs and command your dog to “go!” Let him sprint up the stairs as fast as his little legs can take him to catch the ball, and ensure he comes back down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury. This game is an excellent energy burner but must only be played by pups over the age of one as puppies still have developing joints and be at risk for a long-term energy.
Playing with dogs can be a very rewarding experience that can lead to a great workout. When your dogs come to play with us at North Paws Ranch, we ensure that everyone is in a spacious area and that everyone is having fun!