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According to a National Pet Owners Survey, over 60.2 million households in the US own a pet dog. This number merely confirms that many people are now embracing the idea of caring for a dog. The best part is that you stand to gain invaluable benefits.
Yes, keeping a pet dog comes with advantages like improvement of heart health, reduced stress, staving off depression, and a general reduction of your doctor’s visits. And those are just the health benefits.
If you spend even a little time playing with your dog outdoors you’ll keep active/ fit, lose weight, and most importantly, improve your social life.
So what are the best kind of games to teach your pup? Check out the following pointers:
1. Dog Frisbee Game
The dog Frisbee game is a play that will keep not only you but also your dog in shape. In addition, it will help develop your dog’s concentration and agility on top of improving the bond you share with it. This game basically involves tossing a Frisbee towards your dog for it to fetch.
It’s important to note that if it’s your dog first time playing this game, he or she won’t know what to do. So start off small to first get him intrigued. You can do this by rolling the Frisbee on the ground or tossing it on short distances. Your dog should soon get over his unfamiliarity, follow the Frisbee and grab it with his mouth.
When that happens, it’s game on! You can now toss the Frisbee higher and further. Remember to buy soft dog Frisbee instead of the traditional plastic one. You don’t want your dog to develop a negative first-time experience from having a hard material wham up his face.
2. Dog Treasure Hunt
If you’ve played treasure hunt in your younger years, then you know how fun it is. In fact, most dogs seem to never get enough of outdoor treasure hunts. And it’s an excellent game for honing your doggie’s natural scent-tracking abilities.
Playing this game is quite easy. First, grab some of your dog’s favourite treats and hide them around your backyard. At this stage, the trick is to ensure your canine companion doesn’t see or smell the hiding spots.
After you’re done hiding the treats, invite your dog to sniff them out. Shower him with praise every time he uncovers a hidden spot and help him where he struggles. Once he gets familiar with the game, hide the treats in more challenging sport to increase the game’s difficulty level.
3. Flirt Pole Game
This is one of the most addictive games for dogs to play. Furthermore, it goes a long way in stimulating their body and mind.
The game involves attaching a rope with a lure (for your dog to catch) at the end of a long pole. The lure can be anything from your dog’s favourite treats to his most treasured toys.
All you need for this game is a long PVC tube and a five-metre rope. Once you’ve passed part of the rope around the PVC tube, tie a knot at one end with a lure attached to it. You should let your dog win some of the rounds, or else he will get uninterested and bored with the game.
4. Tug of War
This is one of the few dog games you can play both outdoor and indoor. This game will keep your dog exercised, teach him basic impulse control, and calm his temper. But before you and your dog begin this game, take some time to establish the ground rule- no mouthing allowed.
In other words, stop the game immediately every time your dog’s teeth touch your skin. This way, your dog will learn to avoid mouthing you if he or she wants the fun to continue.
After teaching your canine friend that one basic rule, you can move on to coach him on responding to the ‘let go,’ ‘stay,’ and ‘get it’ commands.
You can do this by first placing the rope toy on the ground and asking your dog to ‘stay.’ Reward your dog with a treat for staying before commanding him to get the rope (get it).
During the game ask your dog to ‘let go’ and reward him if he does so. Once your dog has familiarized himself with the commands, combine them in a fell swoop for the most fun.
5. DIY Agility Course
Looking for a fun way to offer your dog some physical and mental exercises? Why not build a backyard agility course? And guess what?
It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can even start with everyday household objects like pillows, hula loop, old blankets, stool, kitchen stair, Frisbee, ball, etc.
Simply let your imaginations run wild and use whatever you can find around the house.
Once everything is in place, take your dog through the course and let him hop over several rolled-up blankets, weave through some mini cones, and hop through a hula hoop.
6. Hide and Seek
Most dogs never get tired of playing this game. To play hide and seek, first grab a handful of your dog’s favourite treat. Next, command your dog to stay before moving on to hide in a strategic spot. Once you’re sure of the spot, command your pup to find you.
When he finds you, reward and praise him for the excellent job done. Hide and seek is excellent at improving your dog’s natural sniffing abilities as well as stimulating his brains.
7. Water Game
This game is one of the most ideal merrymaking activities you and your dog can undertake in the summer. And if your pup loves swimming, you can take him to the nearest local beach for this game.
All you need are some floating toys and a doggie life jacket merely for extra precaution.
If there isn’t any beach near you, don’t despair. Buy a plastic water pool and take the play to your own backyard. You can even invite your dog’s friend and let them enjoy some splashing fun time with the toys.
For double the fun, use a hose with a strong water stream to play. Your dog will love chasing the water stream flying out the hose’s end.
All in all, how fun this game will be depends on whether your dog loves to get wet.
8. Digging Box Game
Does your dog love to dig? Many dogs are born natural diggers. So if you’re always fighting with your dog about his digging in inappropriate places, consider making it a game for him.
You can do this by getting him a dedicated place where he can dig away without having to worry that you’ll throw tantrums at him.
You, therefore, need a digging box. And you can simply make your own using sand and wood. All of which are materials that you can find at your nearest local store.
To make this game more fun and understandable for your dog, bury his favorite treats or toys in the sand and have him dig them out.
9. Soccer Game
If you love soccer, your dog will probably love it too. Even so, the process of teaching him this game is somewhat complicated, if not lengthy. But it’s definitely worth it.
You’ll need a clicker, a few treats, and an appropriately sized ball. Once you get those, start by training your dog to respond to the clicker. This is basic training when it comes to dog soccer games.
So how do you ensure that your dog understands how the clicker works? Firstly, place the ball on the ground and watch his reaction. At the exact moment he shows interest in the ball, give him a treat.
The idea is to make him understand that he is being rewarded for specific behaviour. As you may know, a dog can’t connect past and future events.
This is why clicker training is crucial. After it, you can move on to letting your dog work with the ball. At this point, he should get a click and treat every time he touches the ball with a paw.
Ensure to stop the game when he tries to puncture or bite the ball. With time, your dog should learn to play soccer like a champion.
10. Basketball Game
Just like with football, playing basketball will be a work in progress. This is mainly because it involves many steps that will need to get learned over time. So have fun and be patient with your dog.
To play this game, you first need to teach your dog three basic commands: fetch, drop it, and put it away. So get a basketball rim and drop the ball into it without forgetting to say ‘drop.’ If your dog is paying attention, he will soon get the knack of it.
You can then ask your dog to get into position before commanding him to ‘drop’ the ball. If he succeeds in dropping it into the rim, praise and reward him for his efforts.
Aside from the ones mentioned above, there are many other games you can play with your dog outdoors, including Round Robin and Simon Says.
But the most important thing to cultivate before every game is patience. Give your dog ample time to get the ropes of what you’re doing and you’ll have lots of fun playing with it. Happy playtime!