Fun Games for Dogs

Dogs just want to have fun! While ​serious training is important for all dogs, playtime is just as important. You can incorporate games into training as well, but sometimes it should be just about the fun.

Playtime provides your dog with exercise and mental stimulation. It is also a wonderful way to bond with your dog. Playing games with your dog can also help prevent boredom and the potential behavioral issues that come with it.

Some types of games are great for indoor playtime while others require outdoor space. Many are wonderful activities for kids and dogs to share. You can also use these games to help teach your dog how to play. Of course, it will be helpful for your dog to know some basic commands before playing these games.

Check out some fun games for your dog that can keep your dog busy and entertained every day.

Fetch

playing fetch with dog

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Many dogs have a natural instinct to fetch. Other dogs can be taught how. A good game of fetch can be played almost anywhere. Play indoors with a soft toy or outdoors in a fenced-in area with a ball or disc. For dogs that really love to run (and to avoid slobbery hands) try the ChuckIt! Ball Launcher. They even make a softer one for indoor use. Buy on Amazon

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Tug-of-War

dog and owner play tug of war

Photo © Ryan McVay / Getty Images

Many dogs really enjoy a good game of tug-of-war. It gives them an outlet for their energy and natural predatory instinct. It can also wear them out. To safely play tug-of-war, make sure your dog knows a release command. Then, find a good sturdy tug toy and tug away. Give your dog chances to win sometimes as this is a confidence booster.

 

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Hide and Seek

dog-hide-and-seek-JettaProductionsWalterHodges-getty-84303607.jpg

Jetta Productions/Walter Hodges/Getty Images

Hide and seek isn’t just for kids. Dogs can really enjoy this game. It can also be a fun way to practice the recall command.

First, tell your dog to stay. Next, grab one of your dog’s favorite toys, chews or treats and go find a good place to hide. When you are ready, call your dog to come to you. Squeak the toy or shake the treats to entice your dog to find you. Once your dog finds you, reward your dog with excited praise as well as the toy or treat you are holding.

 

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Find the Treat (or Toy)

 Lysandra Cook/Moment/Getty Images

Dogs have superior senses of smell, and most love to use their noses to find interesting things. Let your dog use her brain and her nose to find hidden goodies.

First, have your dog stay out of sight (or put her in another room or a crate). Then, hide her favorite treats in various places around the room. Bring your dog back in and tell her to “go find!” If help is needed, you can lead her around with a leash or point to areas for her to explore.

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Interactive Treat Games

interactive dog toys

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There are a variety of fun interactive dog toys on the market that require some problem-solving. You can purchase dog treat dispensers and dog puzzles of varying difficulty at many pet supply shops. You can even make your own at home by cutting holes in a water bottle or other plastic containers. Fill the toys with yummy stinky treats and encourage your dog to figure out how to get the treats out. This engages your dog’s brain and sense of smell, satisfying his instinct to hunt.

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Dog Sports

golden retriever doing agility
 Photo © Joe Camerino

Is your dog high-energy? Super-smart but a “troublemaker?” Maybe she just needs a hobby. If routine exercise and regular games are not enough to satisfy your dog’s needs, then dog sports might do the trick. Getting involves in a dog sport is a great way to engage your dog in play on a regular basis. Explore the many different types of dogs sports out there and find out which ones may suit your dog.

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Safety First

Remember to watch your dog for signs of exhaustion or overheating when you are playing. Stop if your dog seems tired, frustrated or shows signs of agitation or anxiety. Also be aware of your surroundings when playing with your dog. When other dogs or people are around, it may create a dangerous distraction, especially if your dog is off-leash. Have fun, but be safe!

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