One sure way to get over boredom is to play a fun game. And we would argue that there’s no one better to play a game with than your very own dog! If your loyal friend loves to play around, try playing some of these games with your dog for guaranteed entertainment and enrichment.
Why Should I Play Games With My Dog?
You can entertain your dog, increase their daily enrichment and stimulate their minds by playing with them. Did you know that a dog who is entertained is less likely to become bored and scratch your furniture or chew things you’d rather they weren’t chewing, like your sofa or shoes?
Playing games with your dog is a great way to bond together and to burn off some energy. The great thing is, you can adjust the games to play with your dog for indoor and outdoor purposes, so you will always find somewhere to play.
Games To Play With Your Dog
If your dog is showing signs of boredom either from being stuck inside the house or their walks aren’t stimulating enough for them anymore, why not try to play a game or two with your dog. Take a look at the following games to play with your dog, indoors and outdoors, for some inspiration:
Fetch and Retrieve
You can safely play ‘Fetch’ with your dog indoors and outdoors, provided they have enough room to manoeuvre safely around the house, and that your floors aren’t too slippy. You can place a mat on the floor to help add grip for your dog when playing fetch indoors, as it involves a bit of running.
To play fetch, show your dog their favourite toy, such as the small rugby ball, and throw it down your hallway or in the outdoor area you’re playing in. When throwing the toy, say ‘Fetch’ and encourage your dog to chase after it.
Settle on a clear word or phrase to use if you’d like your dog to retrieve the toy back to you. Common phrases include, “Leave It”, “Give” and “Bring It Back”. If your dog brings the toy back and drops it for you, praise them and then decide if you both would like to repeat the game.
This game can be played with anything your dog finds valuable, such as their favourite treat toy or person.
To play, show your dog their favourite toy, like the medium treat toy which allows you to put a treat inside, and hide it in the room, either by setting it somewhere when they aren’t looking or throwing it at random into the play area.
Once you’ve hidden their favourite treat toy, tell your dog to ‘Find It!’ and encourage them to look for the treat toy. If they are successful, clearly say ‘Yes!’ so they know they have won the game and give your dog lots of praise. You can repeat this game and try it in different rooms or play areas.
To play ‘Find It!’ with a person, show your dog their favourite person and then get the person to hide in a room or corner of the garden. When they’re hidden, tell your dog to ‘Find ___!’ and use the person’s name. Encourage them to go and look for the person and when they find them, give them lots of praise for winning the game. This can be repeated with different people, in different areas.
To really get the best out of playing games with your dog, try to use names for those involved. Before starting the game, say your dog’s name and the action you’d like them to do e.g. ‘Sit’ or ‘Wait’. This interaction will bring your dog’s attention to you and mentally stimulate them for a deeper connection during playtime.
It is also a great opportunity to practice their recall training in a fun way, followed by action with their toy e.g. when playing ‘Fetch’ and asking your dog by name to ‘Bring It Back’ when they collect it.
In the house or outside, you can play shadow games with your dog. This type of game brings your dog’s attention to you and increases their trust in their owner so that they will stay nearby. Shadow games are a particularly useful training method if you are considering taking your dog off-lead.
To play shadow games, you’ll need treats and an area to walk around in. With your dog on a long lead, walk in any direction. When your dog catches up to you, offer them a treat. Walk around in different directions and around obstacles, such as a chair or a tree, and encourage your dog to stay close to you by giving them a treat. The idea of this game is to get your dog to follow you willingly.
The best games you can play with your dog are games that stimulate their senses and involve their favourite people, interesting textures of toys, strong smelling foods and tasty treats.
Always make sure that you are in a safe area to play games with your dog, that they have time to rest in between games and that water is readily available for them. It’s good practice to tell your dog ‘Game Over’ or ‘Finished’ when playtime is over, so they can relax and you can too before starting to play games again next time.
Willy & Dilly offer texture, scent and treat hiding components in their toys, making them the perfect companion for you and your dog’s playtime. You can shop for Willy & Dilly toys here.
Related blog: How to Teach Your Dog To Put Away Their Toys