Playtime with Your Dog — Strengthen Your Bond, Train, and Have Fun

dog with ball One of the best things about being a dog owner is all the interaction you get to have with your dog and how much fun you can have together. Your dog is probably a high-energy animal, looking for interaction, affection, and a lot of playtime. Not only is playtime with your dog a wonderful opportunity for you to develop and strengthen the bond you share, but it is also important for your dog’s health, because play is how a dog gets his exercise. Exercise, in turn, can help your dog maintain a healthy weight, preventing obesity, and all of the health problems that come along with it.

There are so many ways to exercise and play with your dog. The basics, of course, include running or jogging with your dog, as well as playing the classic game of fetch. These games can be a little mundane and they may become boring if that is all you do with your dog.

Here are some new games you can incorporate easily into your playtime sessions with your dog or puppy. And remember to use this valuable time to have fun but also train your dog as well.

3 Fun New Games to Play with Your Dog

  1. Obstacle Course: This game is a wonderful way to expend your dog’s energy, strengthen his agility and muscles, and establish you as the leader of the pack. Find a large enough area in your home or in your yard where you can set up an obstacle course by using cones, tunnels, slides, pools, and whatever else you can find and would want to use to challenge your dog. Then, train him using treats and positive reinforcement to follow the track you have set out for him. As he reaches certain points in the obstacle course, you can reward him with a treat and entice him to continue on for more treats, or you can wait until he finishes the entire course. As he learns the course, he will be able to go through it faster every time, and what is great about this game is that you can keep your dog interested and stimulated by changing the obstacles or the layout of the course every now and then, creating a whole new course. The other bonus is that you are the leader and he must follow you.
  2. Hide and Seek: Yes, you can play hide and seek with your dog, but she will need to be trained to sit and wait for you to call her. If your dog is used to laying down and staying, or sitting and staying, command her to do so while you hide somewhere in your home. Then call her to you and she will have to use her senses to find her way to you. When she finds you, reward her with love and a treat. This game will reinforce the commands “sit,” “stay,” and to come when called.
  3. Treat Hide and Seek: Similar to hide and seek, this game replaces you with treats that the dog must find hidden around the house. Again, the dog should be trained to sit and wait until you command him to go and find the treat, at which point the challenge is to use the senses of sight and smell to locate the prize. This game, like hide and seek, reinforces important training commands and allows the dog to exercise not only his body, but also his mind. It is similar to dog toys that have hidden treats inside them that the dog must somehow get to, but this game does not require you to purchase expensive dog toys only to have them destroyed when he finally gets the treat out.

These games aren’t just fun for you and your dog, they are opportunities for training while also having a blast, or just reinforcing the commands and good behavior they already know. Also great for training your dog are Pet Dreams cratewear.

Photo by jjgwarren/Flickr

4 thoughts on “Playtime with Your Dog — Strengthen Your Bond, Train, and Have Fun”

  1. Great tips! We have two Great Danes, one is almost two and one is almost 10. So, needless to say, we have to do a lot of playtime with them to keep the big guys active and happy, but we love it! Thanks for the article, it was very insightful and inspiring 🙂

  2. We play hide and seek with our dog and it’s about his favorite thing aside from walks or rawhides. I hold him while my husband hides, and then I let him go and tell him to “find daddy” and he races around the house until he finds him. Great exercise for him, great laughs for us! Another thing I do with him when I’m feeling lazy is just sit outside with him and throw him a ball. He’ll bring it back everytime so I can just relax, but he still gets his run in!

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