Whilst we love our four legged fur babies, it can sometimes be challenging to find the time to exercise your dog after a long day of work. That’s why we have complied a list of our top 5 games that are fun for both you and your dog.
- Hide and seek
Just like kids, dogs love this game! Tell your dog to ‘Stay’ whilst you find a hiding spot. Remember to take some of his favourite treats so you can reward him for finding you! Wh en you are hidden, call out for your dog to find you- but only call out once. Remember to celebrate with lots of praise, cuddles and a treat when you have been discovered.
- Treasure hunt
This one can be played indoors or outside. To begin with you’ll need your dog’s favourite treat or toy as the prized treasure! Command your dog to ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ and then hide the treasure in a corner, or under an object while he watches you. You’ll need to train your dog to retrieve initially giving him the signal to get it such as “ok!” or “go!” and once he finds it, immediately say “find!” Subsequently each timehe retrieves the toy or treat say “find!” Once he understands the game you can actually hide the treats/toys and then command “find!” As your dog becomes for familiar with this game, you can make the hiding spots more difficult. Give your dog the signal to find the prizes and watch him go! The physical act of sniffing, coupled with the mental stimulation of finding the treasure, will tire your dog quicker than you imagine!
A favourite, and for good reason, playing fetch for a dog releases ‘happy’ chemicals in their brain (similar to the ‘high’ humans feel after running or exercising). Quite simply, it just feels really good! Of course some breeds are more inclined to fetch and return, such as Labradors, Retrievers, Border Collies and Spaniels to name a few. All you need is a ball and some space for your dog to stretch his legs!
The urge to ‘tug’ is a biological drive that dogs are born with. Knowing this, playing ‘tug of war’ is a great way to direct your dog’s energy and attention, whilst satisfying this natural urge. Played correctly, it also teaches dogs not to use teeth on people. To play safely, invite your dog to play with a designated tug toy. Choose a start cue, and play until you decide it’s time to stop. Make sure your dog drops on command and leaves the toy until you restart the game. Read our blog on ‘Tips for Tug of War’ for more details (link to Tug of War blog)
Whilst this game requires practice, Frisbee is a great game for both humans and our four-legged friends as it involves running, jumping and coordination. Better yet, Frisbee is an outside game, and we all know the benefits of fresh air and the great outdoors! Look for a flexible, rubber Frisbee made for dogs as the plastic varieties can be chewed and snap inside a dogs powerful jaws. (The Doghouse stocks the ‘Aussie Dog’ brand which are Australian and made tough to last!)
Remember- playing with your dog at the end of a long day is a great way for you to unwind. Revel and relax in the repetition; whether it’s throwing a ball, or Frisbee or hiding treats. And share in the joy you are giving your dog at the end of a tiring work day!