We all love playing with our dogs and spoiling them with treats and extra play time. However, you probably find yourself getting into the same routine of paying the same games day after day. You play fetch with them, and throw a ball, and then play more fetch, and then throw another ball. Are you seeing a pattern here? Dogs like change too, and they won’t learn anything new if you condition their minds to the exact same activities. Just like humans, dog’s need to be challenged to keep their brains sharp.
Have no fear though– you can still have quality bonding time with your pooch while actively entertaining both of your minds. We’ve rounded up a helpful list of games for your pup that will get their mind working in different ways, and still be enjoyable for you both!
Doggy Treat Hunt
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If your canine is already a junior detective in the smelling department then he or she will love this game. You can set up a fun quest for them by placing treats anywhere within your home and getting them to find their mystery locations. You can provide aid as needed in this simplified version of a scavenger hunt.
Tidy up the Toy Area
This game is a sly, but entertaining one to condition your pooch into putting away their toys for a reward. We all love a clean living space and you can easily get your dog to actually want to help by offering them a snack in exchange. You’re able to teach your dog organization while having an enjoyable time.
Hide & Seek
You’ll get a little blast of the past with this classic childhood game. If you don’t necessarily feel like being active or running around, the only thing you have to do is stay out of sight. Find somewhere they can’t see you and call out for their attention. Your dog will either scurry the entirety of your home or smell for your scent, so they get to be a detective and you get to relax knowing they’re content. This game engages their physical and mental ability and boosts them right out of a sedentary lifestyle.
Don’t Move Game
This one teaches your dog the patience needed to stay where they are. It’s important that your canine doesn’t follow you as you back away and you teach him or her the stay command by increasing how far away you get.
Similar to the magic card trick often played on humans, you can use this game to develop your pup’s sniffing skills. You need a few opaque cups, preferably 3, with treats set underneath one. You rotate them around as your dog watches and let your dog choose which one they think holds the goodies. Give them a prize if they choose correctly or continue playing until they do.
You’ll quickly realize that this activity becomes a moderate exercise for you and your pup! You run and they follow you around, which teaches them the vital skill of staying near you in an emergency. An added perk is that it’ll keep both of you physically fit.
A smart dog knows where its toys are but an even smarter one knows what those toys are called. Set their play objects near the two of you and say which toy you’d like to be brought to you. They bring the correct one and then you give them a reward or else keep repeating the title until they bring over the right one. This is a great exercise for their mind, and you’ll both enjoy him having this new skill.
This is one of the more active activities with an entertaining objective of completing an obstacle path. Your pooch listens to your directions and navigates through an established route. You construct the path yourself and bond with him or her through the process.