You already know the importance of making sure your canine companion gets exercise – both physical and mental. Interacting with your dog helps them develop problem-solving skills, improve social behavior, increases agility and helps create a strong bond. Dogs like to play fetch and catch frisbees but what else can you do to play with your dog? Here's a list of some you can try:
• Obstacle Course - no need to spend lots of money and have lots of space for this one. Simply use household items like milk jugs, blankets, kids tunnels, small tables. Teach your dog to hop over, weave through, go under, etc. As he gets better, you can make the course more challenging.
• Hide and "Go Seek" - grab a handful of (PAWsitively Sweet Bakery) treats and have your dog stay our of site while you hide them. Call your dog and give him a clue –verbal or visual like a hand signal – to help him find it. Once they get better at it, you can make it more challenging by not offering a visual clue.
• Tug of War - this is an excellent game to teach your pooch to "get it" and "leave it." Teach them to "stay" while you place the toy.
• Simon Says - this is a perfect game for dogs that already understand basic commands such as "sit" "stay" "speak", etc.
• Name Game - in this game, your dog will learn how to identify different toys. You give each one a name, place it in front of your dog (without any other distractions) and tell him what it is called. This will take practice but soon your dog will learn the name of that toy. Take it one toy at a time.
Keep the game time short in the beginning - about 10-15 minutes. Dogs learn better when training is in short time periods and is done consistently. Positive reinforcement words best so be sure to reward your dog with treats and praise. Have fun and share any other ideas you have for fun games to play with your dog.
Sources: ASPCA, Paw Nation, Animal Planet