15 Fun Games for Dogs to Play
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There are all sorts of dog toys, but let’s get down to the basics. Do you know many fun games to play with your dog? Which dog games are your pup’s favorites?
Fun dog games are paramount to your dog’s physical and mental health, crucial to relieve dog boredom and vital in establishing that oh-so-special dog/human bond.
Here are some fun dog game suggestions for you.
1. Tug of War
This is a basic game for dogs to play. For us, the best toy to use is a good, sturdy but comfortable rope dog toy, it usually comes at a great price and is very durable.
Your dog bites into one side, you grab the other and tug of war ensues.
Best yet, if you have two dogs, each catches one end and growl and pull away until one of them gets tired or loses, which usually doesn’t happen very quickly.
It is a great indoor game, because it doesn’t require much room or movement. It helps keep your dog active and entertained, no boredom in sight!
If you are on the other end of the rope, we suggest you let your dog win sometimes, because if he keeps pulling and nothing happen, he’ll end up more frustrated than happy and nobody wants a bored, frustrated dog!
In our home, all of our dogs love tug of war! Even sourpuss Dobby! Tommy and Coco usually play together, Dobby prefers to play with us and given the different in sizes, it’s probably for the best!
2. Hide and Seek
This is a fun game for problem-solving dogs and perfect for retrievers. It’s actually a very thorough game, he’ll use his brain and his smell and he’ll run around a lot.
You hide toys for your dog to find, it really is that simple. Its fun and interactive, and it will keep him entertained for hours, so we recommend it to relieve dog boredom.
It is great for his mental health and it’s a game you can play with your dog indoors and outdoors, with minimum room required, though he will probably run around trying to find his coveted prize.
When you’re training your dog to play hide and seek, you’ll probably need to motivate him at first. You can use something with a scent he loves, treats or even his favorite dog toy.
Over here our best seeker is Tommy, he will find anything, anywhere, it’s great fun to watch! Dobby can’t really be bothered, nothing motivates him to seek. Coco seeks but gets bored after a while.
Read also: best interactive dog toys
This fun dog toy is probably best played outside, though we have known people who’ve tried it inside with various degrees of success and destruction. Either way, it is a fun dog game!
You just throw the Frisbee and your dog catches it. It isn’t really like fetch, because the point of this dog game is for the dog to catch it mid air, making it much more fun for you and him.
We personally recommend the KONG flyer, because it’s light and more durable than most dog frisbees. It is so easy to throw it high and far!
Also, a Frisbee will last longer in the air than a ball, so it can go a longer distance than a ball, perfect for a high energy dog who loves to run and jump.
It will, however, be harder to train than a regular game of fetch. Even for you, you’ll probably need to train with it until you reach the height and throw length you desire. So all in all it will be a great learning experience for you both and we guarantee you’ll both have lots of fun while training.
In our home, Tommy and Coco love the Frisbee, they’ll play with it for hours. Dobby won’t and let’s just leave it at that, no need to mention, he’ll just run away from it…
4. Guess which hand game
This is a very cute dog game and simple enough. Much like you do when you play it with humans, you show your dog your hands and a treat.
You place your hands behind your back and hide the treat in one of them, then show it to your dog. He’ll have to guess in which hand the treat is hidden.
It’s easy to detect for dogs with great noses, all of our dogs have hunting breeds so it’s a piece of cake (or should we say treat) for them.
But some dogs get really confused for a while, it’s so sweet watching them trying to decide.
Eventually, even dogs without much of a sent instinct will learn to sniff the treat out. But then again, if you repeat this game long enough, both your hands will have the same scent and then it’s all about sheer luck…
This is a classic game to play with your dog. You throw something as far as you can and your dog runs after it, catches it and brings it back.
You can use pretty much any dog toy to play fetch, though it’s easier to teach your dog how to do it if it’s a toy he loves.
It will require some patience on your part as far as the teaching goes, he will probably chase after it but not return it at first, so a little reward when he gives it back is a good way to show him how to do it.
It’s mostly an outdoors dog game, though you can play it inside too, if you don’t have much love for your furniture (or not that much furniture, for that matter).
There are a lot of dog toys made particularly with fetching in mind. You have the orange ones, the ones that whistle, the ones that glow in the dark, the ones that float, you name it!
At our home, Tommy and Coco are great fetchers, Dobby is NOT! He’ll just look all hurt and wounded when he brings you a toy and sees you throw it away again, causing him to quit after a while. (“How dare you? After all the effort I made to bring that toy to you…”).
Read also: top 10 best dog toys
6. Treat dispensers
Treat dispensers are always doggy pleasers. We’re talking about dog toys that give out treats and food, you just can’t beat that!
It’s one of the easiest dog games to teach since they’re interested already and the food/treat scent does the work for you. They will want to engage the toy and spend as much time with it as it takes to empty.
It can also help to curb separation anxiety in dogs.
Just don’t expect your dog to pay much attention to that kind of toy once there is no more food left inside.
The StarMark Bob-A-Lot is a great option because it is challenging and it will last a lifetime. The hole is adjustable to increase the difficulty.
Another good treat dispensing toy is the KONG classic. Just put some food or treats inside, freeze it and give it to your dog. You can even top it with peanut butter, yogurt or fruit to ensure maximum dedication and entertainment.
You can play with your pup, hiding the toy or playing around with it or you can leave him to play by himself, as long as he’s not a very aggressive chewer, you don’t want him ripping a piece out and swallowing it.
And do you know there are treat dispensers that let you play with your dog while at work?
7. Agility Dog Games
This fun dog game is actually prescribed by vets for high energy, easily bored dogs who love getting into trouble if not properly trained.
Agility Dog Games are good for both their mental and physical health.
These dog games challenge them on both accounts, keep them constantly learning new things and really burn through their energy supplies.
It is probably one of the hardest dog games when it comes to training. But it is also the one who will probably create the greatest bond between human and dog, because you’ll need to be in really focused on each other.
Obstacle courses, tunnels, you name it, it’s possible. It is a great outdoor interactive game for dogs and also something you can do with more than two dogs, setting the exact same challenges to see who finishes quicker.
Dobby was a great agility dog when he was younger, before he discovered that lying on the couch means requires much less effort and the same amount of fun (but he is a cat dog now, so we get it). Tommy and Coco are great at it when we get them to focus, mostly they just love to run around aimlessly. But once they focus on it, they have a lot of fun!
8. Name the Toys Game
Now, here’s a real challenge for you! This game requires you to teach your dog how to recognize toys by name, so that he’ll get the right toy when you ask for it. Pretty cool, right?
As far as teaching goes, it means a lot of repetition and encouragement, but trust us, it is so worth it! Positive training is a wonderful way to create a special bond between you and your dog.
Also, the mental exercise it provides him is very important for his health. So we say yes, go for it!
Start with a small group of toys, different shapes and colors to make sure he doesn’t get confused and try it!
We, I’m afraid, are very lazy… Tommy is the only minimally trained pet in our household. Dobby can do a few simple things like sitting, laying, giving the paw (and a lot of words but they’re usually related to food or going for walks so that doesn’t really count) and Coco… well… Coco does her own thing really…
Read also: best toys for puppies
Dogs love playing soccer! Except Dobby who’s afraid of the ball or Coco who would much rather chew on the football than play with it.
But other than that, dogs love playing soccer!
You don’t even need to be particularly good at it, you just need to make it a bit difficult for them to get it and you’ll have guaranteed entertainment with your dog.
It’s a good dog game to play outside, preferably on a nice warm day.
If you’re looking for a soccer ball that lasts more than a few dog bites we recommend the Chuckit fetch ball. It is an amazing product!
You can have a bit of exercise with your dog while having a lot of fun doing it! If you have human company, just pass the ball around a few times as your dog chases it, if you’re alone just take a few turns and twists and watch out not to fall over your dog.
As usual, a friendly reminder, allow your dog to get the ball in between passes or he will get frustrated and lose interest.
Either than that, you never know, you may just have a doggy soccer star on your hands!
Have you ever tried making soap bubbles in front of your dog? He will go berserk! It’s fun, costs next to nothing, you can do it for a long time without getting tired and there is no training required so, needless to say, we do it a lot around here!
Some dogs will jump after them to pop the bubbles, others watch it fall on them, some will want to eat them, either way, they just keep on coming back for more!
11. Play Chase
Simple but very efficient, this fun dog game is one of our dog’s favorites. It’s a great workout for both you and the dog, though we did end up way more tired that the dogs…
The premise is very simple. Either you get down on your foursin front of your dog or just lean towards him before you take off running. He will, of course, chase you. Reward him with a big celebration once he catches you and just do it all over again.
There isn’t much teaching involved, the only thing you might need to watch out is the catching part which, for a more energetic or strong dog, can result in a painful moment for you so, for bigger, more excited dogs, you might need to teach him what you want him to do once he gets to you.
Either than that it is free, prop-free fun dog game, guaranteed to entertain your dog for as long as you’ll endure doing it
12. Flirt Pole
This is what we call a lazy human dog game, which means it is right down our alley! All you need to do is move the pole around.
Attached to the end will be a rope with some sort or dog tug toy that is colorful and interesting enough to make your dog want to chase it. We know, they totally ripped this idea off the cat’s pole, but whatever…
It’s a great dog game for those rainy days if you have a bit of clear room in your home.
He’ll jump and twist and do all sorts of acrobatics trying to get his prey, it is guaranteed to tire out even the most energetic pup.
We personally use and recommend the Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole. It is great for tiring high energy dogs!
You can use it to train your dogs, if you associate certain commands with the required movements, the reward of getting the toy is enough to teach him those commands easily enough.
At our home it works great with our dogs, the only thing you need to watch out for is leaving the toy away from the dog’s reach when you’re not playing with him because if you leave it close to him he will tear the toy, eat the rope and maybe even chew on the stick (or maybe that’s just our dogs who are savages).
13. Obedience Training
This is a great game for dogs. It is also one of the easiest ways to get closer to your dog.
Teaching dogs to do certain tasks or tricks has multiple degrees of difficulty or challenge. You can teach your dog to sit or give you his paw, walk by your side without a leash, stand between your legs, roll over, play dead, you name it!
All you need it patience, a dog eager to please and maybe a training book like 101 Dog Tricks or even a YouTube video showing you how it’s done.
The benefits of this dog game are many. It is great for their mental and physical health, and a great way to bond.
Just know that some dogs will learn quicker than others and some tricks will be easier for your dog than others. And that’s okay! Each dog is different and the only thing they have in common is how much they love us and how perfect they are with all of their little imperfections.
Read also: how to treat separation anxiety in dogs
14. Water Games
Most dogs love water and want to play with it. Preferably outside, when the sun is shining, running around with a water gun, a hose or even a bucket (let’s face it, some dogs will need a bucket).
By the way, bath time can be much more fun for the both of you if done outside than inside a bathroom, if you can.
If you own a pool, placing tons of rubber balls on it or just being inside it can be enough to make your dog want to join you.
Or maybe at the beach or the lake, jumping waves (in Dobby’s case the small puddles) and making a splash or maybe throwing sticks or a dog toy in the water for the dog to retrieve.
For some dogs, even a sprinkler is enough to get their playing juices going.
For dog’s who don’t like the water, getting them to enjoy this is totally possible, if you have the patience to work on what scares him and take baby steps to introduce him to the water.
If he’s scared at first, use your dog’s favorite toys to get him interested. That’s what we did with our Tommy, a Jack Russell, and now is so obsessed with his Chuckit ball that he even jumps through waves at the beach!
We do not recommend throwing him in and see what happens, more often than not they will be even more scared than before.
Overall if you make it fun and if they feel you’re having fun, they will be much more open to trying it and joining you than if you worry about his reaction and make a big deal about it. Just have fun and make sure your dog does too!
Read also: best toys for dogs
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15. Laser Pointer
Usually associated with cats, laser pointers can be loads of fun for dogs, if used correctly.
Our dogs love it! It is pretty self explanatory, you point the laser and the dog follows it around, trying to catch the elusive light.
The two important things to have under consideration, never point the light in the direction of the dog’s head (particularly the eyes) and keep this game short.
It is said this isn’t a good game for dogs because they will obsess over it, since they never do get to catch the red dot.
Ours never shown any issues with this, but I will say that hiding a treat or a toy somewhere and when you’re about to finish playing, leading the dog to that reward is a great idea, because it gives them closure and that probably means they will want to play it again next time, which is a plus (unlike cats who’ll just figure out where the light comes from and attack your hands from then on).
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