Even when your dog gets plenty of exercise through walking, he still needs chances to play at any age. In our world, though, making time to play one-on-one on a regular basis can feel challenging even though you really want to spend time with him. Plus, bored dogs tend to get into trouble! So help set him up for success with some fun and easy ways to stimulate his brain and his natural sense of fun even when it’s rainy or you just can’t get outside for long.
We hope you enjoyed our last post on easy ways to play with your cats, and now we present some fun ideas to do the same for your dogs. Anyone can work these ideas into their schedule and make for a happier dog – and a happier owner too!
Get active indoors
The magic of taking off all the couch cushions and putting blankets over tables to create an obstacle course isn’t just for kids. You can use sofa cushions, boxes, and all sorts of things around the house to create a fun course for your dog where you can teach her to jump over objects and climb through tunnels. Some dogs will learn quickly, while others might need more practice (and be patient). If she isn’t interested, you can always play hide-and-seek around the objects.
For more hide-and-seek fun, hide around a corner or doorway and peek out, then snap back out of sight once your dog notices you. Give him a big hug or treat when he dashes around the corner to find you.
Set up a search and rescue
Making a fun scavenger hunt for your dog can be great fun. You can hide treats for her to find around the room. Or if she has a favorite toy or knows the name of one of her toys, hide it in a basket or pile of other toys, and tell her to “get your toy/bone!” Food-dispensing toys can be another fun way to get her to work for her food or treats. And this game using things you probably already have – a muffin tin and tennis balls – makes for a great way for your dog to earn some treats.
You can also play the “which hand” game where you enclose a treat, bit of kibble, or a piece of carrot or frozen green bean in one hand, present two closed fists before your dog, and let him choose which hand contains the goodie. When he chooses the right hand, open it and let him have his prize. If he doesn’t get it right away, it’s okay; it might take a minute for him to catch onto the idea of the game.
Toys on strings aren’t just for cats! Many dogs love to try and catch a toy in their mouth as you wave it around. If you don’t have a fishing-type toy, just attach a soft toy securely onto the end of a string, and wave it around or pull it along the floor for him to run after and catch (the slower, the better). This activity can also be a good tool for teaching the “give” command when you need him to release it.
Non-toxic bubbles can be lots of fun for dogs as they jump and try to catch the bubbles in their mouths as well.
2 Paws Up’s pet sitters and dog walkers are always here to help when your work days run too long or you’re away from home for a trip. We’ll help your pup stay entertained and stimulated to ease any boredom and make it extra fun for her to have company in addition to some energy-burning walks. Give us a call at 770.695.3096, or contact us today to request a quote or become a client!
Let us know if you try any of these easy playtime ideas!