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Best Games for Dogs & Puppies Styles of Dog Play by Personality 57 Ways to Entertain Your Dog at Home 18 Signs of Bored Dog Best 43 Indoor Games for Dogs Best 26 Outdoor Games for Dogs Cognitive Training Dog Games Frisbee Games for Dog How to Play with Your Dog 34 Impulse Control Dog Games Tug of War Game for Your Dog Crate Training Dog Games Fun Games for Your Dog Brain Training Games for Dogs Obedience Class Dog Games Dog vs Childre Games Fun Christmas Games for Dog Kong Stuffing & Food Dispensing Toys Games to Play with Your Dog in the Park Best Beach Games for Dogs How much Exercise Dog Needs per Day? Scent Games for Dogs Games & Toys for Blind Dogs Games for Children & Dogs Dog Memory Puzzle & Game Puzzles for Dogs and Puppies Action Games for Dogs Dog Game Types
So, how to know if your dog is bored? While some emotions may be harder to determine, boredom is one that most dogs display quite clearly. While different dogs will exhibit various reactions to boredom, the solutions are the same: find activities your dog will find challenging and spend time providing the stimulation the dog needs.
Please, Note: Signs of boredom will be different for every dog, and severity is often breed-dependent! Few of these signs could show Stress and / or Separation Anxiety. Please, consult with your vet or dog trainer if you are unsure!
1. Destructive Behavior Is your dog chewing on shoes, the couch, etc? He may be bored. Too much energy and not enough outlet equals a nice chew fest.
2. Digging If you have a digger in the backyard, you guessed it, he is probably bored! Digging is a self-rewarding behavior and is a great energy releaser or at least your dog things so. You, probably not so much.
3. Tail Chasing Though there are other reasons dogs may do this obsessive behavior, pent up energy can be one of them.
4. Demand or Excessive Barking Does your dog bark at you incessantly? Guess what? He IS trying to tell you something. Possibly, I am bored, play with me!
5. Listlessness On the other side of the coin, your dog may just lie there or act "listless." She may have "given up" on life, so to speak, and figures there is no end to her boredom. She may even be depressed.
6. Biting Is your dog following you around, biting your clothes, ankles, anything he can reach? This "puppish" behavior could be a sign he has nothing to do with all that energy he has, and biting you seemed like a good idea to him. Probably not to you, however.
7. Whining While apparently random whining can be caused by stress, it can also be caused by boredom. Especially in young dogs, you may find them whining at the door when they just went to the bathroom, sitting and whining, or following you around whining. Take this as a clear sign that they are begging for something to do.
8. Harassing Other Dogs If you have more than one dog, your bored pup may decide a good diversion is to attack one of your other dogs. While it is all in fun to the harasser, the victim may not agree. Best to keep your dog occupied than to chance what may turn into a fight.
9. Getting Into Trouble Aside from chewing, your bored dog may pull all of your clothes out of the laundry basket, strew garbage everywhere, or decide all your pillows should be off your bed.
10. Getting in Your Face Dogs understand body language better than we do. Does your dog force himself in your lap and put his face right in yours, staring at you? He is probably asking for attention or something to do.
11. Pacing Is your dog pacing your floor and won't sit still? He is probably bored and is looking for something to do. Some will even get the "zoomies" and run full tilt through your house.
12. Excessive Licking or Chewing Some dogs, if bored enough, may over-groom or chew on their paws just for something to do. This could also be a sign of an allergy, so be sure to talk to your vet. Some dog's may lick you over and over too.
13. Constantly Seeking Attention Although you may enjoy structured activities with your dog, he may need more time. Does your dog try to climb onto your lap when you are using the computer? Does she bark or whine to get your attention? There is a message there.
14. Obsessive or Compulsive behaviors. A really bored dog may develop serious, destructive behaviors such as chewing his feet, continuous scratching, or tail chasing. These signs of boredom are often missed because owners attribute them to other causes, and the dog may have more than one problem. Parasites could cause itching and biting or scratching, for example. Report these signs to your veterinarian, who may be able to prescribe drugs that can help with these problems while you look for ways to keep your dog busy.
15. Stealing Food If your dog is getting the right nutrition, but is still breaking into the biscuit container or stealing food off the counter, take note. Many people eat more when they are bored, and our pets do the same - a dog who may not normally dig through the trash, when bored, can become a counter-surfing, trash-eating monster. One way to counteract this bad habit is by making their mealtimes more fun. Giving a bowl full of dry kibble is boring. Putting the meal in a puzzle toy, maze, slow feeder, instituting the meal into a training session, hiding it around the house, sticking the meal in a treat ball - there are a ton of great options for more fun dinners.
16. Pawing At You For Attention! Most dogs want attention from their owners, and will do whatever they can to get it. This may include normal stuff like sitting in your lap, following you around the house, and so on. When a dog is bored, though, they will take it to the extreme. Pawing, jumping up, extra licking, and neediness are all things to watch out for. Going to their human friend and the one who provides the entertainment, is a natural next step when your pup is looking for something to do. If your dog is getting desperate, do not brush them off or push them away. Mental stimulation is critical, especially for the super-smart, high-drive breeds. Puzzle toys are a great way to provide entertainment, especially for food-driven dogs. Mental stimulation is a fantastic add-on once your pup is exercised well!
17. Trying To Escape If your otherwise well-behaved dog has taken to escaping the yard, or slipping out the front door, it may be their way of telling you they need more fun in their life. They may also dig under fences, chew or scratch at the door, or leap over gates, all of which are signs something needs to change. You can start by making the outside world less appealing by taking them out into it more often. Letting them interact with other dogs and people can help, too. Your dog wants friends.
18. Exsessive Sleeping Just like people, many dogs take a nap when they are feeling bored, simply because they have nothing better to do. It is common for dogs to spend about 50% of the day asleep, 30% resting, and 20% being active. But if your dog is lazing about more than necessary, you may want to play games and get them out of the house more often. Do, however, consult a vet if they are lethargic or won't get up, as this may be a sign of a health issue.
STYLES OF DOG PLAY BY PERSONALITY This article proudly presented by WWW.DOGTIME.COM
Many people think of fetch or tug-of-war when it comes to games to play with your dogs. However, there are some pups who might be too old, nervous, or just not thrilled with the prospect of one of these standard dog games. In fact, they might rather go for a long walk and track a scent, learn new tricks, or snuggle extra close to you.
Dogs like to play differently, depending on their breed, age, and of course, their individual personality. Just because your pooch has not responded to your dog games in the past does not mean they won't ever play.
It just means you have not found the right game for your pup yet. It can be frustrating trying to find a game your dog enjoys, but it is totally worth the effort. Games can be used to give your dog exercise, mental stimulation, and even a sense of purpose. It is also a great excuse to spend some time bonding with your dog. And that is why you got a dog in the first place, right? Here are six common styles of dog play and how to find the right game for your dog:
Games For The Jock Dog The jock dog is spunky and athletic. They are always excited when you come home, love bringing you toys for tug of war, and love exploring. If this is your dog, you can try out a lot of activities. Favorite games include:
Fetch - the longer the throw, the better, Tug-of-war, Agility sports, Flyball, Frisbee, Long hikes, Jogging or even running, Trips to the dog park - let the dogs play their own games and tire each other out! Anything high energy, both mental and physical, will keep the jock dog entertained.
The Ball Hound If your dog hides and retrieves toys, balls, and occasionally one of your socks, they are definitely a ball hound. Keeping these toy-obsessed doggies happy involves stepping up your standard fetch game. If you have a Retriever, chances are they love the water as well. Try out fetch in a nearby lake, or try out one of these other ball hound activities.
The Couch Potato Would your dog rather sit on the couch with you and binge watch Netflix instead of play in an active manner? It can be hard to convince a coach potato pup to get their energy up, but it is vital to their health. Taking your leisurely pup out on a long stroll is a low-impact way of keeping them healthy and strong. Here are a few other ways to keep your pup active if they prefer a more sedentary lifestyle:
Learn and practice basic commands. That may not seem like much of a game, but your pup will find it fun.
Play an indoor game of mini-fetch on a rug or carpet
Scatter their food in a few "hiding" places so they have to move and look for it
Get a puzzle feeder for some added stimulation at meal time
Have a doggy play date. Sometimes a more active friend can convince a pooch to play.
The Diggity Dog Does your dog love to dig? Some dogs just feel the urge to paw and claw at furniture, in backyards, and in your dirty laundry more than others. To keep your dog's digging behavior from becoming destructive, try giving them their own place to dig, and reward them with treats. You can provide them with a sandbox or a place in the yard with plenty of dirt.
You may also want to try tossing their toys under beds or low tables during a game of fetch. The feeling of tunneling may appeal to their digger roots. Speaking of tunnels, some digger dogs love to play in a good kiddie tunnel, too. You can recycle your kids' old tunnel toys or buy a tunnel just for your pooch!
The Nose Dogs bred to track scents, like Beagles and hounds, tend to follow their nose wherever it leads them. They have an instinct to track down scents, which can be used for several different activities. If you really want to go above and beyond, you can even train your scent hound how to be a search and rescue dog. Or you can simply take scent work classes just for fun. Lots of doggy daycares and training facilities offer these fun classes that provide a great way for owners to bond with their dogs.
Another fun game to play might be a version of hide and seek. In this version, you hide a valuable item, like a toy or treat, then give your dog a command to sniff it out. Start with obvious locations, then move to more challenging ones. Of course, a classic long walk can provide your dog with plenty of smells to sniff. Try walking somewhere you have not been before. The new odors will give your pup some mental stimulation.
The Smart Cookie You know if you have a smart cookie pup. They tend to somehow be a step ahead of you, whether its grabbing the leash for a walk or chewing up your favorite shoe because you did not give them their dinner on time. In order to keep your smart pup from becoming destructive out of boredom, play some mentally stimulating games with them. If you have the ability to commit to agility lessons, your smart cookie dog would benefit immensely. If not, here are a few other challenging games to introduce to your pup:
Herding exercises. You do not need to own sheep. Some trainers will offer classes or private lessons.
Learn new, creative tricks. Has your pup learned any Harry Potter spells?
Puzzle toys. Give them a mental workout.
Name game. Assign a name to each of your dog's toys. When they bring the right one, reward them. Introduce new toys from time to time.
Maze or obstacle course. You can get really creative. Lots of people make mazes out of snow or obstacle courses out of pool noodles.
Do not forget the physical workout, too. Even many brainy dogs will have fun with jock dog games.
DOG GAME TYPES This article proudly presented by WWW.MEDIUM.COM and McCann Dog Training
While we can make anything fun for our dogs, it is nice to start with something they will find enjoyable. So make a list of the obvious things your dog likes and then plan your games around those likes. Your dog will appreciate being able to drain some of their mental energy and you will, no doubt, appreciate having a calm and content dog in the house.
Trick Training Does your dog love learning new tricks? There are so many great tricks you can teach your dog.
Sniffing Scent Games Does your dog love sniffing? Would they make a great tracking dog? Here is a super opportunity to find out! Start by hiding treats in easy locations and as your dog shows that they understand how to use their nose, you can make the hiding spots harder to find.
Seeking Games There are wonderful things out there that you can use to hide treats in. All sorts of balls and toys that will distribute kibble to your dog. You can also buy or make your own "snuffle mat" which you can use to drain some of your dog's energy while they eat their dinner. If you do not feed kibble, treats broken up will work as well. Any high pile carpet like these Dirty Paws doormats will make a great snuffle mat, but you can find snuffle mats on Amazon or make your own.
Retrieving Games Every dog can learn to retrieve - be it in their genes or not. If your dog already loves to retrieve, you can add further criteria, such as delivery to hand or search and retrieve, where you hide an object for your dog to retrieve for you.
Tug Games These will go hand in hand with your retrieve training. Teaching your dog to tug is a great game that does not require a lot of space.
Commercial Mind Games & Puzzles You can purchase all kind of brain games for your dog.
Crate Training Games If you are looking for ways to help your dog love his crate, try playing crate games with him. Crate games are a fantastic way to teach your dog to run in and out of the crate on command willingly, and they are fun to play for both of you. Using games with the crate is especially helpful since many dogs are not initially happy with being confined. By moving slowly through these fun processes, your dog will learn to love his crate.
Food Games Most dogs love to eat. Most also love to use their noses. Why not combine the two into a game? Food games allow dogs to use both their physical capabilities as well as their brains. You might be surprised at how much it can tire them out! Another great thing about these simple games is that they can be played with dogs of any age, even senior dogs. Many dogs start to experience diminished eye-sight and hearing as they get older, but all they need is a working sniffer to enjoy these fun games. Dogs often end up looking forward to their food games and get very excited. Here are a few easy but fun games you can play with your dog.
Playing is an important part of your dog's daily routine. It is important that he spends an ample amount of time playing so he can stay healthy, fit, and happy. Playing can also be a fun activity for you and your family to participate in and will bring you closer to your dog. There are certain things to remember, though, when you play with your dog. You do not want to promote bad behavior or let your dog get too aggressive.
Keeping a dog, also means that you should look after their physical needs also, which becomes quite impossible in winters and rainy seasons. Heavy rains and snowfalls can make going on walks impossible, but you can keep your dogs engaged with a little bit of creativity. An emotional support animal makes your life so much better and livable. They offer constant support and unconditional love and makes the world a much better place.
Knowing how an emotional support animal makes your life better, many people are looking to get their beloved friend and supporter. But things do not end here only. Without proper exercise not only will your dog become lazy but they do not get mental stimulation.
When you take your dogs for a walk, they get mental stimulation by interacting with other dogs and wildlife. However, when it is snowing or raining outside, it becomes difficult to leave the comfort of the house. In such s situation, finding dog indoor games for winter months is a great way of warding away boredom and having something fun to do.
Playing doggie games is one of the most enjoyable indoor activities for dogs. There are a number of puppies and dogs games to play inside the house. If your companion animal is becoming bored and showing signs of destructive behavior such as unwanted barking or chewing, it is probably due to the fact that they are not getting enough of this stimulation.
If there are chewed up shoes or curtains in your apartment, then you know what is really happening. Besides, playing with dogs is really fun and you also get plenty of mental and physical exercise. Your ESA needs attention and some activity to keep them engaged. So, how to entertain your dog?
You can play these games with your dog every single day. Your dog will let you know when it becomes too much: If he is noticeably unmotivated or slow, you should take a day off. Different dog breeds vary a lot in how much and how often they want to play and train. While some dogs from working breeds such as German Shepherds can play all day long, others, for example a Pug - want to have their well-deserved breaks. Just like people, dogs have a daily rhythm of activity and rest.
They usually are most awake in the mornings and evenings. Especially at night, they can be pretty pushy and needy for attention. Try out the games above during this time and see if it makes your dog calmer and easier to manage. If you have more than one dog, you might need to separate them for the games so that they do not interfere and show resource guarding tendencies. If the dogs enjoy the games they might become pretty protective over the treats. It is best to be safe and not let them get into any struggles over whose turn it is.
Why to Play? Playing helps you bond with your dog. Playtime helps you and your dog build a closer bond through teamwork and communication. Even games like tug are more collaborative than many think. Playing with your dog teaches bite inhibition. Many games involved teaching your dog how to control his mouth around your toys and hands, even when he is excited. Dogs with bite inhibition that are careful with their teeth and the pressure they use are much safer dogs to be around!
Playing with your dog improves impulse control. Impulse control is the art of waiting and asking nicely when you really want something or are otherwise overly excited. Many dogs that bark, jump, lunge, or snatch at objects could benefit from lots more impulse control work. Many games are perfect venues for teaching your dog to be polite even when he is so excited about the ball! Playing with your dog teaches new training skills. Some games are a great way to teach your dog new skills. If your dog really loves to play a particular game, why do not you use it as a reward to either improve her manners or teach her a brand new skill? Many games, especially competitive sports, also require teaching your dog new skills to succeed.
How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day? The short answer is 30 to 60 minutes on average. However, the daily exercise amount may vary significantly depending on a dog's breed, age, and health condition. For some "lazy" breeds, like French Bulldogs and Bullmastiffs, a 30-minute slow walk will be enough, whereas other more active dogs, like Dalmatians, might need more than an hour of intense exercise every day. However, even the laziest dog needs some physical activity, so aim to exercise your furry baby at least half an hour every day.
Also, be aware of the training peculiarities of your pup's breed. Some dogs, like huskies, are natural "marathon runners" and can take longer exercise sessions, while others, like Jack Russell terriers, are "sprinters", so their training should be intensive rather than long and monotonous.
Puppies are usually way more energetic than adult dogs of the same breed. However, as their bodies are still growing and developing, several short, but active games would be better than one long exercise. Adult dogs can exercise longer and harder, just be mindful of any medical conditions they have, and consult with a vet in advance. Senior dogs tend to have weaker joints and get tired faster, so you might want to slow the pace of your dog's activities.
How Much to Play A dog needs to play a significant amount of play time to get the proper exercise needed to stay in shape and remain healthy. For grown dogs, this means an hour of active play each day, split up into two thirty-minute chunks. Additionally, your dog should have something to do when you are not around to play with him. Dogs can get bored when they are at home alone, and may resort to destructive behaviors like digging and chewing furniture if they do not have something to keep them occupied. You can do this by giving your dog a toy to play with. One idea for keeping your dog busy for awhile is to give him a food-stuffed toy, one that he will have to somehow open in order to reach the treat inside.
You should remember that you do not want your dog to spend too much time outside playing. A dog that spends all his time playing outside will forget his manners when he comes inside. If you keep your dog outside most of the time, he will become isolated and independent. He will be less likely to be trained and will become more difficult to deal with. Spending time playing outside is healthy, but it should be done together and as an activity, and not as a constant.
How to Play While any kind of aerobic activity like running, jumping, swimming, etc. - will get the job done when it comes to exercise, your furry friend will benefit from playing structured dog games. Games like fetch, tug-of-war, find the treat, and anything else that has an objective or goal will teach your dog control and will bring you closer. Dogs love toys, so whatever dog games you can come up with using one of his toys will be added fun.
Puppy Games Young dogs need special time to play as well. However, more than adult dogs, they are constantly learning while they play. For this reason, it is even more important to teach your puppy the right way to play. Puppies will tend to bite while they play, as a way of testing their limits and learning. This is normal, but should not be encouraged. If you are playing and your puppy starts to bite, you should stop playtime and make sure he knows that it is because he was biting. You should also play the right puppy games to prevent biting. Tug of war and any game that involves rough housing is not a good puppy game. These encourage biting.
Where to Play When playing with your dog, you should make sure you are somewhere safe and contained. A backyard with a fence is recommended. If your dog is mature and well-trained enough to play around other dogs, you should consider taking him to a dog park. Make sure you scout the park for any danger areas and stay away from aggressive dogs. Also, make sure your dog is wearing identification.
TOP 10 FUN GAMES TO PLAY WITH YOUR DOG This material proudly presented by WWW.PUPPYLEAKS.COM
Playing games with your dog is a great way to keep them active, busy, and out of trouble. And best of all it is a lot of fun for both you and your dog alike!
1. Use a Flirt Pole Using a flirt pole is fun way to keep your dog mentally and physically active. They are especially great for high energy dogs because one quick session can really tire out your dog. A flirt pole - also called a flirt stick, is a long pole with a rope attached to the end. On the end of that rope is a lure that is used to entice your dog to chase. Flirt poles provide great exercise, and they are mentally stimulating. They are a way to let let your dog use their natural prey drive in a non-destructive way. And they are a great for practicing some basic impulse control such as letting go on command.
When playing remember to let your dog "win" or catch the lure on occasion as a reward. By letting them win you are making the game more engaging and fun, and that will encourage them to keep playing. If they do not get that chance to win they can become discouraged and uninterested in the game. You can make your own flirt pole with some pvc pipe, some bungee cord and a dog toy. If you'd rather buy one there is plenty available on amazon.
Remember to take it slow when starting out. Using a flirt pole with your dog is very high impact, and it can be rough on your dog's joints. If your dog is not very active to begin with start with short sessions and work your way up to longer ones.
Word of caution for dogs with arthritis or mobility issues: If your dog has any joint or mobility issues do not use a flirt pole. Because it is such a high impact exercise it can cause further joint damage, so opt to some of these lower impact exercises instead.
2. Play Tug of War With Your Dog Tug is by far many dog's favorite game. It is fun and very engaging, it is great physical exercise and a good way for dogs to practice their manners. And if you spent a lot of time training with your dog we have found a tug toy to be one of most motivating rewards around. When playing tug just remember to follow this basic rule - the game stops if your dog's teeth touch your skin. Some dogs may struggle with this more than others since tug gets some dogs (puppies) pretty riled up.
If you stop when their mouth touches your hand they will catch on that "the fun game stops when I mouth my person." And contrary to popular belief playing tug with your dog will not make him aggressive, nor will letting him win make him dominant. Letting your dog win makes the game more engaging, and it shows your dog that you are a lot of fun to be around. Puppies have a hard time with the "no bite" rule. If your game of tug feels like work on some bite inhibition first.
3. Play Frisbee With Your Dog Another fun game to play with your dog is frisbee. Frisbee is a game I refer to as an advanced game of fetch because it promotes your dog to chase over long distances. A game of frisbee is great exercise, and it is a lot of fun for dogs that have a natural drive to chase. If your dog does not know how to catch a frisbee I'd start out by using a soft disc. Traditional plastic frisbees are pretty hard, so if they hit your dog in the face they can discourage them from trying to catch it.
Practice by getting your dog excited about the frisbee by tossing it short distances or rolling it on the ground. Encourage them when they start to follow it around and chase. Once your dog is excited to chase it you can increase the distance and start tossing it. A game of frisbee can be far more exciting than the average game of fetch.
4. Play Some Water Games With Your Dog Going to the local beach can be a lot of fun for dogs, especially those that already love swimming - do not forget a doggie life jacket for safety. You can bring along some dog toys and play a game of fetch in the water. Just remember to check if they float first! If your dog is not a great swimmer, or if you do not have any beaches nearby you can play some water games in your own backyard. Get a plastic kiddie pool and fill it with water.
Many dogs love splashing around and having a nice little pool of their own to keep cool in. Toss in some toys and turn it into a "bobbing for apples" game. Some dogs go crazy for the hose. But the hose is pretty intimidating for some dogs. If your dog is not into the hose they might prefer playing in a sprinkler that does not let off such a strong stream of water. A game of fetch in the water is a lot of fun; just remember to check if the toy floats before tossing it in.
5. Use Kong Stuffing & Food Dispensing Toys Using a stuffed Kong or some food dispensing toys is one of the easiest games to play with your dog. If you are not a fan of Kongs check out the West Paw Tux toy. It is fun, it encourages them to use some of their natural scavenging ability, and it is mentally stimulating. Stuffing a Kong is my personal favorite because it can keep your dog busy for 30+ minutes. Stuff it with some healthy treats and broth and freeze it over night. If your dog gets a little stressed out each morning when you leave for work try giving them a stuffed Kong.
Food dispensing toys such as the Bob-A-Lot are great for giving your dog some more mental stimulation at meal time. You fill it up and they have to knock it around to get the food out. If your dog has never used a food dispensing toy you may have to practice a bit before they get the hang of it. After filling it up encourage them to play with it so they can see that "oh look food comes out when I move it around."
6. Teach Your Dog to Chase Bubbles One of the funnest games to play with your dog is teaching them to chase bubbles. If your dog does not know how to chase bubbles start by blowing a couple at a time. Point them out to them and encourage them to chase. Catch some yourself to show you dog that there is nothing to worry about, and that the whole point of the game is to get them before they touch the ground. We use bubbles made for kids - they also make flavored bubbles specifically for dogs. They are non toxic, but can upset their stomach if they ingest too much. And be sure to wipe off your dog's face afterwards because they can irritate your dog's eyes.
7. Play Find the Treats With Your Dog When it comes to games to play with your dog "find the treats" is an absolute favorite. It is super easy to play, and the best part is my dog never gets sick of it. Find the treats, like all nose work games, are mentally stimulating and a fun way to let our dogs hone in on their natural sniffing abilities. To play find the treats you will want to start by putting some treats on the ground while your dog is in the stay position. Give your dog their release command and encourage them to "find the treats."
Point to them and help them along if they are struggling. Encourage them along the way by praising them each time they find one. Once your dog understands what "find the treats" means you can slowly start to increase the difficulty of where you are hiding them. And once you have practiced enough in one room you can move onto hiding treats throughout the house.
8. Use a Digging Box Some dogs love digging, and having a dedicated digging box for them is a way to encourage them to dig in one approved area - one that does not include your landscaped garden. You can make your own digging box with some wood and sand from your local hardware store. If you have a lot of cats in the neighborhood you might want to build a top to keep it from becoming a litter box. Some dogs will be thrilled to have a place to dig to their heart's content. If your dog does not dig right away you can make it game by burying some of your dogs favorite toys in the box to encouraging your dog to dig them out.
9. Play a Game of Hide & Seek Another fun game to play with your dog is hide and seek. Hide and seek lets your dog use some of their natural scent tracking abilities in a fun and stimulating way. To play hide and seek have you dog stay while you go find a hiding spot. Once situated call your dog and praise them when they find you. If your dog does not have a good "stay" you can enlist the help of someone else to distract your dog as you hide.
10. Create Your Own Dog Agility Course Another fun game for dogs is creating your own agility course. It is a fun way to teach your dog some new tricks, and it is a great source of mental stimulation for dogs. Using an agility course for your dog is a fun way to give them some mental & physical exercise. It is that added focus of having to perform one thing after the other that is really exhausting.
And while you can go out and buy plenty of obstacle course items at pet supply stores you can prefer making your own. You can use a hula hoop to jump through, some blankets to jump over and some little mini cones to weave through. If you want to step it up a notch you can can make some agility equipment of your own. Check out these awesome DIY obstacle course plans:
Being stuck at home, for any reason, can be a bummer for both you and your pup. But even though you are confined inside, you can still engage in meaningful activities with your dog that can stimulate them mentally and physically. So, the next time you find yourself homebound, do not let it spoil your fun.
Try out these games and activities to keep your canine companion on their toes. There is no shortage of meaningful activities you can do with your dog, even when you are cooped up inside. Be sure to make the most of it and spend some quality time bonding with your dog and developing their mental and physical skills.
1. Hidden Treasure Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell. Did you know that they have approximately 45 times more scent receptors than humans? And what better way to exercise that sense of smell than by making a game that uses it? All you need to do is collect a few small boxes or containers and arrange them upside down. Place a prize - like a favorite dog training treat, underneath one of them and encourage your pup to start sniffing around.
When your dog accurately identifies which container the treat is under, make sure to congratulate them and, of course, reward them with the hidden treasure. You can also use a Snuffle Mat to engage your dog's sense of smell and curiosity. There are multiple pockets to hide treats in and different puzzles with adjustable difficulty. Help mentally stimulate your dog and work on their nose work skills!
2. Hide and Seek You likely loved this game when you were a kid, so why not enjoy it with your dog? For this game to be successful, your dog will have to understand basic commands, such as sit, stay, and come. Lead them to a room and ask them to stay, then leave and hide in a different location. When you have found the perfect hiding place, call their name to encourage them to come find you. Celebrate the big accomplishment, once they have figured out where you are.
3. Obedience Training Speaking of basic commands, an obedience training session is a perfect way to stay occupied. Whether you are working on enhancing your dog's skills for competitions or simply making sure your dog can listen and respond to you in a positive way, this obedience-retrieving dumbbell is a great tool to use for a practice session.
4. Play Wild Sits Now, this is a fun exercise. While your dog is on a leash, rile them up as much as possible — you can run around cheering, jumping up and down - anything to get your pup as excited as possible. Then, mid-romp, you will instruct your dog to sit. This may take some practice, depending on how hyperactive your dog is, but after a few tries, your dog should be able to go from a state of excitement to sitting patiently on command.
5. Obstacle Course This one's easy because you can take advantage of common household objects and design the course to be as simple or difficult as you want. You could use broken-down boxes for your dog to crawl through, place chairs down for them to navigate through, and even stack books for him to jump over. You can make an easy DIY dog jump made from household items, or you can also use a set of cones and poles to create your own training and obstacle course.
6. Training Platform and Agility System One way to make sure that your pup is positively occupied inside is by engaging them with a training platform and agility system. This one is adjustable, easy to configure, and can be sized to your dog's specifications. It is even waterproof and washable, and you can also use it outside.
7. Cardio Twist Known in the sport of agility as weave poles, this is a training game you can play with your dog, regardless of whether or not you are training for the competition ring. You can set up "poles" using household objects, like chairs or even friends or family members, and instruct your dog to heel alongside you as you weave between them. You can change your pace from fast to slow, which will encourage your dog to concentrate on following you as you change direction. This is an awesome way to work on coordination, while also getting a cardio workout for both of you.
8. Under, Over, and Through Teaching a dog any new trick is great mental exercise, but it is extra beneficial if the trick involves physical activity. Under, over, and through is a game that helps puppies understand spacial relationships, stimulates older dogs' brains, and provides a workout, what with all the up, down, and around movement. Start by placing an apparatus — like a kitchen chair, step stool, or some other sturdy, legged object — in the middle of the room.
Then, encourage your dog to crawl under it, perhaps by coaxing it with a treat at first. Use the "sit" or "stay" command to get your dog to stay under the apparatus. If your dog does not know those commands, use hand signals. Also practice crawling all the way through the object, walking around it, and jumping over the object, if your dog is big enough and knows the "jump" command. Every time your dog completes an action correctly, reward it with a treat.
Although it is not entirely necessary, clicker training - a method that marks desirable behavior with an audible click followed by a reward is especially effective for this game because your dog has to use positive reinforcement to work out which action you are asking of it. After learning the basics of going under, over, and through an object, you can speed up the process or let your dog choose the action itself. Encourage new tricks, such as putting one paw on the apparatus, both paws, jumping on it, crawling under it, crawling under, then backing out, and so forth, rewarding the dog's creativity with a treat every time.
9. Stairway Dash If you have stairs in your house, create a game out of running up them to get out some energy. To get the most exercise from this game with the least risk to your dog's joints, start at the bottom of the stairs. Put your dog in a sit-stay position and throw the toy up to the top landing. Keeping your dog in a stay will create buildup, then give the go ahead with a "ready, set, go," perhaps leading by example. Let your dog come back down the stairs at its own pace. Encourage a slower return, as it's the downhill climb that risks injury. After 10 or so repetitions of this, your dog will probably be yearning for a nap. Note that this exercise is only for dogs that are more than a year old. You can cause long-term injury playing this game with younger dogs as their joints are not developed enough to take the impact.
10. Tag This childhood classic is a great dog game for kids. It encourages both running and practicing a lightning-fast recall, ultimately turning coming when called into a fun game. You will need a partner for this. Each person starts with a pocket full of treats and stands on opposite sides of a room. One person calls the dog and rewards it with a treat, then the next person calls and rewards it with another. As the game advances, you and your partner can space out farther, so that you are in different rooms. The more your dog runs around the house, the more exercise it will get. To keep food intake to a minimum, you can eventually switch to giving it treats only every other or every third recall, using excited praise or a tug toy as a reward the rest of the time. You can even up the ante by calling the dog, then starting to run away, so that recall becomes a game of chase.
11. Clean up Toys Clean-up time can be a lot more fun and efficient when your dog knows how to put its own things away. This trick is a process that starts with the command "drop." Have your dog pick up a toy, then, after a few seconds, say "drop" and place a treat in front of its nose to get it to drop the toy. This works best with a toy you know is less valuable than the treat in question. After several repetitions, your dog should drop the toy on command without the incentive of a treat.
Then, introduce the toy box. Position it underneath your dog's head so that when you say "drop," the toy drops directly into the box. Once your dog is used to that action, you can spread the toys all over and begin saying "clean up" or "put it away" as it picks its toys up and takes them to the box. As your dog gets better at it, you can increase the difficulty by scattering the toys farther around the room, or throughout multiple rooms, or even hiding them.
12. Fetch While some dogs have natural retriever instincts, others will need to be taught how to play fetch. Cesar's Way has several tips including starting with chasing and adding extra motivation. If you have a big enough space, you can play fetch indoors with your pooch. You can use anything from balls to socks to her favorite toy. For an even better workout, try playing fetch on the stairs or moving from room to room.
13. Treasure Hunt The AKC notes that dogs have 45 times more scent receptors than humans, which means games that take advantage of their sense of smell will be particularly engaging. One idea is to hide treats under objects like boxes or containers, and give lots of praise when your pup uncovers each one.
14. Toy Tidy If you have got the patience to train your dog to put their toys away, it can be a lot of fun for them and super convenient for you. Positively has advice for this "game," which involves pets fetching their toys and having them "drop it" near their toy box.
15. Dog Treadmill First off, be aware that regular human treadmills are not typically safe for your four-legged friends. You need to get a treadmill built specifically for dogs. You can check out one option here. Although the price tag may seem alarming for dog treadmills, the benefits can often outweigh the sticker shock. If you live in a cold climate, odds are you will use the treadmill every single day for at least 3-4 months. Plus, the treadmill will stay with you for years to come. Exercising your dog indoors using a treadmill is a great option for keeping your pup healthy and happy in the winter or extreme summer months!
16. Monkey In The Middle If you have two humans in your home or call a friend over, monkey in the middle is a great way to both interact with and exercise your dog! Just like how you played in elementary school, you are essentially playing keep away sort of with your pup. Find the longest part of your home, like a hallway, then sit or stand on one end and have the other person sit or stand on the other end. With a ball or favorite toy, toss it down to the other human! When they get it and your pup chases, engage with your pup for a few moments. Toss them the ball, play some quick tug, let them squeak the toy. Then, throw it back to the other end! The great part about monkey in the middle is that it gets your dog both running back and forth as well as engaging with you! It's a great opportunity to incorporate some mini-training sessions at each end of the hallway or room.
17. Snuffle Mats Snuffle mats are one of the best brain games for your pup! Plus, you can buy one for relatively cheap, or make one on your own at home. Once you have your snuffle mat, fill it with high-value treats. Your pup will then have to scavenge through and find the treats to get their reward. Brain games like snuffle mats are a very effective way to mentally exercise your dog when it is cold outside.
18. Chase Playing chase with your pup is not just a form of exercise for both of you, but also a great way to bond with your pup! Of course, you want these games of chase to be structured, not chaotic. Find a toy or ball that your pup loves. Introduce a cue word like "chase" or "get me." Run away from your pup and lure them into chasing you. Be sure to introduce a cue for your pup to stop. Your dog needs to understand when the game is over or you need a break. You can even reverse roles and teach your dog to play keep away from you with a cue like "run away" or "I will get you." Again, just make sure your pup knows that this evading behavior is only allowed when you ask for it! You will both be tired out in no time.
19. 3 Cups Game Do you know what the three cup game is? It is sometimes called the shell game. You have probably seen a sleight of hand magician try this in a street or on television. You hide the prize - here a doggy treat, under one of the cups and shuffle them around. If the dog gets the right cup - they get the treat! Play the game on a soft surface. Makes it easier to move the cups and prevent any accidents. Small dogs can play with yoghurt containers, or plastic cups. Larger dog can get rowdy - pick a thicker container. Consider poking a hole in the yoghurt cup so the smell can escape. If you need something heavier small ceramic plant pots can work and have a whole for the treat smell to escape!
20. Towel Unrolling Game A simple game to play with your dog involves just two items. A treat, and your yoga mat! You can also use a towel if you do not have a mat or your dog plays a little rough. You place the mat or towel on the floor in front of you. Place a single treat right at the end. Next, roll the mat over itself once, like you are rolling up a yoga mat. Now place a second treat. And roll, and repeat. There should be lots of treats by the time you have rolled the entire towel or mat up. Show the dog the roll, they usually figure out how to get to the first treat. If not, unroll it slightly to demonstrate the surprise to the pup. Dogs usually pick up on the treats and start to unroll it by themselves! The great thing is, they are teaching themselves the trick! You can repeat but cut down on the total number of treats until there are very few and they have to unroll the whole thing to get to the final surprise!
21. Which Hand Game This is a super simple game and all you need is a treat and your puppy's excellent sense of smell! Put a piece of kibble in one of your hands. Hold both hands out in a closed fist. Let them pick which hand the kibble is in using their nose! It is super simple but super fun! See how finely tuned your dog's nose is to the smell of a treat.
22. Dip The Feet The idea is to teach your dog how to wash its own paws. You get a shallow plastic container and get the puppy to start standing in it. I bribed Max using treats. Then you add a little water to the shallow container. Get the dog to step back in. You start off small, then eventually increase the depth of the water. Think a fraction filled, then eventually 3 inches (10 centimetres). Once your dog knows how to dip the feet it can make washing muddy or dirty paws a fair bit easier.
23. BANG! You make a finger gun, say Bang, and the puppy rolls onto its side.
24. Ring A Bell This is just a game to play with a dog! We seek out games to play with dogs indoors like this with our pets just for fun. The premise? Ding the bell, get a treat! Training your dog to ring a bell is just like teaching it to do any other trick. This indoor dog game will require patience, and heaps of treats. And a bell. Familiarise the dog with the sound of the bell so it does not get alarmed or scared. Now lightly touch the dogs pay onto the bell and reward the touch with a treat. Do it when the dog is hungry and they usually pick up on the effort into reward pathway very quickly.
25. Names Of Toys Dogs can learn a heap of commands even a few hundred words for some dogs! You can use some of this memory space to name a few favourite toys. This can give rise to a fun indoor dog game of fetch where you don;t even have to throw the toy. You just say the name and they go bring it to you! It seems like a bit of a stretch for some dogs to begin with but persistence and treats really pay off with this indoor dog game. Start with a single loveable toy: give it a name. The fun indoor dog game is to lay out three or more toys, then ask the dog to fetch a specific toy. Start with a single toy. Some dogs will be all over this immediately, others take longer to make the connection. You might have been training your dog in toy recognition without even knowing it, if you already refer to a favourite toy with the same name. It is all about repetition, so brace yourself for a long day of training with this indoor dog activity.
26. Put Toys Away Your dog probably won't do dishes or wash your car, but you can teach them to put their toys away. By getting a low to the ground toy-box and utilising the DROP command. Your dog can be clean and tidy and show impeccable manners to impress houseguests, when you can have people around.
27. Sneeze Game This indoor dog game is super impressive to visitors. As far as tricks go, it is not essential, but it can be useful! Goal: Say the command word and the dog will fetch you a tissue! It is a great one to spring on unexpecting guests. If you are isoalted or in lockdown, it also saves you from getting up to get a tissue. This game only works if your dog does not eat tissues. This does not make the top list of games to play with dogs. Get a heavy tissue box or tape one to a table or the floor. Get the dog to Take It and take the tissue. Reward with treats. This step is important: do not rush forward till it is complete. Once this is down, decide on an action word or sound. You can even make a sneezing noise and use that as a command. Stand a few feet (1-2 metres) away from the tissue box and make the command noise while pointing at the box. If the dog gets it, reward handsomely with treats. And repeat.
28. Simon Says Test your dog's grasp of training commands in a classic game of "Simon Says". Switch the commands up regularly so that the game does not get too predictable or easy. For example, "Simon says, roll over" or "Simon Says, go fetch" Reward your dog with treats for every success. Let us pick it up a notch. You surely did not think that you can play Simon Says with your dog but this is possible with most breeds out there. If the dog is particularly intelligent, he will learn the game really fast. If not, he will take some time but will eventually realize what his part is in the game. The great thing about it is that you can play the game anywhere. The command in the image above may be "Simon Says kiss me through the window". With a little bit of imagination you can take this game to interesting heights.
Getting back to the actual game, the dog needs to know all the basic commands like roll over, sit, stay, shake and so on. After that, you want to take treats and you want to see how much the dog can understand from what you say after that Simon Says. The aim of the game is to have the dog understand exactly what you want him to do. As soon as the dog does the activity, you offer the reward. As time passes, the words "Simon Says" will be associated with the game and the dog will quickly show interest. He will try to see what you want to do. If necessary, offer some help and suggestions but only if you see that the dog is too disoriented. Start with basics like "Simon Says Howl" or "Simon Says go to the chair".
29. Hurdles If you have enough space, you can set up a makeshift agility course using rolled-up blankets as obstacles. Walk your dog through the course a few times for them to get used to it and to encourage them to hop over the hurdles. Once you are confident that your dog is used to the idea, go to the other side of the room and prompt them to come to you via the course.
30. Which Hand This is a great starter game for dogs who have not practiced nose work before. Simply take a piece of kibble or a dog treat and place it in one of your hands. Hold both of your hands out towards your dog in a fist and have them pick which hand it is in. If your dog does not play nicely and mouths you or claws at your hands you can practice some basic impulse control first.
31. Free Shaping Free shaping is building a particular behavior based on small steps. It is a method of training that allows you to train a new behavior without physical corrections, but by encouraging your dogs natural ability to learn. One of the easiest ways to start with shaping is by using a prop like a box. What I like to start with is having my dog touch the box without me giving any signals. So I will set out a box in front of me, grab my clicker and treats and wait for my dog to simply touch the box. Once she touches the box in any way with her nose or paw - I will give her praise. And then you build on that behavior by next having your dog put their foot in the box.
32. Favorite Toy It is another fun activity that can help you keep your pet occupied. Place all the toys in some spots of the house and tell your dog to find his favorite toy. Keep it fun by rewarding treat when your dog succeed. If your dog has not played this game before, start with placing the toys in plain sights to get him used to the idea. After a few rounds, make it more challenging by hiding the toys in a tougher spot.
33. Jump The Leg Sit on the floor, stretch one leg out in front of you and put your foot against a couch or wall. Now toss treats to both sides of your leg, so that your dog has to jump over it to get them. This repeated bouncing motion is very tiring for dogs - akin to humans jumping straight up in the air over and over and even a few minutes of this will leave your dog panting. Make sure that you only play this on a surface with good traction, to prevent any accidents.
34. Crate Race Put a treat in your dog's crate. Show him and let him run into the crate to get the treat. Repeat this a couple times. Now you put the treat into the crate and walk a couple of steps away with your dog. Formulate a call like “Ready… steady… go!” and let him run into the crate. Repeat this a couple times. If your dog is good at the last step, you can move further and further away from the crate. Eventually you can let him race to his crate even from another room or the hallway. Running to his crate and eating the treat will become more challenging and fun the further you move away. This game is not just fun for your dog, but will also strengthen the positive association with the crate and make it a happy place for your dog. Especially for apartment dogs, it is very important to be able to settle quietly and happily in their place.
35. Blanket Trick Take a blanket or beach towel and put it on your floor. Now hide some treats underneath it and let your dog figure out how to get to them. Dogs are not naturally good at understanding that they have to lift one corner to gain access to the cookies underneath. Solving this food puzzle will really work your dog's brain. If he solves it, repeat it a couple times. Repeating brain games will teach your dog to pay attention to his thinking process and strengthen his memory. Over time you will also see a positive effect on his overall obedience skills from this, because the better he can think and remember, the better he will behave overall.
36. Pillow Tower Take several pillows. Start out by stacking two pillows and luring your dog up on them with a cookie. If this proves to be no challenge, take a third pillow! It is tricky for your dog to jump up and keep a proper balance, as the softness of the pillows will make the little tower unstable. In competitive dog sports, exercises on unstable surfaces like this are used frequently to increase the dog's strength and coordination. By practicing your dog's skills in these areas, you can challenge him in novel and creative ways. And if your dog is successful with three pillows, try four or even five!
37. Treat Burrito Take your blanket or beach towel again and put it on the floor in front of you. Distribute treats on it. Now take one end and roll up the blanket, just like a yoga mat. When you have it all rolled up, present it to your dog. Now it is her turn to figure out how to get all the treats inside the treat burrito. Again, unrolling it usually does not come to the dog's mind right away, so the puzzle fun will keep her entertained for quite a while.
38. Sniff Box Take a cardboard box and fill it with crumpled-up newspapers. Now drop treats in there and let your dog use scent to find them. This is a great activity especially for anxious dogs, as sniffing is a very calming activity. In fact, just a few minutes of sniffing can significantly lower a dog's heart rate and reduce stress. If your dog is afraid or nervous, daily sniffing can vastly improve the overall mood and behavior.
39. Cookie Bopping Note: this might be a game that you only play in the bathroom, as it can get messy. Take a salad bowl and fill it with water. Now put some treats in there, or even just your dog's regular dry food. Let her dive in to get the goodies. This game can be a real thinking challenge and also strengthen your dog's confidence. Many dogs start out not understanding how they can get the treats and only learn over time to effectively snatch them out of the water.
40. Round Robin This is another fun game for the whole family. Have each person grab a handful of kibble and then sit down around the living room. Take turns calling your dog's name. Each time he comes, reward him with praise. When your pooch has become an expert at the game indoors, take him outside where you can spread out even further from one another.
41. Blanket Hurdles A game for the indoor dog or for when the weather is lousy and your friend is bored. The idea is to create an obstacle course, one similar to those agility courses you saw on TV. The name of the game comes from you using blankets as hurdles. You want to clear all the space that is needed in your living room. The idea is to make the dog run without hitting something. Put a couple of blankets right on the ground. Make sure they are rolled up so that you can create the hurdles. You do need to think about the dog's size and his agility level.
After the obstacle course is complete, you want to stay on the other side of the room and call the dog. The entertainment will tbegin. Such a course is unpredictable. You may see the dog jumping over a blanket or simply running around it. As time passes, pick it up and build other obstacles. Just make sure that they are safe. For instance, you never want to use a table as a jumping obstacle, even if the dog can easily clear it in one fell swoop. It only takes once for him to make a mistake and a night of fun will turn into a tragedy.
42. Treat Hunt This is a variation of the popular Egg Hunt Easter game. The difference is that you can play it with your dog whenever you want to. You do not need eggs and you can hunt for any treat the dog loves. Eventually you will be able to go hunting for anything that you want, indoors or outdoors, like the dog above. Start off by taking the favorite smelly treats that the dog loves the most. You can use them alone or put them inside a toy or bag. Hide those smelly treats somewhere in the living room or in the backyard. The dog has to be in another room when you hide the treats.
He should never smell or see that hiding spot before the game begins. As with the hide and seek game, dogs are known to cheat at games. The best part of the game is that all you need to do is take the dog to the play area. You will quickly see him smelling the treat and the fun begins. You have fun as you look at him search and he has fun as he knows he will get something tasty pretty soon. All he has to do is find the treat. Eventually, he will work harder at it since you will hide the treats better but he will still be entertained.
43. Indoor Ball Pit Entertain your dog and yourself with this D-I-Y ball pit! All you need are some boxes and a bunch of plastic balls - big enough so your pup won't swallow them. Set them up in the corner of the room, throw some treats or an extra ball in there, and watch her leap, roll and fetch to her heart's content.
1. Vary the Fetch Sticks are the cheapest toy, as they are readily found along walkways and parks, but they come with too high of a price, often leading to lacerations in the mouth or digestive tract perforations or obstructions. The great news is you can still give your dog the delight of fetching sticks with a pet toy shaped to look like a stick. Another variation on fetch is playing inside the home using soft toy animals or the Chase-It by Kong - a pole and line with a stuffed animal attached that can be used with more control than many traditional toys. Rather than throwing continually in a straight line, vary the height, direction and distance the object is thrown to keep your dog mentally primed and challenged while playing.
2. Play Frisbee Frisbee is a distinctly different game from regular ball fetch in that the saucer lingers longer in the air than a ball, ultimately giving the dog a better chance of catching it in midair. The type of Frisbee that is best for a dog varies depending on the individual but can span soft flyers that are easy to grip to extra-tough versions for the most vigorous canine athlete. There is even a Frisbee Thrower that allows for a longer launch without having to touch the slobbery disc.
3. Play With Water If your dog already loves swimming, you can bring him to the local beach. Remember to bring along some of his toys, make sure it is floating toys and bring him his doggie life jacket just for extra precaution.SIf you do not have a local beach nearby, you can alternatively play water games in the comfort of your own backyard using a plastic pool. Invite his friends, toss in some toys and let him have his own splashing fun time. Playing with a hose for the strong stream of water can double the fun. Some dogs just love to chase the stream of water flying out of the end of the hose. Other dogs do not like to go anywhere near the hose.
4. Instigate a Predatory Chase Channel your dog's inner wolf and incite a predatory chase. Tie a stuffed animal to the end of a rope or use a toy like the Chase-It by Kong, to evoke a chase response from your dog as he races to catch the toy. You can even create your own "lure course" by clipping a lightweight stuffed animal to the end of a retractable leash and releasing the reel-in button to create a simulated moving animal for your dog to pursue like a sighthound. Get your dog even more pumped for the game by using an animal scent, such as raccoon or deer, that can be purchased at an outdoors store. This game is so instinctual that chances are, even the laziest dogs will be moving at Rin Tin Tin speed to take down their prey.
5. Find a Hidden Toy Discover your canine's proclivity for search and rescue work by hand-placing, rather than throwing, one of his favorite toys in front of him while he watches from a stay position or someone holds him. Then release him to go find the toy. For dogs not as crazy about toys, you can hide a food puzzle or chew bone in the yard for them to find in a similar manner. Once the dog catches on, you can up the difficulty by hiding the toy in harder to find places, such as in taller grass or under a bucket, as well as putting the dog in a separate area, such as inside the house, before giving the command to "find it." The game challenges the dog to use his sense of smell, rather than a visual stimulus, to find his target. Then, play a game of fetch or tug as a reward for finding the hidden gem.
6. Play Doggie Soccer Before starting the game, you will need to get an appropriately sized ball, your dog's favorite treats, and a clicker. Playing soccer is an advanced trick. Before you teach your dog how to play soccer, you need to teach him first the basics of clicker training. Only after your dog has understood the basics of clicker training you can move onto the soccer training. Put the soccer ball on the ground, and watch your dog's reaction. Whenever your dog shows interest in the soccer ball, click and give him his favorite treat. Remember to click at the exact moment your dog shows interest.
Dogs do not have the ability to make a connection between future and past events. So it is important to click at the exact moment so that he understands what behavior he is being rewarded for, by the way, this is the essence of clicker training. Now to get his click and treat, he will need to touch the ball with his paw. No bitting and puncturing allowed, stop the game and take the ball away if your dog shows one of those two forbidden behaviors. Resume the game again in one or two hours. The next step is to click and give him his favorite treat only when he moves the ball with his paw.
7. Dog in Chase Heavy hand wrestling with dogs is not recommend in most situations, as the dog often becomes overstimulated and mouthy behavior can inadvertently be rewarded. A better alternative is to act like a canine play partner and "play bow" by putting your hands down on the ground and then jumping back or, for more energetic dogs, simply bending over slightly at the waist and making a swift movement backward or to the side. Then, trot or run in the other direction. Once your dog catches up, stop and reward him with praise or a game of Structured Tug.
8. Running with you Dog We all know running is one of the top cardio activities we can do. This applies to your dog too. I will remind you again though, if you are going to put in some distance please check with your vet and make sure your dog's athletic body gets what it needs. A waist leash is great for running and provides more safety keeping both your hands free. My personal favorite is made by Mighty Paw.
9. Keep Away Hold a toy or treat, then try to get away from the dog by continually turning and walking away from the dog. Praise him madly for following you, and if he stays with you for three or four turns - spike the toy and then chase the dog as he romps away. The long line keeps him safe but does not inhibit his fun. The dog thinks he is just playing, but he is learning how to stay close. Then I get the toy back and we start again.
10. Follow the Leader This game is easy to do and requires no equipment. The best way to teach Following is by making it a game where you are actually trying or at least pretending to try to get away from your dog! First, never walk toward your dog, if he is in front, head at an angle. Then turn sharply, when he gets in front of you, turn sharply again. Zigzag and you will notice him following you even when he is out in front. Pretend to walk up one path, and as soon as your dog runs ahead in it, turn around and yell, whoop or whistle and run back and up the other path! If done with proper energy & enthusiasm and timing, your dog should come running with a big smile on his face! You are turning the leadership into a game - obedience training has never been so fun, and so helpful!
11. Piggy In The Middle Get a tennis ball or old football and throw it to a partner with your dog in the middle. Every so often throw the ball a little lower so that they have a chance of jumping up and catching it. When they do successfully intercept the ball reward them by letting them play with it.
12. Agility If your dog goes to agility classes then try doing some extra practise in the park. You can invent lots of different games to play with agility equipment and it will help your dog burn off lots of energy.
13. Shadowing Shadowing is a game where you train your dog to follow you wherever you go. You can start off by tempting them to follow you with treats and rewarding them when they mirror your actions. This game is also really good for improving recall and the bond between you and your dog.
14. Catch Similar to fetch but your dog has to catch the ball in the air. If your dog does not know catch you can train them by capturing the behaviour. Simply throw the ball and when they happen to catch it by chance reward them. Once they get the hang of this start saying "catch" as you throw the ball.
15. Flirt Poly The flirt pole is an addictive game that can stimulate your dog’s mind and body. The flirt pole essentially is a long pole with a rope attached to the end. You place a lure for your dog to catch at the end of the rope. The lures itself can be varied from his favorite treats to favorite toys. You can buy one or you can make it yourself. It is simple enough to make your own flirt pole. All you need are four or five meters of rope and a long PVC tube.
You just need to pass the rope to the PVC tube and tie a large knot at one end and tie the lure on the end of the rope. This game can do a lot more than burn off your dog's excess energy - this game can also be a great way to practice some basic impulse control such as let go. You should occasionally let your dog win the game or he will be bored and uninterested in the game. Contrary to popular opinion letting your dog win the game won't make him aggressive. Letting him win just showing how fun it is to play the game with you.
16. DIY Agility Course Building your own agility course in the backyard can be a fun way to give your dog some mental and physical exercises. Walk your dog through the course and have him jump through a hula hoop, or hop over one or two rolled-up blankets, or weave through some little mini cones. Building a backyard agility course does not need to be expensive. You can use everyday objects that you can find around your home. Just be creative, and let your imagination runs wild. Here are some household objects to start with: old blankets, pillows, towels, hula hoop, large open-ended box, kitchen stair, stool, a pole on two boxes, ball, frisbee, and more.
17. Digging Box Some dogs just naturally born as a digger. If your dog loves to dig, you may want to consider giving him a dedicated digging box, a dedicated place where he can dig to all his heart content without worrying his person will throw a tantrum at him. To make your own digging box, you will need wood and sand from your local hardware store or you can use it in the soil in the box if you prefer. If you live in a hot area, you may want to wet the sand first before your dog digs it. Initially, your dog might do not understand with the game, help him by burying some of his favorite toys or a bone in the box to encouraging your dog to dig them out.
18. Basketball Game Teaching your dog to play a basketball game is also one of the most fun activities to do. To start with you need an empty laundry basket or bin, and your dog's favorite ball. First, you need to demonstrate the rule of the game. Bring the ball and drop it into the basket while saying "drop", Do it several times and make sure your dog is paying attention. Then, ask your dog to get the ball in his mouth and go over to the basket. Once he is in the right position, say "drop" and reward him with praise and treats every time he drops the ball into the basket.
19. Squirt Gun Shenanigans Purchase simple water guns for staff members to have a "water fight" with the dogs. Let the dogs chase the water from the squirt gun or squirt water at the ground to make mud, because getting dirty is often the most fun game of all! It is important to remember that not all dogs will love every game, especially ones that involve water. Never force a dog to participate - they should always have the freedom to remove themselves from a game or activity if desired. And you can always create another game for dogs not willing to participate. For example, many dogs will happily chase a single ice cube or chunk around a room.
20. Jolly Balls Jolly Balls are large, inflatable rubber balls that were originally designed for horses. They are too large to guard effectively, making them perfect for communal play. Staff should be actively involved in this game, as they can kick the ball, toss it to different parts of the yard and otherwise engage with the dogs as they play.
21. Keep Away For dogs who love to chase balls, add some more human interaction into the game by playing soccer or keep away. In fact, dog daycare owners should encourage team members to play right alongside the dogs they are monitoring. This helps build lasting relationships, which should always be a goal of daycares.
22. Ball Hang All you have to do is tie rope to one of the handles, then hang the ball from a wall, ceiling, tree or other structure.
23. Racing With most dogs you do not have to come up with really complicated games to make them happy and to be sure that they have fun. Something simple can be appreciated and the dog will love it. What can be simpler than running? Chances are, this is how you already play with your dog when you go on a longer trip to some new location you never saw before. When you often find yourself running with your dog, it is time to start racing him.
If you want to, you can get really creative like setting up starting lines, finish lines and practically do anything you would see as a lot of fun. You can even have a backwards race with the dog. Just be sure that you offer a treat if he wins or if he loses since it is the activity that counts. This is especially necessary when you have many dogs that will race with you. The idea is to have fun, not to make dogs compete with each other, which is never actually a good idea as you just want to make the dog happy.
24. Red Light, Green Light Red Light, Green Light is one of those games that are a lot of fun and you do not really know why. It is played by children in all corners of the world and even by actors as they get ready to act in a play. Believe it or not, you can also play the game with your dog. We left the game last on the list because it is a little more complicated. Not all dogs will understand what it is all about and you should not push the dog if he does not like it. Normally, the smarter breeds are the ones that do love playing Red Light, Green Light as they really love a challenge. In this case the challenge is figuring out what the commands are.
The dog needs to know the Come and Stay commands. Participants will spread over the yard and a person is the moderator. You want to change the regular game commands to Come and Stay. Do so initially. Then, gradually move towards the original ones. Mix it up and try to use the same tone of voice. Dogs will figure it out and you will start playing Red Light, Green Light with your dogs. Do offer treats to the dogs after every command to keep them interested in the game, especially when playing with both humans and dogs.
25. Flyball Flyball is an energetic and competitive team sport that both you and your dog will love. Similar to a relay race, the sport involves two teams - each team needs one human and one dog racing against each other. The dogs take it in turns to jump over four hurdles in quick succession before collecting a tennis ball at the end. The dog must bring the ball back to the owner by jumping over the hurdles on their way back. Flyball is fast, fun and furious and the team element provides a social and friendly environment for both you and your dog.
26. Rally Game Rally involves navigating your dog through a course of different exercises, varying in style and increasing in difficulty along the way. There are six levels in all to complete, with up to 15 stations. Each round takes approximately four minutes per dog to complete at levels one and two, increasing to five minutes for levels three and above. The exercises involved in Rally are varied and fast-paced, including anything from heel work to recall and more.
It is that time of year again where the weather is warm, the waves are crashing and the weekends are better spent on the beach! Question for you: Have you ever taken your dog to the beach? No? Well, fun times are ahead for you and your four-legged friend. Most dogs love the beach as much as most people. That is a winning combination! So, what do you do on the beach with your dog?
1. Race to the Shore This is a simple game that will be easy for your dog to follow, and easy for them to get worn out from. Your dog will have a ton of rambunctious energy upon arriving at the beach, so get them to expend some of that by playing a proverbial game of tag with the waves crashing in.
2. Play Fetch If you do intend to play fetch with your dog on the beach, try investing in an automatic ball fetcher. These glorified pitching assistants will chuck tennis balls without tiring you out. Your dog will thank you later, once he is had his fill, he will be wanting to curl up by your side and enjoy the nice sea breeze.
3. Work on Dog Training Take this opportunity to train your dog while on the beach. This is perfect for getting them accustomed to commands from afar. You can utilize a long distance leash to try to get them to heel from afar, stay from afar. It might take a while, but it is always worth the effort to train your dog while in public places to learn how to listen to your commands. Also, if your dog does ever decide to run away, have treats on-hand if they respond to your commands from long distances. Even though they ran away on their own accord, they do deserve some reward for responding to your calls.
4. Surf Doggy surfing? Why, yes, that is an actual thing. While we do recommend finding special dog surfing instructors, you can try to do it yourself with careful practice and following guides online. Most dogs love the water, so it will just take a little time and patience before they are on the board like a pro. Have plenty of treats on hand to encourage them to keep climbing on the board.
5. Hide and Seek Play hide and go get it with your dog by using their favorite toy as buried treasure. To get them excited about digging, demonstrate digging up spots that you have marked off using either another toy or something that works like a flag pole. Once they have gotten the idea and start digging with you, then you can pick a time when they are preoccupied with something else to bury their toy for an exciting discovery for later.
Dogs do not come with factory-installed impulse control. Left to their own devices, when they have a thought in their mind, they just go for it. It is therefore up to us dog owners teaching them how to control their impulses. So how do we train dogs this important skill? First of all, we need our dogs to receive a good level of basic training. We, therefore, need our dogs to know how to sit, lie down, heel and stay.
A dog who knows how to sit or lie down, after all, cannot be dispensing paw prints all over your neighbor's suit or stealing that slice of cheese from your friend's plate the moment he turns around. Impulse control is learnt gradually and not completely mastered until a dog becomes an adult, because in young dogs, the neuro-biological structures are not yet mature, although they are present. Exercises in impulse control training are actually enormously important for all dogs.
As tempting as it may be to provide a deadline for teaching dogs impulse control, the truth is that each dog is an individual and learns at his own pace. On top of this, we must consider that training dogs should be a fun, self-paced activity, which means that you should not feel pressured to attain results within a certain time frame. So stop competing with the Joneses.
If you make training your dog a fun, rewarding activity and remove deadlines or specific expectations for the outcomes of your training, you will feel more relaxed and your dog will relax too. This leads to a happier, more fulfilling, dog and owner relationship based on a foundation of trust and mutual respect.
A Word of Caution Dogs who have little or no impulse control and who have never received any training in their lives may struggle if these exercises are implemented too quickly and too much is asked at once. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to helping dogs attain better impulse control. Watch for signs of your dog struggling or getting frustrated. If your dog is scratching, yawning or licking, these are often signs that your dog is having difficulty coping. Such displacement signs in dogs should, therefore, tell you that it is time to make the exercise easier by splitting it into smaller steps and making it easier.
Warning: in some cases, some dogs may also get aggressive when frustrated. If your dog at any time shows signs of aggression, toss a treat to redirect, stop the exercise and ask for professional help.
1. Walking Leave It Pioneered by the great Sophia Yin, this game teaches your dog to ignore distractions while on walks. Have your dog on leash. Toss a treat out of his reach. Wait for your dog to stop pulling and straining towards the treat. When he does, give him a treat for looking at you. Only then can you walk towards the treat. Be sure to keep a loose leash while you do so. Repeat. As you go, you will start noticing that your dog automatically will not pull you towards tempting items on walks. Practice in a variety of locations with a variety of temptations to solidify the skill.
2. It is Your Choice A favorite of Susan Garrett, this game teaches dogs to ignore dropped food in the home. If you do it enough, your dog will learn to automatically wait for permission to take food. Put some tasty treats in your hand and place your hand near your dog. Keep your hand closed as your dog sniffs, nibbles, or paws at your hand. Open your hand when your dog sits back to wait. Close your hand if your dog immediately dives back in for the goodies. When she stays away for a second or two, place 1 treat on the ground. Gradually build up time between opening your hand and delivering the treat so that your dog has to watch the open hand for longer. "Level up" this game by putting the food on the floor and covering it with your hand, then by covering it with your foot. You can add the cue "leave it" right before you open your hand if you want.
3. Relax on Your Mat Pick out a blanket, towel, or mat. This should not be a dog bed. Place the mat on the ground in front of your dog. Reward your dog for any interest in the mat – looking at it, moving towards it, sniffing, paws on it. Keep treating your dog if she stays on the mat. Gradually narrow your criteria. Work towards only rewarding your dog for lying down. It is ok to just cut to the chase and cue your dog to lie down, if you'd like. Use Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol as a way to solidify mat training. Once you are doing well, try new places and distractions!
4. SMART x 50 SMART x 50 was invented by Kathy Sdao. This dog training game focuses on teaching your dog basic life skills and manners around the house. SMART stands for See, Mark, and Reward Training. Put 50 treats or pieces of your dog's dinner kibble in a jar or treat pouch. Pay attention to your dog while you are getting ready for the day, prepping dinner, or relaxing in the evening. Do not prompt or cue him to do anything specific. When your dog does something you like sitting, lying down, looking up at you before going through a door, choosing to ignore the cat, say "good boy" and toss him a treat. Repeat until all of the treats are gone.
5. Red Light - Green Light Teach your dog polite leash walking skills without treats, though treats certainly make things go faster. Pair this with U-Turns for best results. Have your dog on leash. I like to use a dog's flat buckle collar for this exercise. Do your normal walks on a harness in the meantime. Start walking forward. When your dog his the end of his leash and pulls, stop and wait. Do not tug on the leash. Wait for a "J" to appear in your leash. Mark with a word "good" or "yes" often works. Start walking again. Repeat. This can take a long time and can be frustrating, but it works! Changing directions and implementing U-turns can speed the process.
Exchange Games Head off resource guarding and teach your dog to "drop it" with this handy dog training game! Do not play this game without help from a trainer if your dog already has issues with sharing or resource guarding. Give your dog something he likes. Try a stuffed Kong, chew toy, tug toy, pig's ear, or ball. Approach your dog and click when he looks at you. Toss some awesome treats near him. He should drop it now! If he does not, you need better treats and a less exciting toy. Pick up the object he had as he eats the new goodies. Give him the object back. Repeat. The goal is that he gets excited for new goodies when you approach him. Repeat until your dog drops his toy when you come near. Now start offering your hand and saying "drop it." You just added in a cue! If your dog is already showing some issues with sharing - commonly called resource guarding, set up a quick appointment with me before trying this game. There are some better ways to teach your dog to share if your dog already has issues.
6. Look at That! Teach your dog to calmly notice exciting, scary, or distracting things. This game is great for leash reactive and aggressive dogs when done right. If your dog struggles with any of these behaviors, give me a call. I can help you set up a full-fledged training plan to achieve your goals. Take treats on a walk with you. When you see the object of focus a person, dog car, or squirrel, click or say "yes!" and feed your dog a treat when he looks back at you. If your dog does not turn towards you because he is too fixated on the object of focus, you are too close or your treats are not good enough. Try again next time. Move away from the object of focus. Keep playing the game on walks and you will quickly see that your dog is automatically looking from you to the object and back again, looking for a treat. This "autowatch" behavior is the end goal!
7. One-Two-Three Walking This technique works really well to help the dog process the environment and learn to handle distractions. 1-2-3 walking is one of the Pattern Games developed by Leslie McDevitt. Have some treats in your pocket or treat pouch, but do not lure your dog around with the treats. This game is really simple. Just count out loud, "One, two, three." Right when you say "three", give your pup a treat. Start out just delivering treats right to your pup's mouth until he gets it that treats come when you say three. Then start to give the treat right next to the pocket or seam of your pants at head height for your dog. Keep your hand touching your leg so that you give the treat nice and close. This helps train your dog to stay super close to you.
8. Go Find It! Teach your dog to go find a specific toy. This game works especially well with dogs that love playing with toys. Start with just one toy out. Tell your dog to "go get your X" or "go find X." Whatever phrase you pick, be consistent. Reward your dog by grabbing the toy by playing with it. If you say your cue in an excited voice and point at the toy, most dogs will get this right away. Fade out pointing and just use the verbal cue. Continue to reward your dog by playing with the toy when they grab it. Introduce another toy to the picture.
You might want to start with another toy that is a bit less excited than the named toy. Now, only reward your dog when he grabs the correct toy. Start to name a second toy using steps one and two. This will be easiest if your dog loves both toys about the same. If your dog goes bonkers for the ball and is kind of "meh" about a squeaky toy, do not try to use those two toys! That sets you up for failure.
Repeat step three with the two named toys. Start to alternate which toy you ask for. Gradually build up the number of toys that your dog knows by name. This game is a great mental and physical puzzle for dogs that love toys. It is also a good way to wear out your dog if the weather is bad outside and you need to get out some energy!
9. Ready, Set, DOWN! This tug-based game teaches your dog to drop toys on cue and follow cues when he is really excited. This is a great way to teach your dog to listen to you in distracting environments. Ensure that your dog is rock-solid with a cue or two. At the minimum, your dog needs to know how to play tug, how to drop a toy on cue, and how to do one more behavior. Start to play tug with your dog. Just play lightly at first - you do not want to get your dog super riled up.
Cue your dog to drop the toy. Cue your dog to sit, lie down, touch, or whatever other cue he knows really well. Reward your dog for listening by restarting the game. Intermittently just restart the game when your dog drops the toy. Repeat. If possible, mix in different cues to make your dog really think. Gradually increase the intensity of your tug game, but if your dog ever stops being able to listen, reduce the intensity level and try again. You can also play this game with a flirt pole or while playing fetch, though it is most commonly seen when playing tug.
10. Nosework Nosework is a great way to exhaust your dog. It takes a lot of work to find hidden treats with your nose! Dogs also feel calmer when they are sniffing. Hunting for food with their nose is incredibly natural for them, and this game does wonders for calming stressed-out dogs.
Use boxes with treats in them to teach your dog to look for treats using his nose. Gradually increase the complexity of the treat in box game by putting boxes in different configurations. Start to hide some treats outside of boxes. Add some vertical complexity. Try new locations. This is really all you need to do to get started in nosework. If you are really interested in nosework, check out my much longer blog on it to get started.
11. Silky Leash This technique was developed by Grisha Stewart. It teaches the dog to yield to small amounts of pressure on the leash. Start inside, in a boring room, and have some treats ready. You can use a clicker if you are used to using one, or simply mark the right behavior with a short word, such as "yes!" Clip the leash on the collar, and wait until things are calm.
Apply a slight pressure on the leash to one side, and wait for your pup to yield a bit to that pressure. Your pup might actually move towards the leash pressure, or just shift his weight a bit. Take whatever you get! Mark the moment, and give a treat. Wash, rinse, and repeat until you can see the dog respond readily to very slight leash pressure while inside, then start working on it in a familiar place outside. Gradually increase the distractions while playing this game to teach your dog to follow you with feather light leash pressure all around town.
12. The Name Game Many dogs have a hard time generalizing learned behaviors, so just because you teach something one place, does not mean that your dog will carry that information to another. Remember that in the beginning we are first teaching our dogs to be open to receiving information and learning. Success in training your dog will depend on how well you prepare them for optimum learning opportunities.
You can play The Name Game everywhere you go. This is favorite warm up exercise, especially when you go to a new environment with unfamiliar smells or sounds. I simply say my dog's name and when she looks at me I give her a yummy cookie. I will repeat this at least 5 times, but really until I have my dog's focus on me. Only once my dog has connected with me will I continue on with the planned activity.
13. The Shadow Game For most dog owners the ultimate goal is achieving the ability to walk their dog at liberty without a leash in a dog park. This is a wonderful goal to work towards and in my opinion teaching a recall is the most important response to a cue your dog will learn. The key to establishing a reliable recall is in the foundation that you build and like any building, if there is a weakness in the foundation, the whole thing will come tumbling down.
The Shadow Game is the foundation for both recall and polite walking exercises. Start at home in a quiet environment with your dog on a leash. Pack up some treats for rewards and start to walk around in any direction. Any time your dog catches up to you give him a cookie.
If your pup gets ahead of you, simply turn gently 180 degrees and place a treat on the ground. As your dog munches the cookie, walk ahead a few paces but be ready for him to catch up to you again and give another treat when he does. Go forwards, backwards - your dog comes towards you, sideways, fast, slow, stop, run, walk, go around trees, over rocks and anything else you can come up with to get your dog to follow you like a shadow.
The idea of this game is to get your dog to follow you willingly, not to drag your beloved beast around by his neck. Take the time to show him what you are doing rather than surprising him with a quick turn. I play this game on all of my walks whether we are walking on leash or at liberty. My dogs love to watch me move and match my speed.
14. Give Dogs are opportunists and scavengers by nature so you can count on your dog picking up something they should not at some point in their life. The Give Game not only prepares you for this situation but also gives you a foundation behavior for many other games such as Find the Toy and Return to Sender. Never pull a toy out of a dog's mouth or you may cause an opposition reflex where they hold on tighter and possibly create tension that could lead to possessive aggression. Start with your dog on a leash or in a small room where he can not run away and cause you to play catch me if you can.
Toss one of his favorite toys on the floor and when he picks it up, call him to you or reel him in on his leash gently. Take one hand and hold on to the toy and cue him to "Give" the toy to you. With your other hand present a treat to trade him for the toy. When he gives the toy immediately praise him and give him the treat.
Practice this as often as possible with toys and other items your dog may pick up and always remember whatever you trade with must have a greater value than the item in the dog's mouth or the game will lose all value. To challenge his understanding of this game, give the cue and wait for the response before you bring out the cookie for a reward.
15. Hide and Seek Although it may seem like the games we play are just for fun, always keep in mind that puppies learn their life skills through play and experience with littermates and other dogs. Hide and Seek is a fun game to play for dog and human but it also offers a very real-life skill for your dog. Imagine you are out on a hike and become separated from your dog. It is a scary thought indeed but if you have played Hide and Seek as a game you have prepared your dog to remain calm in this situation and to use her doggy senses to seek you out.
Start at home just by practicing a come when called in another room and rewarding your dog with a treat and warm praise when she finds you. Keep practicing by hiding further and further away so your dog has to search the whole house to find you. Now you can practice the same steps in the outdoors by starting easy and then gradually making it harder and harder to find you.
Have a friend distract your dog and then walk away and hide behind a tree or a bush. As soon as you are out of sight, call your dog and when she discovers you give her a treat. When your pup has grasped the idea of the game, make the hiding places more ambitious and include the whole family so she can find each of you one by one.
16. Find the Toy Any chance I can, I like to get my dogs to use their "doggy senses" in play. I encourage creativity, problem-solving skills, and self-discovery by allowing my dogs to explore the world through their own experiences. Make the Find the Toy Game special by only using the game pieces while you are playing this game otherwise keep them put away until it is game on. Start with two boxes and a valuable toy. Have your dog sit and allow him to watch you place the toy under one of the boxes. Now shuffle the boxes around and then tell him to "find the toy"!
If necessary you can help him out by pointing to the correct box and encouraging him to get it by pawing, nudging or flipping over the box. Praise warmly when he finds the toy and ask him to bring it to you. Trade him for a cookie to ensure he remembers the Give Game but then return the toy to him as a reward for his hard work. As your dog masters this game, you can challenge him more by adding more boxes or using boxes that need to be opened rather than flipped over. Never let your dog become frustrated with this game otherwise it may become difficult to get him excited about trying new games or other training exercises.
17. Follow Your Nose The great thing about scenting games for dogs is that all dogs can do it no matter their age. Even a senior dog can easily play at their own pace to reach the wonderful jackpot at the end of the trail. Make a "scent bag" by tying something yummy, smelly, and slimy in a piece of cloth and attach a string to the end so it can be used to create a smelly trail on the ground. I like to use freeze-dried tripe soaked in meat sauce for this game but anything that your dog thinks is yummy would do just fine as long as it leaves a scent trail along the ground.
Pull the bag in a winding, zigzagging path that goes around trees, under foliage and even through puddles. Leave a special surprise jackpot at the end of the trail for your dog to find. Put the scent bag aside otherwise, your dog will just focus on eating the contents but allow him to sniff your hand. Take him to the beginning of the trail and encourage him to sniff by bringing your hand to the ground. Help him if needed by leading him along the path. Practice this game often and soon enough you can take it out into the forest to play more tracking games together.
18. Return to Sender Some dogs come pre-programmed to play fetch games, but not all dogs are keen on this one so it is important to know your dog's interests and favorite games. Do not try to force a game on a dog that just is not interested in it, as that is a great way to ruin your relationship with your beloved companion. Many dogs will run after a toy or ball that has been dropped, tossed or thrown but start the game in close to you rather than throwing the ball far away without first building a foundation. Drop the ball in front of you and say, "get it" to your dog. When they pick up the ball praise her lavishly and then play the Give Game and trade the ball for a treat. Take your time and slowly increase the distance that you throw the ball.
Be sure to stay consistent with this game so your dog knows that the return to you is part of the game. At any time if you run into trouble just go back to the distance where you last had success and play there for a little longer until you can push the distance once again. Once your dog can play this game, you can start to play fetch games in the water to ease any strain on joints or sore limbs.
Safety is everything so make sure you choose a ball that is the right size for your dog to lessen the risk of choking. A favorite toy for many dogs is made by mother nature herself, but a stick can splinter in a dog's mouth if they are grabbed with too much enthusiasm. Be safe out there and know the risks for the activities you participate in with your dog.
19. Friend in Me Trust exercises can be challenging at times when they do not go as planned, but as long as you chunk them down into achievable increments, you can build a lasting bond with your dog with a strong root in trust. One game that I play often with my dogs is stepping over them while they are in a down position. To get started with this game you will need to teach a reliable down with duration and start to be able to walk around your dog while she holds the down.
Ask your dog to lie down and praise gently when she does. Walk around towards her tail and just step over her tail so you have one foot on either side. Do not stay there long, instead return to her front and give her a cookie for trusting you. Repeat that a few more times until she is comfortable with you back there.
Taking your time and ensuring you only progress when your dog is comfortable, take another step forward from her tail so that you have one foot on either side of her body. Keep going until you can essentially straddle your dog and walk from tail to head with her completely comfortable and enjoying herself.
The key to earning the respect and trust of your dog is to listen to their silent voice. If you push them into fear they cannot learn and will not feel comfortable with you performing that task. If you come upon a place where your dog is uncomfortable, that is okay, stay there a while and let them know it will be okay. They will thank you for it by giving you their entire heart and soul.
20. Treasure Hunting Searching for hidden surprises utilizes your hunting dog's natural sense of direction and intuition without requiring them to lay a paw on any other living creatures. This treasure hunting activity is a delightful alternative for any owners who want to give their dogs the same rush and sense of adventure that comes with game hunting without having to bring harm to anyone or anything else. We recommend that you and your dog attempt this activity in a setting similar to a game hunting session, like a forested area or anywhere in which there is lots of room to bury a number of treasures for your dog to find.
STEP 1 Perfect treasure hunting grounds The first step towards completing a successful treasure hunting session with your dog is to find an area where you and your dog will have lots of space to play while also avoiding any areas with particularly dangerous forms of wildlife. We recommend using an online search engine that suits your fancy to scout ahead for this step.
Step 2 Knock out the busy work If you're looking to complete this activity in the traditional sense, you may need to get a hold of a shovel or a spade in order to dig a very small hole in the dirt, place one of the treasures inside, and cover it up so that your dog will have to use their sniffer and their paws to get at it. Conversely, you can always cover some of the treasures with shrubbery and twigs. We suggest using both methods as well as hiding a few treasures in plain sight to create a sense of progressing difficulty.
Step 3 Let the games begin After all of the busy work has been taken care of, it is time for you and your dog to get out there and get after that treasure! If your dog is apt to wondering off, consider keeping them leashed if the two of you are going out into a large area. Otherwise, have fun and look forward to getting a pretty decent mini workout in walking around the treasure hunting grounds.
21. Dog Carting Dog carting will really put your dog's strength and ability to follow directions to the test; as the name implies, this activity is very similar to horse carting and is intended to be attempted by medium to large sized dogs. This activity consists of outfitting your dog with a sturdy and reliable dog harness, securely fastening it to a lightweight dog cart, and then sitting back as your dog takes you for a leisurely stroll around the block. A number of smaller, more compact dogs can complete this activity with children and a very small and lightweight dog cart.
STEP 1 Lock... You know how the old saying goes - it is always better to be safe than sorry. Since this activity is essentially like a land-based version of mushing or sled pulling, you will want to take the same precautions that a dog sledder or musher would take before setting off to the races. Spare no expense when looking for a dog harness for your pet, as cheaper ones can chafe and pinch your dog. The same goes for the cart they will be pulling, higher grade carts can run upwards of $300 or so, but they are worth every penny in the long run.
STEP 2 And load With all of the safety precautions taken care of, you and your dog will now be set to roll out for a stroll. This activity was placed on the list because it is assumed that your dog has developed their muscles, as well as their ability to follow your lead, to a satisfactory level. But even if not, the other activities listed will definitely help develop your dog's physical and mental prowess. You can work on your pup's stamina by taking training walks and runs before trying the carting activity if you feel your pup needs a little cardio work.
22. Scented Fetch This modern twist on a classic activity will put your dog's incredible sense of smell to work while also helping them reach their requisite physical activity goals for the day. Scented fetch is exactly what it sounds like, a more intense version of a classic game of fetch that prompts your pooch to use their sense of smell to find the item they need to fetch more than any of their other senses. The great thing about this activity is that it is very flexible, you can do a few sit ups or push ups yourself to make this activity into active scented fetch or you can try it out in the water.
STEP 1 Smells and aromas Before you and your dog head out to give this activity a try, be sure to gather a number of items and toys that your dog will enjoy fetching and cover them with the scent of your dog's favorite food. This will ensure that your dog uses their sense of smell to find the item they need to fetch, even if they might not be able to see it.
STEP 2 Go long The best way to get the most out of this activity is by ensuring that your dog won't be able to find the item they need to fetch with their eyes. If need be, incorporate a few methods from the treasure hunting activity and physically cover up an item or two that you'd like for your dog to find. Barring that, do your best to toss the item in question into an area where your dog will have to sniff around for it while also not landing too far off to be reached.
23. Dog Scootering Scootering is a lot like carting or skijoring, it involves outfitting your dog with a reliable dog harness and mostly relying on vocal commands and mushing to safely steer your dog around. However, scootering incorporates the use of a high tech dog scooter and is overall a very physically strenuous activity.
24. Household Hunting This activity plays on your dog's prey drive, just as we mentioned earlier, hunting dogs have an inborn need to track down small creatures and trophies that they can bring back to their masters. For this activity, try hiding a bone or even a scented dog toy around your place of dwelling and then letting your dog after it.
25. Unleashing Calmness If you have an over-active pup at walk time, these exercises are for you. If your dog gets excited and jumpy when the leash comes out and starts to pull toward the door, put the leash on as normal and then go sit on the couch. Do not engage with your dog or scold the bad behavior. Wait for your dog to settle down. Once your dog has calmed down or maybe gone into a sit or a lie-down position, tell him "yes," get up and head for the door. Your dog will be likely to spaz out again, so be ready to repeat your trip to the couch multiple times before he gets the hint and calmly follows you to the door. Now, I know this may cut into your walk time, especially if you are on the schedule, so you might want to start this practice over the weekend or when you have enough time to devote to setting these good habits.
26. Open Sesame Once you have gotten your pup to calmly approach the door for walk time, your next hurdle is not having him bolt out of the door the minute it is open. It is going to take some repetition again, but you want to have your dog hold a nice sit when you open the door. Start to open the door only when your dog is seated. If they scooch or stand up, the door closes. You want to teach them that you only open the door for walks when your dog is sitting nicely. Reward your dog with a "yes" followed by a tasty treat once your dog has stayed put and then exit the door together proceeding for a nice walk. With time, your dog should learn to sit when you touch the doorknob and stay seated until you open the door and invite him to join you on a walk.
27. Chill Walks Now that you are in the groove of teaching your dog new behaviors, it is time to teach him a new way to walk. Reward your dog when the leash is slack, and your dog is sticking calmly at your side instead of dragging you down the road and trying to sniff every bush he comes across. Remember to praise your dog and deliver a treat when your dog has done a good job and he has mastered this type of walk. Remember the golden rule: "A slack leash is your accelerator, a tight leash is your brake." So when your dog is sticking by your side, praise and reward with a tasty treat and forward movement, and when he pulls, slow down and even come to a stop if he keeps pulling, totally ignoring your dog.
Your first walks will feel like they take a lifetime the first days, but if you are consistent, your dog should soon learn that a loose leash unlocks treats and keeps your moving, when a tight leash leads to you stopping and no attention nor treats. And remember, treats are not the only reward you can provide your dog on walks! Forward movement is a reward too, so if you know your dog is dying to go sniff a bush, because to dogs, that is often the best part of the walk, provide that as a life reward for walking nicely on the leash. As tempting as it can be tough to reward your dog by letting him go greet other dogs or people, consider that they may not be as friendly as your fur baby.
28. Waiting for Food Delivery You are on a roll with teaching your pup how to behave like a high-class pup. It is time to extend that to mealtimes. Like you did with the open door for walks, you are going to want to get your dog in a sit before you give them the food. You might even try getting the food ready in advance if your dog is out in the yard taking care of business or another family member is walking him. The same principle applies here. If your pup gets out of the sit, the bowl comes back up and out of reach. It may be harder for them to get the gist of this exercise at first - especially if their tummy is rumbling! but keep at it and eventually, your pup will sit still long enough for you to give them the food and let them enjoy a nice meal.
29. Sit for Greeting In order to implement this, you need to be very consistent. In other words, every time your dog meets and greets someone, he has to sit in order to be petted. This game therefore works on the principle that it is physically impossible for dogs to jump and sit at the same time. Sitting is therefore a behavior that is incompatible with jumping. Practice this game with friends and family. Sit in a large circle and take turns calling your dog and asking him to sit for being petted and give him a treat too to thank him for his collaboration. Expand this behavior by having your dog sit when guests arrive at the door and reinforce the sit with praise, pats and a tasty treat. For ease of use, make it a habit to hold some tasty treats handy by the door. Do not forget to practice this outdoors and well, by asking your dog to sit when you meet somebody on walks.
30. Sit for Car Rides Raise your hand if your dog goes bonkers the moment he acknowledges that he is about to go on a car ride? In this case, make it a habit of opening the car door only once your dog sits. The concept is similar to the open sesame game described above for when exiting the home. As your dog gets good at this, start adding some distractions and duration. In other words, try to get your dog to sit or stay despite the car door being open and have him wait for your cue to let him know when he can jump in. I like to say "get in!" or "hop up" to invite the dog to get in the car. Please note: this exercise works well for dogs who are enthusiastic about car rides. If your dog is anxious about car rides or your dog is scared to jump into your truck, you will need to work on reducing his fear first.
31. Ignoring Table Scraps Does your dog try to eat people food-stealing them from the table? Does your dog grab anything that falls off the counter? You can train him to "leave it" by providing him higher value treats as a reward for leaving the stuff you do not want them to have. It is going to take time and you may end up stepping on food on purpose to keep them from getting it, but given time, your dog will learn that they get something better when they ignore what is been left behind or dropped. You can even practice doing it from a distance once you no longer have to block your pup's access to the item you want them to leave.
To train your dog to ignore table scraps, start with this simple exercise. Hold a piece of bread in the palm of your hand and a high-value treat in your pocket. Next, present your open hand with the bread to your dog. The moment he tries to get the bread, say, "leave it" and close your hand covering the piece of bread. As soon as your dog takes his nose away from your hand, say "Yes!" and feed the treat from your pocket. Repeat this several times. Progress to where you can tell your dog to leave it even if you start gradually exposing the bread in plain view with your open hand. Most dogs eventually learn to take their mouth away from the presented food so to get something better a little later.
Extend the difficulty of the exercise by practicing with the food placed on certain surfaces and on the floor, always making sure that what you offer is higher in value than the item left. This way your dog learns to reap the benefits of delayed gratification.
32. Structured Games Playtime is great but it can be a little chaotic if your dog has lots of energy. If your dog loves to play fetch, you can get him to sit calmly when you throw the ball rather than having him jumping, barking or spinning in circles. It will probably take some time for your dog to learn that he or she only gets the ball or frisbee tossed or whatever their favorite fetch item may be if they are sitting and not barking. Want to take it up a level? Make your dog sit and stay even after you have thrown the ball and only let them go when you give the word "go get it!" While it is not really necessary to train your dog to do this, this will certainly impress your family and friends.
33. Capturing Calmness This exercise teaches your dog to relax and control his impulse to engage in other behaviors. To help your dog succeed, do this after your dog's needs for exercise and mental stimulation are met. Simply sit down on the couch and keep your dog on a leash holding it firmly under your foot. Allow enough slack so that your dog can sit, stand up and lie down. Watch your favorite TV show or read a book or magazine. Ignore your dog no matter what he does.
This means ignore if he barks at you, chews on the leash, pulls or paws at you. Eventually, your dog will lie down, and he may emit a sigh. Praise him when he does and feed a treat as you pet him calmly. Then say, "Done!" remove the leash and set him free. Repeat this exercise every evening for a week. Eventually, your dog should start to settle down immediately in anticipation of your petting, praise and treat. At some point, right when he is about to lie down say, "Chill" just before he lies down. Soon, your dog should be able to lie down and chill on cue.
34. Bark-Free Windows Does your dog go bonkers when he sees other dogs or people walk by the window? If so, your dog may benefit from this simple impulse control exercise. Make a smacking, kissy sound with your mouth. Next, place a treat at your eye level and give your dog the treat as soon as she looks at you. The sequence is as such:
You make the kissy sound with your mouth with a treat held at your eye level.
The second your dog looks at you, toss the treat on the floor at a distance. Timing is very important with this exercise, so make sure there is no delay between the moment she makes eye contact and the moment you toss the treat.
Do this 10-15 times until your dog gets the hang of it.
At this point, your dog will have grasped the concept that every time you make the noise, your dog associates it with receiving a treat and will come running to you with anticipation. Once your dog gets the hang of it, try to do this from across the room. If your dog drops everything she is doing and comes running towards you, you know you are on the right path. Next, practice this exercise when your dog sees stimuli out of the window. Practice first with stimuli that do not create too strong reactions such as have a family member or friend walking back and forth. Toss the treats away from the window.
Once your dog responds well, start practicing upon seeing triggers. If your dog does not respond well or won't take the treat, this is often a sign that your dog is over threshold so you will need to take a step back in the process and practice at lower levels of distractions, practicing more with less intense forms of triggers. When you can not do this exercise and actively supervise to redirect, remember to keep your dog away from windows or he will quickly revert to his usual behaviors. Keep him in a room the farthest away from windows or draw the curtains or blinds so that he does not feel the need to react. Buffer sounds with music or white noise.
Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise for a well-rounded dog. These games and others strengthen not only your dog's mind but your bond with your canine companion. There are lots of objectives when it comes to training your dog, but beyond the obvious skill and relationship building aspects to training, another advantage is that it challenges your dog and ultimately makes them smarter.
And who says it can not be fun? Beyond basic obedience training, there are also plenty of fun games for dogs that will be cognitively stimulating on top of being entertaining for both of you!
Brain games are a great way to keep your dog well-trained and mentally stimulated. But, before we give you specific game ideas, we want to point out that training your dog is an essential part of setting him up for mental and behavioral success. Training your dog's brain to behave appropriately in all kinds of situations can help keep them mentally alert. How? Because you are teaching him skills that your dog can remember and use all the time. It is also a great way to bond with your pup.
There are hundreds of dog food puzzles and interactive toys on the market for a variety of dog ages from senior to puppy. If you decide to stock the toy chest instead of creating your own games for your dog to play, make sure that any toy you buy is made of safe, durable and non-toxic material. Avoid toys that will get chewed through and choked on, and choose a toy that is appropriate for your dog's size.
Large dogs will need toys that are durable and that they can not swallow, while small and flat-faced dogs tend to enjoy smaller, softer toys. Even if it takes a while to teach your dog about a new game or interactive toy, do not get discouraged. Letting your dog learn and helping keep their mind sharp is what is important. When you pair mental fitness with a tailored Just Right dog food blend, there is no limit to how much your dog can thrive.
How Do Dogs Benefit from Brain Games? The benefits of dog brain games and puzzle toys do not just stop at brain development - they can also help with some common behavioral problems.
Spending additional bonding time with your dog can help reduce separation anxiety.
Regularly exercising your dog's mind can help reduce destructive behavior due to restlessness.
Teething puppies will love games that direct their energy towards something they are allowed to chew.
Using kibble out of your dog's bowl as the reward for puzzles encourages slower eating.
1. Eye Contact Teach your dog to give you eye contact. Hold a treat to your forehead or by your eye and ask your dog to look at you. Gradually fade the food to use a hand signal and a verbal command to ask your dog to look at you. Not only does this basic behavior help you get your dog's attention when he is distracted, but eye contact also triggers a release of oxytocin in both you and your dog. Oxytocin is the hormone for attachment between parent and child. Scientists call these "eye hugs."
2. Switch The Walking Routine Switch Up Your Dog Walking Routine! If you really want to make sure you have your dog's undivided attention, now and again you should switch up your routine. An easy way to do this is by changing the route you typically take when you walk your dog. You can start off by going in a different direction or making a left when you normally take a right, but can also try somewhere completely new to challenge her even more. Exposing your dog to new sights, smells and sounds will throw them for a loop, so you want to make sure that they are paying attention to you and following your lead. Make sure before exposing your dog to a new walking environment that it is safe for both of you.
3. Hot & Cold Game The "Hot & Cold" game uses verbal communication and vocal tone to help your dog find a hidden treat or toy. Hide a treat when your dog is not looking. Use a calm tone for colder if your dog moves away from the hidden treat. Use a more excited tone for "hotter" as your dog gets closer to the hidden treat. This game increases listening skills. It also helps build the special "language" shared by you and your dog.
4. Solve a Problem Teach Your Dog to Solve a Problem! Let your dog figure out how to pull a string to get a treat. Tie a ribbon or small rope to a treat and hide it under a small platform or piece of furniture, far enough back so they cannot reach the treat with their mouth or paw. Encourage your dog to investigate and see how long it takes for him to tug on the string to retrieve the treat. Reasoning skills are essential for developing puppies and older dogs alike. Successful problem solving is also a big confidence booster.
5. Fun and Plush Dog Puzzle Toys Similar to the games above, there are a variety of puzzle toys available at shops that will be especially invigorating for your dog if they are food motivated. The objective, of course, is to have them use their brain to earn the reward. These interactive toys improve your dog's memory, as well as teach them to focus on a specific task for a period of time.
6. Plastic Bottle Put Dog Treats in a Plastic Bottle! For this game, use plastic soda bottles, a metal rod, and a wooden base to create treats in a bottle. Put three soda bottles through the metal rod and secure in the wooden base. Put treats in two of the bottles and watch your dog try to get the treats from the bottles.
7. DIY Interactive Treat Game for Dogs Use plastic storage bowls that nest inside each other, either ones that are the same size or ones that go from large to smaller. Place a treat in the bottom container, then place the second container on top. Continue layering treats and containers. Include one treat in the top, open container to get your dog started. Be sure to do this under supervision so your dog does not try to eat the plastic containers. You can work up in level to make this more difficult, by adding more containers as your dog figures out each level.
8. New Tricks Teach Your Dog New Tricks! Teaching your dog a new trick - whether they are young or old) is not always the easiest, but it is definitely rewarding for both of you. This is something that you may have to work on over time, but will develop attention and obedience skills. One fun one to start with is Under the Bridge. Simply sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and use a high-value treat or your dog's favorite toy to tempt them to move under the "bridge" your legs have made. Make sure to give them a lot of praise once they have accomplished the task!
9. Treat-Dispensing Toys Another fun brain game is a treat-dispensing toy, like OurPets IQ Treat Ball, that can keep your dog mentally stimulated for an extended period of time. The OurPets interactive treat-dispensing toy is available in 3 and 4-inch sizes, and you can adjust the level of difficulty as your dog learns how to get treats faster. These toys keeps our puppy occupied for hours.
10. Muffin Tin Memory Game Some of the best mental games for dogs can be made from items around your home! Test your dog's memory with this easy DIY brain game for dogs. Grab a 12- or 6-cup muffin tin. Hide treats or kibble in the muffin cups and cover them with tennis balls. Let your dog get to work! Their nose will help them find kibbles, but it will take some brain power to figure out how to dig the tennis balls out, and memory skills to remember where they have already looked once the tennis balls start moving around!
11. Countdown To Kibble Your dog will love this food game for dogs that is all about eating! Hold six pieces of kibble in one hand and two in the other, and keep both hands closed. Tell your dog to sit, then say "small" as you open both your hands at arm's length away from them. Close your hand quickly. Only reward your dog if they correctly pick "small"! Start over until your dog understands, then switch up which hand has the smaller amount so they do not just learn left vs. right.
12. Word Search Build your dog's vocabulary by teaching them to fetch their favorite toys by name. It can take a lot of time, effort, and reinforcement by kibble to build your dog's vocabulary, but gradual lessons are worth it. Sit with your dog with their favorite toy in the room, then ask them to fetch it "Get Bunny!". Keep repeating the name of the toy and use lots of praise and snacks to reward your dog for correctly fetching it. When they understand the name of one toy, remove it from the room and start over with a new toy. Once your dog has learned the names of two toys, put both on the floor and ask them to fetch the toys one at a time. Did not get it right? Just keep repeating the name of the toy you want and guide your dog to the right one if they are really struggling.
13. Can You Dig It? If your dog loves digging, it is a brilliant idea to make your dog is own digging box. Not only will a dedicated digging box prevent damage to your garden, but it will also help to satisfy your pup's urge to explore. If you have cats in your household or your neighborhood, make sure you have a lid for the digging box to stop it being used as a litter tray! You can encourage your dog to play the digging game by burying some washable toys in it for your pet to find and dig out.
14. Tidy-up Time Rather than putting all your dog's toys away after a play session, you can turn tidying up into a game for your pet. Begin by training your dog to bring one toy and drop it into his toy box. Reward your pet with a treat when he gets it right. Once the penny drops and your dog understands the game, you can scatter toys around your home, and each time your dog finds one, he gets a reward. Tidy-up Time is a challenging game that is perfect for an older dog who is not spry enough to play more athletic games.
16. Kong Stuffing Kong toys are extremely popular with many dog owners. Kongs are safe, practically indestructible toys that even the most determined chewer will have trouble destroying! Stuff the Kong toy with treats and broth and freeze it overnight. Your dog will be kept occupied for hours trying to get the treats from inside the toy! That is a really useful ploy that you can use to relieve your dog's boredom and stress when you have to go out and leave your pet home-alone for a while.
17. Hunt the Treats! Hunting for treats is a straightforward game that any dog can play. All you do is hide treats around your home in places where your dog is allowed to go. Begin by placing a few treats out in the open where your dog can see them, and then make the game more challenging by hiding the rewards so that your pet has to use his nose to locate the prize.
18. The Flirt Stick Flirt Sticks are a brilliant toy for outdoor games with your dog. A Flirt Stick is a long stick that has a rope fixed to the end. Some sort of "lure" in the form of a toy or rope tail is attached to the end of the rope. You entice your dog to chase the lure, giving your pet lots of exercise and fun! Flirt Sticks are a wonderful way of burning off your dog's excess energy and safely satisfying the prey drive in some breeds. You can also incorporate impulse control training into a game of Flirt Stick by teaching the "let go" command.
Always let your dog catch the lure sometimes so that he does not become discouraged and lose interest in the game. Remember that Flirt Stick is a high-impact game, so always begin slowly and do not overdo it. If your dog is a senior, a puppy, or has any joint or mobility issues, a gentler game is recommended for safety reasons.
19. Shaping Games Shaping games are a very effective method of training your dog, as well as of entertaining him. The idea here is to capitalize on your dog's natural ability to learn new things. A good way to begin is by taking a shallow cardboard box and placing it near your dog. As soon as your dog touches the box, reward his curiosity with a treat. Gradually build on that behavior by encouraging your dog to place his paw into the box, rewarding him when he does so. This indoor game is perfect for intelligent breeds and lends itself very well to clicker training.
20. Independent Thinking In the independent thinking game, your dog is rewarded for trying new ‘tricks’ that they have come up with themselves. This is a great way to encourage their inventiveness. Give your dog something fairly unfamiliar to interact with - such as a chair, and say "trick" to them. When your dog interacts with it for example, they might sniff it - give them a treat. Give the "trick" command again. Whenever your dog does something new, such as pushing the chair, give them another treat. Keep giving them the command, and reward them every time they come up with something new.
If they replicate the same behaviour, such as pushing the chair a second time, simply ignore them and do not offer them the reward. After a while your dog will realise that trying new behaviours when you say "trick" will result in a treat. Soon they will come up with all sorts of inventive ways to earn their treat, such as jumping onto the chair or squeezing underneath it. When you have mastered all these dog brain games, use your creativity to create new challenges for your dog. If you have come up with a great game, let us know all about it!
21. It is your Choose Popularized by renowned dog trainer Susan Garrett, this game is a spin-off of teaching your dog to "leave it" around desirable objects. Start with food in your closed hand. Your dog will nibble at your hand, dig, whine, and all the rest. As soon as she backs off, open your hand. If she dives back in for more, close your hand again. Repeat until you are able to get a 1 second break between opening your hand and her moving in – then pick up the food with your other hand and pop it in her mouth! This game gets progressively harder as you teach your dog to sit and wait patiently for increasingly tempting things.
22. Look At That! If you are hoping to teach your dog to pay better attention to you, look no further than Look At That! This game is a fast-paced clicker training game where you actually mark and reward your dog for looking at other objects, like dogs, bikes, squirrels, or cars. Take treats on a walk with you. When you see the object of focus, click or say "yes!" and feed your dog a treat when he looks back at you. If your dog does not turn towards you because he is too fixated on the object of focus, you are too close or your treats are not good enough. Try again next time. Keep playing the game on walks and you will quickly see that your dog is automatically looking from you to the object and back again, looking for a treat. This "autowatch" behavior is the end goal!
Though newborn puppies are essentially blind at birth, their sense of smell is fully developed and active. It is a dog's most powerful sense and the one we humans overlook the most. While we focus on what things look like, our dogs' attentions center on a smorgasbord of scents floating through the air: what the neighbours had for dinner, which raccoon walked through the yard the night before - if the retriever across the street just got a bath.
These simple scent games only scratch the surface of a dog's tracking capabilities. If your dog really takes to it and you feel so inclined, do a web search to locate a local tracking club and attend a introductory class. Who knows: your pooch could turn into a master tracker!
We have 6 million olfactory receptors, while dogs have up to 300 million. Additionally, the part of the brain that analyzes smells is 40 times bigger in dogs than humans. This enables dogs to find lost hikers, discover buried truffles, or even locate cadavers beneath the water. It stands to reason then, that we should somehow be harnessing this amazing power in our own pets.
Once dependent upon their noses to survive, most domestic dogs today are a bit out of practice. But the good news is that, with just a little planning and patience, you can add fun scent games to your dog's repertoire of behaviours and help her utilize this untapped smell power!
Find the Food This is a simple way to engage your dog's scenting prowess. It requires you to do nothing but place treats randomly around the home in the hopes that she will locate them by scent. Once she finds the first one - often by accident, she will quickly key into the possibility of finding others with her nose. Start by placing one or two treats down in full view, while she is out of the room. Then call her in. She will eat them happily and look for more. Repeat this process, but begin placing the treats in less obvious places, in a corner, just beneath a sofa or coffee table, or even partially beneath a doggie cushion.
Place them while she is outside, or in another part of the home. Then simply let her find them on her own. You will soon see her scenting for them rather than looking for them. Vary placement and quantity, some days just hide one treat. Once she "gets it," vary the hidden item. Try hiding a food dispenser toy filled with treats. Hide a feather rubbed with cheese. Hide a frozen cube of meat or broth - on a plate of course. Then move it out into the yard and do the same, making it easy at first then progressively harder. Try hiding a chicken egg out there! You can even try this in your car or in a friend's home.
Pick the Hand Here is a simple way to rev up your dog's nose. First, get some small tasty treats that will fit into your hand. A bit of turkey meat or cheese will work better than kibble because of the former's stronger aroma. Next, take one into your palm and make a loose, palm-down fist. Then, with your dog sitting in front of you, offer her that fist, and let her sniff. While doing so, say "Find it!" Once she has sniffed it, open your hand and offer the treat, saying, "Good find it!" Repeat this a few times.
Then, add your other empty fist. Do not let her see which hand you place the treat into. Next, move your closed hands back and forth, then offer up both to her, saying "Find it!" When she sniffs at the treat hand, say, "Good find it!" and open your hand to give her the treat. Repeat this, alternating the hand in which you place the treat. As you continue, wait until you can see her nose really "alert" on the treat hand before opening up. The idea is to teach her that the location of treat varies and can be found only by scenting it out. Once she gets it, add a friend's two fists into the mix, making it doubly hard for her.
New Animal Scent Dogs are born trackers of prey, other predators, and competitors. Take advantage of this by placing the scent of a new animal into your dog's yard and see if she picks up on it. Try this outdoors only as dogs will often urinate over another animal's scent as a way of reclaiming territory. To begin, give an old towel or rag to a friend and have him or her rub it all over his or her dog or cat. If possible, have him or her get a drop of urine on the cloth as it contains strong scents. If not, rubbing it will do. Then, without your dog present, place the cloth out of sight somewhere in the yard, beneath a bush or behind a tree. Then let your dog out and see what happens! You can try this randomly with the scent of different animals to keep your dog guessing. After trying dog and cat scents, try hamster, parrot, ferret - whatever you can locate.
Hide & Seek Here is one that uses you as the treat. While your dog is distracted somewhere in the home, hide in a closet, under a bed, or somewhere she would not normally expect you to be. Then just wait. She will inevitably begin searching for you. Once she finds you, praise and reward! If you are in a closet and you hear her sniff at the door, you will know she is doing what dogs have done for centuries.
Next, take it outdoors to a dog-friendly off-leash wooded area, preferably with no one else around. Have a friend hold your dog, then walk off into the woods and find cover. Your friend should wait 30 seconds, then say "Where is, (your name)!" and release her. Your dog should scoot off with her nose to the ground, searching for you. Within a minute she should find you, at which point you should reward her mightily! Increase your distance over time until she can find you no matter how far off.
Shell Game This game builds upon the "Pick The Hand" game. Get four sturdy, coffee cup-sized containers that she cannot break or easily knock over. Avoid glass or paper - glass could break and paper is too flimsy. With your dog sitting and watching, place a treat underneath one cup then move it back and forth. Then say, "Find it!" When she sniffs at it, lift the cup and say, "Good find it!" as she eats the treat. If she knocks the cup over, that is fine. Next, add a second cup. Place the treat then move the cups back and forth a bit. Say, "Find it!" and let her sniff each cup. Wait until she sniffs the right one before praising and lifting the cup. Repeat until she reliably picks the right cup. Then add a third cup, and repeat until she gets it on the first try every time. At that point, you will know that she is using her nose and not random choice.
Where is Dinner? While wild dogs have to track and capture food every day, our dogs know they will find a meal in the same spot every day. But what if, when you called her for dinner one day, her bowl was in a different spot? The answer is simple: she would instantly begin looking for it. Try first placing it in the room next door, she will begin sniffing excitedly and find the scent-rich bowl in seconds. The next day, hide the bowl somewhere across your home and call her for dinner. It will take her a bit longer, but she will find it and wolf it down. Once you have established this game, move her bowl once or twice per week and make her hunt it down.
Scent Trails Food is not the only thing dogs are interested in smelling. Unique scents such as essential oils: lavender, anise, and valerian work well and can motivate dogs and will excite their tracking instincts. To start, get a favourite toy - a ball works well, and put a few drops of essential oil onto it. Then, play a quick game of indoor fetch, followed by a reward. Do so several times in a day. The next day, with the dog absent, hide the same toy, then place tiny pieces of paper anointed with the oil onto the floor, leading 20 feet away from the ball, like a trail of bread crumbs.
Then let the dog into the room where the trail begins and say, "Find your ball!" Most dogs will scent out the pieces of paper then eventually connect that the smell with the ball. Keep at it and praise when she follows the trail. If need be, get her started by showing her the first scented paper. When she does find the ball, reward her! Gradually reduce the number of scented papers until she can find the scented ball all by herself. Once mastered in the home, move it out into the yard. Then change the scent and the toy and begin again. You can use chicken fat, cream cheese, peanut butter - anything your dog likes.
Find the Scent Itself Instead of using a scent as a means to help her find a ball, you can teach her to search out the scent itself. This is a simple version of what drug and bomb-sniffing dogs do. If you have taught your dog to find a ball by following a scent trail, you have already taught her to key in on scent. To begin, take the same scented ball and place it in a shoebox. Then encourage her to come up to it and sniff it by saying, "Find your ball!" Eventually she will scratch and paw at the box, whereupon you should take the ball out - if she has not already and reward her with it. Next, repeat this, only with three boxes, the ball in the original box to prevent cross contamination. Say "Find your ball!" and work it until she succeeds. Reward her with a quick fetch session.
Now, instead of putting the scented ball in one of the three boxes, simply put a slip of paper in the same box, with a few drops of the same essential oil on it. Hide the scented ball outside, wash your hands, then place a new, unscented ball in your back pocket. Say, "Find your ball!" again, encouraging her just as before. When she homes in on the box with the scented paper, praise her mightily then take out the ball in your pocket and toss it for her as a reward. Repeat this over time, increasing distance and the number of boxes. In no time, she will be an expert tracker!
Follow the Scent Trail You can combine sniffing with physical activity using a "follow the scent" trail. For example: You could take the juice from your hot dog jar and make a line across your garden, placing the meat at the end of the trail. Point your dog in the direction of the starting point, and leave them to rely on their nose to reach the finish line. It is a great game to get your dog into scent training… But you might need to play this scent game outside to stop your entire house from getting the meaty odor!
Which Hand? This game helps your dog nail their scent training, while also building their bond with you. To play, simply hold one treat in your hand, and nothing in the other. Close your hands so your fists resemble a ball, and hold them both near your dog's nose. Give them the chance to sniff around, and reward them, by opening your hand to unveil the treat, once they identify which is holding the food. Fancy taking this scent game a step further? Grab one high-value treat and one low-value treat, such as:
High-value treats: Sausages, dog-friendly peanut butter, cheese, or liver. Low-value treats: Plain chicken, dog biscuits, or their regular kibble. Hold each treat in a separate hand and ask your dog to sniff around your hands. Chances are, they will pick the hand holding the high-value treat in favor of the low-value one, but it is a great way to put their nose to work. In fact, you can use this scent game to teach commands like "leave it" and "take it".
Pick a Cup Similar to the "which hand?" game, you could use the same concept for another brain-training game: Pick a cup. This time, you will need three cups and your treat of choice. Make your dog sit and wait whilst you place the treat on the floor. Then, cover the treat with the one cup, and place the other two either side. Slide the cups around the floor, and see whether your dog can sniff-out the cup containing the treat. Granted, this scent game is like a magician's trick. But it will keep your dog entertained for hours - if you have got the patience to keep playing!
Obedience class can become repetitive and boring pretty quickly for our students if we do not make it fun for them. Games are a great way to get both the dog and the owners invested in training without making it hard for them. Both dogs and owners will be getting great recalls and loose leash walking without even realizing it due to some fun games. Here are 5 games that are great to play in obedience class to get our students excited about learning.
1. How Do You Sit? This game can be played two different ways depending on your end goal. If you want to work on the speed of the dog's sits, then you can set a timer for two minutes and have your handlers ask their dogs to sit as many times as possible in the two minutes while reinforcing each sit. Do not forget to count your sits! This works on heavily reinforcing the behavior and can get your owner's excitement up.
Another way to play is working on stimulus control and context. How many different ways can your students ask their dogs to sit and their dogs comply? You give the position and the students give it a try. Some examples may be, facing away from the dog, sitting down, bending over, doing jumping jacks, clapping their hands over their heads, etc. This is a fun one and really lets you know how well their dogs are understanding the behavior.
2. Relay Walks This is a good way to practice loose leash walking in a fast paced environment. You can either have the handlers relay around a small obstacle course - weaving between cones or around objects, or have them hold a golf ball on a spoon. They must move down and back without dropping the golf ball. If the ball is dropped, someone will retrieve it and they must wait until the golf ball is back on their spoon. Whichever team finishes first is the winner.
3. Leap Frogs Down This game is played in the similar fashion of the game Leap Frog. Split your class into two teams and have them gather at a start line. Have a set finish line. The team member that is up first must down their dog and have the dog hold a stay. The next member does the same thing. Each member goes down the line with a down stay until the last member performs the down. Now the first team member moves to the end of the line and repeats the down stay. The rest of the team follows. The first team to cross the finish line wins. If a dog gets up during the game, the whole team must go back to the start line and start over.
4. Recall Races Have two dogs hold a stay and have the owners walk a good distance away. Have both dogs recall to their owners. Gates may be used for novice dogs who may veer from course. As the dogs get good at this game, begin to introduce distractions along the way, whether it is someone sitting in a chair, a ball on the ground, or even a treat. Work from easy distractions to hard.
5. Musical Hoops This game can be played with many different things as the "safe zone" such as, hoops, mats, towels, or low platforms. We will use hoops for this example. Set up hoops in a straight row, one less than the amount of dogs you have in class. Have someone play music while the students and their dogs walk around the hoops in an organized fashion. Students can use clicker &treats to reinforce.
When the music stops, students and dogs must make their way to the hoop and get their dogs to perform a behavior requested by the instructor. Whichever dog is left that does not perform the behavior in a hoop is out of the game. Remove a hoop and repeat. Repeat this until you have one dog left, he is the winner!
GAMES FOR CHILDREN & DOGS This article proudly presented by WWW.DOGICA.COM
If you want to have your dog take part in the Christmas festivities, you need to create some dog-centered games. Remember with all games and training, you must ensure your dog is enjoying it, however, you should also keep good control. If your dog seems to be getting overexcited or frustrated, take some time out in the garden or somewhere where your dog can have their own space to relax and calm down. This should not be a punishment, merely a pleasant and calm wind down opportunity.
Pass the Parcel Set up a parcel as you would for children, but this is one especially for your dog, with treats hidden under relatively loose layers of paper and a longer lasting chew at the centre of the package. You can set some music playing and pass the parcel around the humans just for fun. When the parcel gets to your dog, the music stops and your dog can settle down to the job of finding all the treats - the humans could now have their own parcel, but they might prefer to enjoy watching their dog.
Treasure Hunt Hide dog treats around the house or garden - you can hide treats for the children too. Choose things that are not harmful to either such as carrot sticks, cheese, apple or hide human treats out of reach of the dog. Give the children a map to follow and let the dog use their own nose - see who finds the most. Not recommended for a dog that like scavenge.
Obstacle Course First think about your dog, their size, athleticism, weight, health status and age. Do not put together obstacles that are too challenging for your dog, however it is okay to build up to little challenges in increments, as long as you do not do too much repetition or make it too demanding. Even puppies can join in as long as all of the action is ground level and does not require jumping or too much body twisting. A homemade obstacle course in the garden is ideal, be inventive - use what you can find around the house or garden. Think of things that your dog can climb over, jump over, walk along, sit on, get their paws on etc.
For example, a broom handle across two chairs for a jump or lower for small dogs, a plank of wood raised on a brick or two for a dog walk, or some bubble wrap, wrapping paper or cardboard to walk on. You can also use an upturned washing up bowl to stand on, or right side up to get in, or you can rig something up to crawl under - a sheet on some chairs perhaps.
Other ideas include weaving between obstacles such as plant pots, laying a ladder or poles down and walking in between the rungs, and buying quite cheaply compact tunnels – why not add one to your Christmas list? The children will love it too. Alternatively, a large cardboard box with its top and bottom folded in or cut off can create a great tunnel. If you want to spend a little, a few cones and poles bought from sports supply shops can make low jumps, weaves, and more, and a balance cushion can be fun and help your dog gain confidence as well as building muscle.
Muffin Tin Scent A favourite amongst dog trainers is a muffin tin and the equivalent number of tennis balls to fill all the holes, then a treat is put under one ball - your dog should use their nose to find the right one. You can leave your dog to work it out by trial and error or you can be a bit more interactive.
Catch Teach your dog to catch if they can not already do it. To do this, hold a treat just above their nose so that they look up for it and carefully drop it into their mouth, making it easy to catch. Once your dog has the idea, you can gradually work on the degree of difficulty. Now your dog can catch, get the children throwing a set number of treats to see how many your dog can catch. If you have more than one child, you can see who the best thrower is, or you could make a chart to see if your dog and child improve their score over a few days. With some dogs and children it is better to have your dog behind a baby or dog gate so that they don not get over excited and knock the child over. The rules are:
Only a set number of agreed treats so your dog does not get an upset tummy
Make sure your dog finishes eating a treat before throwing another - it is not a race
Your dog can move but the child should stand still, or at least in a specific place
Make sure your dog has access to fresh drinking water
Tricks Of course, teaching and doing tricks is a firm favourite at any time of year. Get the basics under your belt and these will lead to others. Start with give paw, left and right, down can become roll over, going around in a circle following a treat can become spin one way and twist the other. Remember with all of this to take your time and help your dog by showing them what you want and rewarding your dog, rather than just repeating a command while your dog looks at you blankly. Make sure you always give rewards when training.
Ball Pool Get a bag of children's soft play balls from a supermarket or online and empty them into a box, washing up bowl or small paddling pool. Let your dog watch you drop treats in or hide their favourite toys inside. Encourage your dog to find them by being near them and joining in - smiling and praising them for getting involved and celebrating with your dog when they find whatever it is that you have hidden - hours of fun!
Sandpit Similar to the ball pit - get a child's sandpit or make a small area that can retain sand and fill it, then bury your dog's favourite toys and interesting things that your dog can sniff out and find. This is great for dogs that dig in the wrong place in your garden as it gives them a place to focus where the "treasure" will be found! You can also use tennis balls in a muffin tin or make use of your recycling bin items like cardboard boxes and yoghurt pots, to hide treats or toys in.
Seeking with Your Dog Follow your dog around the garden or another safe outdoor area, and have a good look and sniff of where they are looking at and sniffing! Your dog will love that you are taking an interest in their world, especially if you get down to their level as well.
Water Retrieve Start with an empty bowl or paddling pool and throw in a toy, teaching your dog to find the article in an empty container first. Then, gradually fill a bowl or paddling pool with water, getting the dog used to doing the retrieving exercise as you go. Throw a toy in so your dog can see it moving and then encourage them to fetch it out. Repeat the game or add a few of your dog's favourite toys and encourage them to fetch them out, or simply play in the water. Make sure you monitor how much your dog is playing this game and that they are not swallowing too much water.
Treat or Toy Searching Hold your dog back, or tell them to "stay" if you have trained them. Show your dog a treat or their favourite toy and throw it into longish undergrowth or grass. Release them with a "find it" cue, and encourage them to go and find, and of course eat, the treat. Start close by and then extend the distance and vary the area. You can also do this with toys or other articles for the more advanced dog. Once your dog has the idea, you could leave them indoors so they can not see the direction it went, so your dog has to hunt the whole area. Help them if they need it. In fact your dog will love it if you work together to find the reward!
Detector Dog Once your dog has mastered your searching game, your dog can move on to detecting. Select a smelly, safe herbal teabag, such as camomile. Give your sniffing cue and reward your dog for sniffing the new scent. Repeat this two or three times and then you can start with an easy search. Place your dog's favourite toy and the tea bag together in the same place, just out of reach. As your dog makes the find, release the toy to them for a game and reward with a treat.
After a couple of times, you can leave the toy in your pocket and your dog will normally make the connection that it is the teabag smell they are after. Give your dog a chance to do the find themselves. It sometimes takes a little while but be patient – your dog's nose is brilliant, let them learn how to use it! As soon as it is obvious they have made the find, bounce the ball out for your dog or give them a treat with lots of enthusiastic praise and adoration for your brilliant dog. Train your dog to find other scents in the same way – dogs are capable of finding many differing aromas, you can name them if you want. Avoid using highly scented substances, it is best to use much more subtle scents.
Firstly, the very fact that your dog has your company to enjoy means they are already happier than when knowing that they are being left home alone.
Being indoors doesn't have to be dull. Dogs are social animals and they really enjoy being with us. Play is good for your dog physically, mentally and emotionally. Boredom makes dogs destructive. Keeping your dog entertained can be a challenge. Give Your Dog Mental & Physical Exercise! To keep your dog mentally and physically challenged give them some fun activities to do.
Spending a little bit of extra time making sure your dog gets some meaningful interaction leads to a happy, healthy dog. Dogs are not natural couch potatoes. They have been bred to work alongside humans. Relieve dog boredom by giving them something to do. With a little bit of imagination you can come up with all sorts of ways to help keep them entertained and busy. Make your pup busy with these easy & simple ways to entertain your dog indoors, during the coronavirus quarantine:
1. Play Some Nose Games With Your Dog Hiding treats around the house or playing a game of hide and seek with your dog is a fun way to add in some extra mental stimulation to their routine. It's one of the most versatile games you can teach your dog. Start off with a simple game of "guess which hand" to get them started. It can be played anywhere, with toys or treats you already have. Grab some treats and have your dog watch as you place them around the room. Give your dog the cue to "find the treats" and encourage your dog to pick them up, remembering to praise them every time they find one. After your confident that your dog understands what "find the treats" means you can making it a bit more challenging. Have them stay in another room as you hide the treats, and start hiding them in spots they have to sniff out such as under a rug.
2. Play Some Tug of War With Your Dog Tug is a great way to mentally & physically challenge your dog. Short games of tug work wonders for tiring out our canine friends. Minute for minute a nice game of tug is one of the most physically & mentally challenging games you can play. And contrary to myth playing tug of war with your dog will not make him aggressive. If you do not have a tug toy you can make your own with some fleece or old t-shirts. Tug is a great interactive game for dogs, but there are a few basic rules to follow to keep it safe and fun.
3. Use Interactive Dog Toys Using food dispensing toys, such as the Kong Wobbler and Bob-A-Lot Treat Dispenser, are an easy way to give your dog some more mental stimulation and relieve dog boredom at the same time. There is also a lot of great DIY toys you can make from items around your house like the great dog bottle game. Interactive dog toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied and mentally stimulated.
4. Work on Some Simple Obedience Training Training your dog any new command gives their brain a workout. A few 10 minute sessions a day working with your dog on new tricks or commands burns a lot of mental energy. Teaching your dog a reliable recall & working on impulse control are some of the important basics to master - it's always a great starting point. Sit, lay down, shake, stay and come here are the basic commands to start with.
5. Give Your Dog a Simple Job Have them help out with your chores or everyday routines. Teach your dog how to do some chores around the house. He can load laundry baskets, he can know how to clean up dog toys, he will carry sticks and logs out to our wood pile. Incorporating your dog into everyday tasks can help relieve boredom. It also helps build their confidence. A dog that feels useful is a happy, confident dog!
6. Give Your Dog a Not So Simple Job Find jobs for your dog that fulfill their breed tendencies. Retrievers tend to love fetching and Border Collies usually excel in agility. Find out what your dog absolutely loves doing and make it into a job for them. I personally love lure coursing for dogs - you can even set up a simple coursing track in your own yard. It's a great way to burn off a lot of mental and physical energy, and if your dog loves to chase they will love lure coursing. If your dog likes to pull and you are handy consider building him his own dog cart.
7. Build a Digging Box For Your Dog If your dog loves digging build them their own personal digging box in your yard. Bury toys in it and let them find it - some dogs love digging so much this can keep them entertained for hours.
8. Get Your Dog a Jolly Ball Any big ball toy can be a lot of fun, and jolly balls just tend to be more durable than a soccer ball - if your dog is a tough chewer make sure you get one without a handle. Some dogs love playing with these all by themselves, but of course you can always make it more interesting by playing with them. The allure of these magical items is not understandable by human, but many dogs go insane for their jolly ball.
9. Work on Clicker Training Your Dog Clicker training your dog can be used for training new behaviors and rewarding ones you did not even ask for. It's a way to clearly communicate with your dog the exact moment they perform a desired behavior. All the extra mental stimulation makes for a tired doggie. Dogs are always learning from us - just teaching them where to sit while you prepare dinner is mentally stimulating and enforcing good manners.
10. Practice Some Free Shaping Games Shaping is building a particular behavior by using a series of small steps to achieve it. Letting your dog make their own choices burns an amazing amount of mental energy and helps your dog develop learning behaviors. Studies have found that by using positive training techniques such as shaping help a dog learn to make better decisions in the future. Check out Dr. Sophia Yin's excellent video demonstrating free shaping:
11. Use a Stuffed Kong to Keep Your Dog Busy When you leave your dog at home give him a stuffed Kong or another tough interactive toy to keep his mind occupied. One of dog's favorite things is a frozen peanut butter filled Kong. Usually, dogs can get too busy working on that Kong.
12. Make Some Frozen Treats For Your Dog You can freeze dogs treats in ice or make some ice cubes from broth. Just like a stuffed Kong, frozen dog treats are a great way to occupy your dog when you leave the house or need to do some chores. If you have a full sized Kong it's pretty amazing how long they can keep a dog occupied.
13. Give Your Dog Some Extra Attention Dogs are social creatures, so a nice belly rub, massage, or grooming session is an easy way to create a meaningful interaction with your dog. It is a great way to bond and keep your dog occupied at the same time.
14. Alternate Toys to Keep Your Dogs Interest According to studies dogs get bored with the same old toys. To keep your dog interested in his toys only give him access to a few at a time. Keep them interesting by playing a simple game of fetch or tug, interaction will always make a toy much more desirable. If your dog is a tough chewer like mine consider some Kong or West Paw Zogoflex toys.
15. Provide Your Dog with a Nice Neighbourhood View Dogs like to know what's happening outside so give them a chance to scope out the yard. A lot of dogs love napping in the warm sunlight in front of windows. Of course if you have cats they might have to compete for the nice sun spot.
16. Make Your Dog Work for His Food When it's time for his meals you can use a treat dispensing toy or simply make him do a few tricks to work for it. If you feed kibble you can also try hiding pieces around the house. Studies have found that dogs prefer earning treats to simply being given extras. It goes back to the fact that dogs have been bred to work alongside us, working is not only something to keep the occupied - it gives them a purpose.
17. Teach Your Dog to Relax Not all dogs are naturals at relaxing. The relaxation protocol is a useful technique to teach your dog to sit and stay in a variety of situations. Sometimes a nice simple belly rub is enough to soothe and relax your dog - it's also a great bonding experience.
18. Make a Flirt Pole for Energetic & High Drive Dogs It's a rod with a lure on the end and many dogs love chasing after them. You can make your own with PVC pipe, bungee cord, and a toy for the lure. Word of caution: flirt pole chasing can be really hard on a dogs joints so keep sessions short and do not play with dogs under 1 year of age to avoid growth plate injuries.
19. Make a Simple DIY Puzzle Toy One simple way to relieve dog boredom is by making a DIY puzzle toy for your dog. If you have got a muffin tin and some tennis balls you can make yourself a dog puzzle right at home.
20. Give Something to Chew On Get some chew Toys, bones, or Bully Sticks. Most dogs love chewing, but be sure to keep an eye out for their safety. If they start to break them into pieces they become a choking hazard. Our personal favorite chew toys are Benebones - they are durable, tasty & generally less expensive than antlers or bully sticks.
21. Play the the Shell Game The shell game is a simple problem solving game for dogs. To play the shell game with your dog let your dog watch as you place a treat under one of three cups. You then shuffle the cups around and encourage them to "find the treat." The shell game gives your dog plenty of mental stimulation, and helps them work on their problem solving skills.
TEACHING DOG TO PLAY CUPS GAME22. Teach Your Dog to Clean Up His Toys If your dog's toys are kept in a container you can teach them to put their toys away. It sounds weird to teach your dog to clean up after themselves, but it is actually a lot of fun. Teaching your dog new skills boosts their confidence, and it's a great way to give them more mental stimulation. If your dog already knows "drop it" have them pick up a toy and give them their drop it command once they are standing over the container. Praise them like crazy, then rinse and repeat. Eventually with consistency you will have a dog that will be able to clean up after himself.
23. Play a Game of Tug of War Playing a game of tug of war is one of the best ways to engage in meaningful play with our dogs. It's a great way to mentally and physically exercise your dog. And since it does not require a ton of room you can play it indoors. And contrary to what some people say playing tug will not make your dog aggressive, and letting them win will not make them dominant. Letting your dog win just makes the game more fun for your dog, and it will encourage them to play more. Dogs that play tug with their owners have been found to be more obedient and have higher confidence. Tug is a great way to exercise your dog as long as you have your dog follow a few basic rules such as "the game stops if your teeth touch my hand."
24. Teach Your Dog to Help With Chores Dogs love having a job to do, even if it's something as simple as fetching you your slippers. You can make them feel even more useful by teaching them the names of some items you would not mind having retrieved. If you want to impress all of your friends teach your dog to fetch you something from the fridge. When teaching your dog to open the fridge tie a towel around the handle so it is easy for them to pull open the door. And if you are feeling like a superstar you can teach your dog to help out with daily chores.
25. Play Interactive Games Play with your dog some interactive games such as tug, find the treats, puzzle games and fetch. Interactive games are an easy way to give your dog plenty of mental stimulation, and they can help cut down on problem behaviors such as excessive chewing or barking. If you are going to play fetch indoors use a lightweight ball to avoid breaking all of the things.
26. Teach Your Dog The Names of Their Toys Have you seen Chaser the Border Collie? She knew over 1,000 words and can pick out any given toy among 800 just by it's name. We can not all be overachievers like Chaser, but we can teach our dogs the names of their toys and make some fun games out of it. Start by playing with one specific toy and giving it a name while you do. After some practice & praise your dog will assign that verbal name with the chosen toy. Once your dog has learned that specific toys name you can test their skills by seeing if they can pick it out among their other toys.
27. Teach Your Dog to "Go Find" Their Toys Once your dog knows the names of some of their toys teach them the "go find it" game. Have your dogs toys in a pile or container and tell them to "go find" their favorite toy. As your dog gets better at this game you can make it more challenging by increasing the number of toys they have have to sift through. Keep it fun for them by rewarding them handsomely with a treat or quick game of tug when they succeed. This game will give your dog a great mental workout.
28. Teach Your Dog a New Trick Does your dog know how to weave through your legs and jump through a hoop? There is always a new trick you can teach your dog, and trust me when I say teaching your dog how to weave through your legs is a lot easier than it sounds. Does your dog already know a bunch of tricks? One of the best things about trick training is that there is always room to improvise and make it more challenging. Once your dog knows a bunch of tricks you can step it up a notch and combine their learned behaviors into brand new tricks.
29. Play The Which Hand Game If you have been thinking about teaching your dog some scent work games this is a great game to get you started. The only thing you will need is some dog treats, and if you don't have any on hand - you can use some chopped up fruits & veggies or make your own homemade dog treats. How to Play the Which Hand Game:
Place a treat in one of your hands.
Close your fists and hold them out in front of your dog.
Let the dog choose which hand it's in.
When your dog sniffs or paws the correct hand open it up and give them the treat.
If he chooses incorrectly do not discourage him, it takes a few tries to catch on.
A gentle "touch" command will be helpful.
30. Play a Game of Hide & Seek Hide and seek might not seem all that complex or entertaining to us, but a lot of dogs get a real kick out of it. If your dog does not have a good stay command down you can ask a friend to help by having them distract your dog as you go and hide or you can practice your "stay" before you get started.
31. Get Some Puzzle Toys For Your Dog Keep you dog mentally stimulated by giving them a puzzle to solve. There are a ton of dog puzzle toys available, as well as treat dispensing toys like the Kong Wobbler. There is also a ton of great DIY toys out there you can make. I love the simple muffin tin game - if you have a muffin tin and some tennis balls you are ready to play.
32. Play a Game of Fetch Most of us do have some extra room indoors for a simple game of fetch, but if you live on the 5th floor with a St. Bernard you should probably skip this game. When it comes to playing indoor fetch hallways, stairways, and big living rooms are popular choices. Be careful with heavy toys around anything that's fragile or able to be tipped over, and it's probably not a good idea to play fetch inside the kitchen. If you don't like the idea of playing fetch indoors you could turn it into a simple game of catch.
33. Master The Art of Doggie Massage Learning how to give a dog massage is enriching for owner and dog alike. A nice massage can help soothe and relax nearly any dog. And dog massages are great for older dogs or those with arthritis, since it helps soothe sore and achy joints. Giving your dog a massage reduces anxiety, relieves stress, improves circulation, and creates a great bond between you and your dog. If your dog has a hard time settling down for a massage you can practice the relaxation protocol.
HOW TO MASSAGE YOUR DOG34. Try Some Free Shaping Games If you haven't heard of 101 things to do with a box you have been missing out on some fun training opportunities. It's a great foundation for learning how to practice free shaping techniques, and it only requires a box and a clicker. The basic principle of shaping games is to encourage our dogs to try something new. They get to make their own decisions and increase their mental and physical flexibility. You start out with a box on the ground and without any cues let your dog investigate and decide what to do. Shaping can be used with any item, not just a box. Here is a great video of shape training a dog to crawl under an object.
DOG TRICKS TUTORIAL35. Give Your Dog Regular Grooming Sessions Although your dog won't find a grooming session as exciting as a game of tug it is something that needs to be done from time to time. Our dogs need to be brushed, bathed, have their teeth brushed, and have their nails trimmed when they start to get long. Some dogs tolerate grooming better than others, and the more you practice using positive rewards the easier it will become. Do not be afraid to hand out lots of treats during a grooming session - you want to ensure your dog will associate grooming habits with a positive experience.
36. Play a Game of Tag Playing tag is a fun interactive game for dogs, but it does require a partner. Each of you will sit or stand at one side of the room with a toy or some treats. Take turns calling the dog over and rewarding them when he comes. Make sure your dog is receiving lots of positive reinforcement each time they obey. This is a simple and fun way to reinforce a reliable recall.
37. Create Your Own Indoor Doggie Obstacle Course Create your own obstacle course inside your home. Have your dog jump over some towels, weave through his toys, and then lay down on a blanket. Use your imagination and come up with a set of obstacles for your dog to follow. Once your dog has learned how to jump over the towels you then move onto the toy weave. Building on prior tricks will keep your dog mentally stimulated and encourages focus.
38. Teach Your Dog to Chase Bubbles It's such a simple way to keep my dog happy, entertained & exercised. Some dogs are fascinated by catching bubbles. There is even a wide selection of pet bubble making toys on the market. You don't have to go out and buy special bubbles either - the bubbles that are available for children are nontoxic.
39. Teach Your Dog the "Go To" Command Does your dog know how to go to the couch or to his bed? This trick is simple to teach and it's helpful when you are making dinner or having guests over. If you tell your dog to go to his spot while you are making dinner enough times it will become a habit. No dog in the kitchen while cooking means you won't be finding dog hair in your dinner as often.
40. Teach Your Dog to Grab His Leash Before you go for a walk - teach your dog to go and grab his leash, then he has to fetch your boots and his harness. It's not asking much, but it's enough to keep her focused and busy while your are getting ready. As a bonus teaching your dog to go fetch their leash or harness is a nice way to get in some extra mental stimulation.
41. Teach Your Dog to Turn On / Off Lights This can come in quite handy when it's getting late and you find yourself needing some more light and youare feeling a bit lazy. Instead of having to get up and turn on the light have your dog do it for you. To start with this trick a touch stick or good "touch" it command are handy. If you have a small dog you might have to improvise to make it possible for your dog to reach the light switch. Do not attempt this trick if the occasional scratch mark on your wall will bother you.
42. Make Some Simple Dog Treats Your dog might not be an active participant in the making of dog treats, but he will certainly be reaping the rewards. I love making my own dog treats rather than buying them from the store. It's nice knowing exactly what goes into what our dogs are eating, plus when you make your own you can control the portion size. By making your own dog treats you will not only have a great supply of training rewards on hand, but you will also impress your dog with your excellent culinary expertise.
43. Teach Them To Say Please by Sitting Does your dog come up to you and nudge your hand when they want something? If you don't find this behavior desirable teach your dog that sitting politely is the key to gaining your attention. Do not be afraid to teach your dog how to act - without guidance they develop bad manners. Our dogs look to us for cues all the time, they like to know what's expected of them. Reward polite behaviors handsomely, with consistency your dog will get into the habit of asking for things in a polite manner.
44. Stair Master (Pup Edition) Utilize all areas of your home! If you have a staircase, you can throw a ball up the stairs for your dog to retrieve and return to you at the bottom of the steps. Catch, toss, and have your dog return the ball several times to ensure a tired doggie.
45. Watch Movies For Dogs Yes, that's right. There are movies and TV programs designed especially for dogs. Dogs do not quite see television the way we do, but there are some dogs that seem to recognize the movement on the screen and become very excited. Some dogs will not respond at all to images on the screen. However, the sounds coming from the TV can be heard by most dogs and might interest your dog. It might be worth a try to see if your dog enjoys watching.
46. Run your Dog Up and Down the Stairs In homes with big flights of stairs, running up and down can be a great exercise for your dog. Keep in mind, however, that this is not a good exercise for some dogs. If your dog is old, has health issues, has \ or is prone to arthritis and other joint problems, etc. - don't do this!
47. Play Keep Away Game Also called "Monkey" as well as several other names, Keep away is a game that you can easily play at home if you have some space. You will need someone else to play with you and your dog. Just get a ball, throw it to each other and let the dog have fun trying to get it.
48. Teach your Dog to Use the Treadmill Dogs can use the treadmill, preferably those designed specifically for pets. They need a bit of training, however first get your dog used to a dog treadmill when it's turned off. Then, turn it on at a slow pace. Don't leash your dog on the treadmill - just keep an eye on them and give them treats from the front end of the treadmill.
49. Canine conditioning classes online There are some great online classes for canine conditioning. Similar to online or TV fitness programs for people, classes like E-training for dogs, FitPAWS, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, and others are a great way to exercise your pooch indoors.
50. Make a Homemade Dog Toy Studies show that dogs get bored with the same old toys. Rather than constantly buying new ones, try rotating them or get creative and make a DIY toy or two! Many can be made from old clothes, towels, water bottles and other items around the house. It's a fun way to pass the time when you are trapped inside, and your pooch will love you for your efforts!
51. Snuggle Up & Relax on the Couch After a nice training session or game there is nothing better than a little bit of relaxation. We all need time to unwind, and many of our dogs love to lounge around with us.
52. Play "Pick a Hand" with Your Dog Right in line with our other nose-based games we have the ever simple, and yet entertaining, pick-a-hand game. First, get your dog's favorite treats. Next, hide one in one of your hands behind your back. Then, present both closed hands to your dog. Allowing them to sniff and inspect your hands. Once your dog paws at, or nudges the correct hand with their sniffer, praise them and allow them to have the treat. Don't scold or get upset if they choose the wrong hand. Remember, praise and showing them what they are doing right, works so much better than focusing on what they did wrong or unwanted. If they don't get it right away, try a couple more times until they do. An easy, fun game.
53. Teach your Dog to Ask for Things the Way you Prefer If your dog used to bark at you any time he wants something - try to teach him to ask you for things in a different way. You can teach him to quietly come up to your and rest his head on your lap. Like this you can know whenever he is hungry, wants to go outside, or wants you to play - he simply will rest his head in your lap. If you have a dog that nudges you with their nose, barks at you or does some other undesirable action when they want something. Teach them how you'd prefer them to ask. Some common ways are, sitting quietly looking at you, licking your hand, resting their heads on you. Your dogs look to you for how you want them to act. They want to please you and if they know you prefer them to ask another way, they will usually strive to make you happy.
54. Laser Pointer Chase A fun game many dogs like is to chase a laser pointer. That's right - it's not just for cats! You can pretty much play this until you are exhausted from playing. It's a great time and will entertain both of you. You can also make a bait stick. It is basically just a stick with a long rope or string attached to it and then some sort of "bait" you think your dog will chase. It can be a small toy of theirs, a smallish ball, or anything you think your dog will want to get. The first time you play this you may have to entice your pooch by waving it in front of their face a few times until they decide to get that thing bouncing and jumping all around. You simply hold the stick on the opposite end as your rope is connected to. Warning! Laser can be Dangerous if you direct it to Dog's eyes.
55. Change up your Dog's Play Time Dogs, just like people, can get bored with the same old thing every day. So make sure you keep your dog's games, tricks, and even routines a bit interesting by switching things up. If your dog plays one particular game with you every couple days, the next time he is bored switch things up and pay something new. When a dog learns a new game or new trick they are mentally stimulated. It's also a good way to make your dog use their brain. Any time they are doing something new they have to concentrate extra hard to be sure they are doing it correctly. It's this level of concentration that allows them to use up some of that mental energy and hold their attention. When their attention is on, whatever new thing they are learning it's not on how bored they are.
57. SHOW THEM LOVE ! You should show them all the love! Engaging with your pups is important, but maybe you want to take funny pictures of them to send to social-distancing relatives or re-create famous movie scenes for a blog. Some extra care and attention are also key because if this coronavirus crisis is stressing you out, they will feel it, too. If your dog loves napping next to you, have a stack of blankets for snuggling. Or if your dog is more like a cat, let him have enough alone time. A bond between human and canine is strong, and fostering that will help everybody through tough times.
When a dog loses her eyesight there is a risk that she can become withdrawn. Using toys is a great way to keep your dog entertained and engaged with her surroundings. Just because your dog can't see doesn't mean that she can not have fun with you: There are plenty of games and toys that are perfect for interacting with your blind dog.
Keep your blind dog physically and mentally challenged to avoid him sinking into depression. Walk him often and allow him plenty of sniffing exploration breaks. At first, he may be reluctant to explore new places. If so, keep your walks to familiar routes. Give him time to adjust, and extend your walk by just a little each day. Soon exploring new places and smells will be a favorite activity. Remember that blind dogs enjoy having fun, just like any dog. Because a blind dog relies so heavily on smell and hearing, it will be helpful to select toys that activate those senses.
Most dogs tend only to live in the moment but also be in tune with the dog owner's emotional state. Hence, the blindness may not be a very big issue to them. When the dog owner is either sad or depressed, the dog will still be able to sense it and will try to do what it can to keep the owner happy. Just like any dog, blind dogs love to play with toys and play with you. As stated before, their sense of hearing and smell will grow more acute over time. Consider these when selecting toys.
Kongs filled with smelly treats are a wonderful way to keep your dog entertained. You can play fetch with a tennis ball scented with lemon oil or vanilla extract or a ball that makes noise when it bounces, but you may need to limit the distance you are throwing it. Be sure to have a clear space with no obstacles. Tennis balls inside a kiddie pool, with or without water, can be fun for your dog to chase, and they won't be able to get away from him.
Look for toys that make sounds!
Try "Hide and Seek" game with your dog. Hiding at close perimeters and slowly expanding is not only a fun game, but also teaches your dog to come. You can also hide small treats and let your dog use his sense of smell to find them. Several treat-dispensing toys are on the market, which are perfect for blind dogs.
The Buster Cube can be stuffed with treats, and when your dog interacts with the toy, treats fall out for him to enjoy.
Similarly, Kong toys are also great for scent games. Fill the inside with peanut butter or any treat your dog loves and he will be occupied for hours.
Scented toys are great for engaging blind dogs in playtime. Jolly Critters Dog Toys are vanilla scented, making them easy to locate in "find it!" games with your dog. Just be sure and select non-toxic scented toys.
KONG SQUEEZE TOYS When it comes to toys, any dog owner with an insurmountable amount of experience can attest to the fact that Kong's are some of the best toys currently on the market for dogs that can see and those that are not able to see. What makes, Kong's stand out from the rest is that they have been designed in a way that the dog owner can be able to stuff in, treats. The treats will not only act as a motivator for the dog but will also offer various aromas which the visually impaired dog can be able to seek and find the toy.
BABBLE BALLS Just like Kong Branded Squeaky toys, Babble Balls are also another great type of interactive toys for the visually impaired dogs. When touched or squeezed, bubble balls tend to talk or make exciting animal noises that can be fun and insightful for the pet. Over the last few years, the technology used on bubble toys has drastically improved in a manner that a dog breathing or vibrations due to the dog's movement can be able to trigger the toy to produce interactive animal noises.
Once the play ends, the babble ball can switch off automatically and will still be ready to produce noise when touched again. Due to the sophistication and the amount of technology used in the toy, most dogs often tend to think that the toy is alive. Currently, babble balls are available in some series such as the animal series or the talking series which is also called the wise-cracking series. The new generation Babble Balls have been amalgamated with a series of features that undeniably makes them stand out from the rest. All Babble Balls come with a durable ABS construction, improved sound quality, triple sounds, and finally replaceable batteries.
ROPE TOYS Rope toys are suitable for playing fetch and tug of war with your visually impaired pet. Apart from being uniquely woven and hand tied with the aim of improving the dental formula of your pet. Each toy design from the leading companies comes with its story and are suitable for chewing and also playing tag for lots of hours. Currently, there are several rope toys designed that are available on Amazon, they include: Daisy the duck from Jax and Bones, The Zanies Menagerie Dog Toy, Coco the Elephant from Jax and Bones, Griggles 10 inch rope Elton and Daphne the Deer from Jax and Bones. As one of the trailblazing toy designs, the Good Karma Rope Toys have been nominated by several magazines as one of the best toys for cats and dogs.
Shaping Games Playing shaping games with your dog will help them build confidence and offer new behaviours.
BELL TOYS Apart from squeaky toys, there are also various toys that have been designed with bells on the inside. The bell toys are ideal for the visually impaired dogs because they tend to produce bell sounds when moved or thrown so as to assist the dog in locating the toy. However, Bell Toys must be given to dogs under strict supervision because the bell in this toys can be easily swallowed if he or she manages to dislodge it from the bell toy. Currently, there are several brands that deal exclusively with bell toys. They include Four Paws, which is the brand that has produced the Four Paw Rough and Rugged Bell Toy, the Four Paws Rough and Rugged Baseball bell toy, the Rubber Ring Bell toy, and many others.
SCENTED TOYS As discussed earlier, use of scents is also an effective way that will assist your visually impaired dog to locate its toy without straining too much. Currently, there are numerous scented toys on the market like the durable rubber toys from Planet Toys which have been mint scented. Other great examples also includes the Orbee Tough which is ideal for the visually impaired dogs and those that are not. The Orbee Tough scent toy has been designed in a way that there is a location where the dog owner can be able to place treats, cheese, and peanut butter. Apart from the Orbee Tough scent toys, the eco-friendly Vanilla Scented toys from BecoThings are also a great choice for blind dogs. If you have already purchased other type of toys, you can also be able to scent them in different ways so that your dog can be able to find them. For the soft toys such as rope toys or plush toys, you can add a small quantity of scented extract like vanilla or mint to the toy. You can also alternatively decide to add different kind of scents to each of the toys so that the pet can be able to differentiate one from the other.
For the squeaky and hard toys, you can choose to place them in an air-tight bag that is filled with strong-smelling food such as dried liver or a pig's ear. After several days, the hard and squeaky toys will have completely absorbed the smell from these pieces of food.
HOMEMADE DIY TOYS FOR BLIND DOGS DIY toys are suitable for individuals who are looking to cut extra costs by making use of what can be found around the house to design and create dog toys. Apart from being cheaper, DIY is also an amazing way to recycle old materials instead of throwing them away. All in all, there are several toy designs for blind dogs that you can be able to design just by sitting down for a few minutes. Also, with DIY you can always decide to get a little bit creative without exhausting your resources or straining your budget. All in all, here are some DIY Toy designs that you should know.
Jiggle balls Apart from purchasing toys for your visually impaired dog, you can alternatively decide to create your homemade toys that will in turn allow you to save a little bit of money. One such toy is the Jiggle Ball which is usually designed in a manner that it can produce noise. When designing the jiggle ball, you will be required to poke a small hall into an old tennis ball. Through the hall, you will insert a small and simple metal ball.
So as to keep the dog interested, you can also insert a few treats through the hole. For the visually impaired dogs and puppies, the scent emitted by the treat inside the ball will allow them to find the toy effectively without straining too much. Finally, you will be expected to reseal the openings with some stitches so that the jiggle ball will not come out very easily.
Sock Ball Toy Sock Ball Toys are also very easy to design and are suitable for all kinds of dogs. When designing a sock ball toy, you will be required to take an old sock then stuff it, with a tennis ball. But before, stuffing the ball inside the socks, you should ensure the socks is clean because your pet is going to have the toy in his or her mouth most of the time. Also, the scent of socks might confuse the dog, and he or she may start to chew other socks or shoes that may be in the house. After inserting the ball into the socks, you can then decide to get creative with the design since you will be designing this socks for a visually impaired dog. You can decide to insert treats into the socks, or you can also insert a jiggle ball inside the sock ball.
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