Photo Credit: Darron Birgenheier via Compfight cc
The great thing about dogs is that it is quite easy to train them to play games due to their incredibly social nature.  There are plenty of things that you can teach your pet which can be cute or interesting but the best things to get your furry friend to learn are games that are fun for the both of you. Running around in a park, searching for things can be a great bonding experience for you and your companion. We’re going to focus on games that are good exercise and most importantly, an absolute blast to enjoy together.

Search

Much like Google, your pet can be taught how to find things that have been placed in obscure places – minus the Internet of course. In order to teach them how to search effectively you will need a favourite toy. First, show them the toy and tell them to stay. If you are having trouble convincing them, get someone else to hold their collar to keep them in the room. Step into another room or out of your pet’s vision and hide the object. Go back to your pet and say the word “search” as you walk into the next room. Start with an easy hiding place, giving them clues and gradually making the game more difficult. You will be surprised to see just how resourceful your pet can be!

Hide-and-Seek

Hide-and-Seek is a great game where you get to pretend to be a petrified peasant escaping a vicious vampire hunting Chihuahua.   Your pet has a much stronger sense of smell than you and to illustrate how easily they can sniff you out of your hiding spot, get them to sit down in another room, much like the search game but this time, the quarry is you. Once you have found an effective hiding spot, call out for your pet to find you. Their reward for discovering you can be some playtime and a few delicious treats. This game can be extended to the outdoors where you can find trees and bushes to hide behind, giving your pet a greater range of space to explore their hunting skills.

Fetch

Probably the quintessential game associated with dogs, fetch is also great fun for all parties involved. There is an object, quite often a stick or a ball that is thrown, and then the most interesting part happens—your dog will pick the stick up and bring it back to you. Don’t underestimate the amount of fun to be had in this simple activity of stick or toy throwing. To get your dog interested in collecting objects that you have thrown, play with them first using the toy as a chewing object. Once your dog is sufficiently interested in the object, throw it and have fun repeating the process – over, and over again.

Tug-of-War

You probably noticed that the fetch game has a few moving parts associated to it. However, there is also a precursor to the fetch game where your pet has to be riled up into a stick or toy biter. By thrusting the toy or stick at your pet and dancing it around their face they will be drawn to biting it and starting to pull on it. Use commands like “catch it” and “drop it” to signify when the tug of war game begins and ends. Be sure to reward your pet with a treat after each successful session.  Also, be careful with this game as it can hurt both your hands and your dog’s teeth if you play a little bit too rough.