Some dogs need more stimulation than the weather or our bodies are able to provide. Here are some fun games to wear out your dynamic dog.
- Play Hide and Seek. Put your dog into a sit or down and tell her to wait. If you have never played this game, walk a couple steps away only, duck down and cheerily call your dog to come. Make a big deal out of it and with practice you can hide further away and in different parts of your home.
- Feed meals out of a Kong or other treat dispensing toy instead of the bowl, it may sound silly but the simple act of moving food around is much more stimulating than simply dropping his head in a bowl and devouring it. Only for kibble eaters.
- Have your dog lie down and wait as you slowly toss little pieces of his kibble on the floor behind you. Raw feeders, divide food up into small bowls and do the same thing. Great for impulse control and uses their noggin with an otherwise brainless activity.
- When playing fetch, tell your dog to wait as you lower the toy and take it as you toss it (only if he did not jump). Once your dog is running to you, cue come so you reinforce your recall. Trouble with drop? Have a second toy handy to squeak. As soon as your dog drops the toy, toss the first as the reward.
- Play tug: Have your dog wait then cue take it. Tug back and forth only for a few seconds, cue drop and show your dog a treat if that word has fallen on deaf doggie ears in the past. Practice often and keep the game short to prevent overarousal. The more you practice, the quicker you can phase out the lure.
- Some dogs like to chase drugstore bubbles.
- Train your dog to walk over (jumping can cause injury), crawl under and go around a hula hoop. Good times, all while you watch your favorite TV show.
- Name your toys! Hold one and say green ball, mark it with a yes when your dog touches his nose to the toy. Next, ask for a sit and wait then place the toy just a couple feet away around a corner. Tell your dog to find the green ball. Throw a party when he does! Just like hide and seek, you can make this more challenging with practice.
- Play tag. One person holds your dog and the other person holds a treat in their hand. The person holding the pup says find John then remains silent. The person holding the treat can make a little sound if the pup isn’t getting it. Give the treat and praise your pup when he finds you. Add distance once he gets the game.
- Recalls in the hallway, one person holds the dog and the other gets him excited then says come and give him tons of praise when he does. Reward, this is a lifesaving exercise!
- Take your dog to a tennis court and run around so he chases you. Never chase your dog, it is very dangerous to teach your dog it is fun to run away from you. Stop on occasion during this and have your dog sit so he learns to listen to his commands even when excited.
- Find the cookie. Have your dog lay on his bed and hide treats in various corners. Tell him to find the cookie and watch him enjoy lots of sniffing. Great outlet for dogs who like to pick up nasty things outside.
IMPORTANT: These games should be initiated by you when she’s being good, not as a response to her tossing a toy at you.