Occasionally referred to as ‘‘man’s best friend’’, dogs make great companions.
Not to mention that their IQ is the equivalent of a 2-2.5 year old human child and that they can understand up to 250 words and even interpret human feelings!
Playtime is a great way to get to know your pet and ensure bonding. Moving around while playing also helps your buddy exercise and sharpen its senses.
What’s more is that this can help relieve stress, reduce anxiety and improve your mood as well as your companions’.
Whether it is the weather that isn’t in your favour, or you are too exhausted to go out, there are always games your dog would love to play inside.
- Learning new tricks
Tricks not only enhance mental stimulation, but they make your dog more responsive and obedient. Some tricks to consider teaching it are:
- Standing or sitting on command
- Barking on command
- Spinning or rolling over
- Playing dead
- Handshaking or hugging
- Using treats
Treats can be an engaging way to reward your dog and keep it motivated. You could hide treats under a blanket for the dog to sniff out and find, or you could hide treats in their toys.
(Related: Using high value treats is usually more effective. To learn more about treats, click here.)
- Using objects
Making use of different objects like toys, blankets and balls for games is very helpful. For example;
1) Fetch using the stairs – simply use your dog’s favorite ball, or toy and throw it up or down the stairs and ask it to fetch it.
2) Tug of war – use a thick blanket or rope which the dog can take from its mouth and then you can pull it.
3) Boxes – dogs can be taught a great deal of tricks with boxes such as knocking them over, chewing them, hiding inside them or kicking them.
4) Cup games – use 2 – 3 cups and hide a ball or a treat under those cups. Afterwards, shuffle them and wait for the dog to sniff them out.
Other objects that attract dogs are ropes, stuffed toys, chew toys and shiny things. Head over to our website if you wish to purchase ready-made dog toys.
- Hide and seek
Hide the dogs favorite toy in places around the house and train it to find them. These places could be household appliances or around furniture. You can also participate in hiding yourself and calling out your dog’s name so he can come find you.
- Food testing
Another way to play with your dog is giving it a small amount of food to taste test.Their reactions to some food tastes can be quite hilarious!
Safe foods for dogs include:
Watermelon, carrots, bananas, strawberries and string cheese
Toxic foods for dogs include:
Raisins, grapes, chocolate, nuts, cherries and tomato
Some Do’s and Don’ts of playing with your pet
✓ Be patient
✓ Start with easier games and tricks (especially if your dog is young or new to this)
✓ Give your dog hints while playing so that they feel motivated
✓ After using treats in games, engage your dog in some other activity so that it does not become obsessed with finding more treats.
✓ Always reward them
✗ Do not use toxic foods
✗ Do not use sharp objects (especially bones which can get stuck in the dogs throat)
✗ Do not use heavy items as toys
✗ Do not hide toys near electrical or heated appliances
✗ Do not be too harsh or strict
Of course games don’t always have to be puzzles and tricks – sometimes playing with your dog by dressing them in cute outfits, cuddling with them, letting them hang around in your workspace, grooming them or simply celebrating their birthday are all worthwhile ways of spending quality time together.