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Finding fun and constructive ways to play with your dog is one of the best parts of being a dog owner. The best games for dogs not only provide physical exercise but also offer mental stimulation. Below are five games to play with your dog to keep him excited, engaged and stimulated.
5 Games to Play with Your Dog
1. Chase the Prey
Chase the Prey lets your dog use his natural prey instincts in a non-destructive way. It also gives him the opportunity to practice impulse control by dropping the object on command.
Using a flirt pole (a long pole, pipe or stick with a rope attached), tie a toy or some other lure to the rope. Drag it slowly and stop occasionally rather than waving it around rapidly. The slow pursuit helps your dog learn to focus.
Let him catch the lure every so often as a reward. If he never wins, he may get discouraged and lose interest.
2. Hide the Treat or Hide & Seek
Hide the Treat is a great brain game for dogs, as it allows them to use their problem-solving skills. Hide it in a place that’s difficult to get to and leave a trail of scent by rubbing it on a few spots along the way.
Use language like “hot” and “cold” as your dog gets closer or further away from the treat. Changing your tone from calm for “cold” to excited for “warm” and “hot” will build his listening skills, too.
Like Hide the Treat, Hide and Seek uses his scent-tracking abilities. Plus, it gives him the opportunity to practice commands like “stay” and “come.” Have your dog stay while you hide. Once you’re in position, tell him to come and give him lots of praise when he finds you. If he doesn’t know “stay” yet, have someone distract him until you call.
Fetch is a great game for energetic dogs. It provides plenty of physical exercise while fulfilling their natural instinct to run. A more advanced alternative to regular fetch is Frisbee, which is a little more challenging to catch than a ball. To keep your dog mentally and physically engaged and challenged, vary the height, distance and direction of your throws.
4. Tug of War
Tug of War is a good outdoor or indoor game for dogs. Not only is it fun and engaging, but the pulling and tugging also makes good physical exercise. To keep it engaging and fun, let him win occasionally. Don’t forget to practice commands like “drop it,” though.
5. Agility Training
For the ultimate mental and physical stimulation, try agility training. It may even tire your dog out more than a long walk would. Set up an obstacle course in your backyard with objects from around the house. You can place boxes for him to jump over and cones to weave between. You can also try hula hoop leaping. Once your dog gets the concept, reward him with lots of praise and affection.
Outdoor and indoor games for dogs are beneficial, but anything that’s too aggressive or lasts too long can lead to overstimulation. End play sessions while you and your dog are both still having a good time. This leaves him excited for his next play session rather than exhausted and discouraged.
By playing these games for dogs with your own furry friend, you’ll keep him active and mentally stimulated, but most of all, happy. If you need treats for games like Hide the Treat or for rewards, find your dog’s next favorite treat here.
Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Dr. Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine) welcomes referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.
Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital
9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.