Dogs are full of all kinds of energy. They love to explore (especially with their amazing sense of smell), run, get dirty, chase little creatures, and spending time with their families! An easy way for pooches and their families to have fun together is to play games. Not just fetch the stick or fetch the ball or roll over; all kinds of creative games can stimulate you and your pooch mentally as well as physically, strengthening the bonds of trust and friendship. Below are a few of our favorite inventive games:
Chasing and popping bubbles is something practically any child enjoys, but dogs dig them too! The small, floating bubbles bring out the inquisitiveness and hunter instincts in dogs, and many often give chase (and are amazed when their prey simply vanishes into thin air). Many trainers suggest this simple yet fun way to mix up a normal walk or romp in the yard.
The Muffin Tin Game
We found this imaginative, interactive nose game on dogvacay.com. Take out a normal muffin tin and put treats in the cups, covering them with something (tennis balls or similar-sized balls are suggested). Put the tin on the ground in front of your dog and demonstrate by tapping aside one of the balls that treats lie underneath. When your dog gets the hang of knocking aside the balls with nose or paw, you can repeat the game by only putting treats in a few of the cups so that your dog will have to do a little searching to find them.
Smelling things is a rather favorite past time for most dogs, and playing a game that involves a dog’s nose gives more of that scent stimulation dogs crave. Trainer Jen Gabbard from Positively.com has two starter games using dogs’ sense of smell. The “Which Hand” game and the “Three Cups” game both hide treats in one spot (in one hand and under one cup) then encourages the dog to smell out where the treat is. Jen has many great games for mentally stimulating your dog and we highly recommend her list. When your dog gets good at smelling out treats, you can up the ante and hide treats around the house, and even hide yourself (with a treat in hand as a reward for finding you). If you dog loves digging, you can also bury treats and toys in a sandbox or in a designated place in your garden. For more information on these nose games, hop over to SmallFluffyDogBreeds.com.
What are you and your family’s favorite games to play with your dog?
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