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15 Exciting Games to Play with Dogs

Games to Play with Dogs - Jack Russell with Frisbee

May

6

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Wanna have some fun with your doggo? Check out these games to play with dogs! They’re perfect for teaching them something new, entertaining them, and making them happy. Plus, these games can help to strengthen your bond with them.

So grab a few treats and let the games begin!

15 Fun Games to Play With Your Dog

Here are 15 different activities that will help to stimulate your pupperino’s mind, release stress, and even help humans to burn a few calories. Choose a game based on your dog’s age, energy level, and temperament.

1. Tug of War

Games to Play with Dogs - Tug of War Beagle

You probably already play tug of war with your pup since they naturally love to tug on things. But did you know that encouraging this behavior and turning it into a game can be a great activity for your dog’s health?

Tug of war can help to build up your pupper’s muscles, and it can also be used as a training tool. If you want your dog to learn how to “drop it,” for example, playing tug of war is a great way to teach them.

To play tug of war with your dog, all you need is a rope toy. You can find these at most pet stores or online (see below for our picks).

Once you have the toy, hold one end in each hand and let your doggerino grab the middle part with his mouth. Then, start pulling on the rope and let your dog tug back. Be careful not to yank to avoid accidentally hurting your pupper.

If you want to make the game more challenging, try playing on an uneven surface like grass or sand. You can also try playing with two dogs at once if you have another dog at home who wants to join in on the fun.

Remember to take breaks often so that your pup doesn’t get too tired. And always end the game on a positive note by letting your dog win or giving them a treat.

Here are some awesome tug toys that are a lot of fun and great quality:

The Bull Fit Dog Bite Tug Toy
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Amazon's Choice
Chuckit! Ultra Duo Dog Tug Toy
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KONG Tug Toy
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2. Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is a great game to play with dogs of all ages. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s also a great way to tire out your pup if he has a lot of energy. It’s also mentally stimulating since your dog has to use their senses and memory to find you.

To play hide and seek with your pupperino, start by telling them to sit or stay in one room while you go and hide in another room. Once you’re hidden, call your dog’s name and let them find you. If they have trouble finding you at first, give them a few clues by clapping your hands or making noise.

Once they find you, be sure to praise them and give them a treat. Then, it’s your turn to hide! You can make the game more challenging by hiding in harder-to-find places or by increasing the number of people who are playing.

Check out this funny hide and seek TikTok!

3. Treat Hunting

Games to Play with Dogs - Dog Treat Hunting

Treat hunting is a great way to keep your dog’s mind active and engaged. This game is also perfect for pups who are food-motivated since it involves them using their sense of smell to find treats that are hidden around the house or yard.

To play treat hunting, start by hiding small treats around the room or yard. Then, let your dog sniff around and find the treats. You can use traditional treats or even pieces of kibble to make the game more challenging. Small bits of vegetables can work too if your doggie is on a diet.

If your pupper is having trouble finding the treats, give them a few clues by pointing in the general direction or leading them to the area where the treats are hidden.

Once they find a treat, be sure to praise them and give them lots of love.

4. Red Rover

Did you know that you could adopt the game “Red Rover” from childhood and play it with your dog? It’s a great way to get some exercise while spending time with them.

To play Red Rover, you’ll need at least two people and one dog.

While your pupperino is beside you, the other player says “Come!”, followed by the dog’s name. 

Once your dog runs over to the other side, the person on that side will give plenty of praise. Then the person on the other side yells out “Come!” and the dog will have to run back.

Not only is this a seriously fun workout for your pup, but it’s also a great way to practice the basic “come” command.

This makes this game ideal for puppies and for dogs who need a little extra practice with their obedience.

You can also play this game with multiple dogs if you have more than one of them. Just make sure that the dogs are well-socialized before playing and that they’re all comfortable with each other.

5. Fetch

This classic game is a favorite among puppers and humans. Fetch is a great way to get some exercise while spending time with your pup.

To play fetch, start by finding a good spot to play. If you’re indoors, choose an area with plenty of space. A long hallway could work well for this. If you’re outdoors, find an open area such as a backyard or dog park.

Other than that, all you need to play fetch is a ball or toy that your furry bestie can chase.

Start by throwing the ball or toy a short distance. As your dog brings it back to you, praise them and give them lots of love.

Here are three fun fetching toys that your dog is sure to love:

  1. ChuckIt! Fetch Medley Ball Set
  2. ChuckIt! Fetch Medley Ball Set

    Why play fetch with one ball when you can use three? This set contains a variety of rubber calls that are super durable and bouncy.

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  3. Nerf Football Dog Toy
  4. Nerf Football Dog Toy

    If you have football lovers in your home, get out and practice your toss when you play with your dog! This Nerf football is lightweight, waterproof, and squeaky.

    It's truly every pup's dream come true!

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  5. Chuckit! Fetch & Fold Ball Launcher
  6. Chuckit! Fetch & Fold Ball Launcher

    Games for dogs can really tire out your arm. Get your dog a ball launcher so that they can fetch tennis balls and bring them back to you without you having to do much.

    This is a great toy for excited pups with a lot of energy.

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6. Wobble Board Games

When your dog improves its balance, it’s good for its health, just like when humans improve their balance. Wobble board games are a great way to work on your dog’s balance and coordination, as well as their strength.

To play, start by placing a Dog Wobble Board on the ground. Then, show your doggerino how to put her paw on the board and wait for it to stop wobbling. Once the board is still, give your dog a treat and lots of praise.

Over time, you can make the game more challenging by teaching your doggie to do different tricks while on the board. This could include sitting, shaking, or even standing on two paws.

You can make your own wobble board, repurpose one meant for humans, or purchase one designed just for dogs.

7. Circle of Love

I love to play the circle of love with my dog Indy when she has been an exceptionally good girl. It’s also a good game to calm your pup after stressful situations.

To play the circle of love, you’ll need to gather the family around. Stand in a circle with your pup in the middle. The rules are incredibly simple for this game. Simply praise and pet your dog while she basks in all of the attention. Your dog will likely dart around the circle to soak all the love up from the circle of people.

This game is perfect for those moments when you want to show your dog some extra love. It’s also a great way to get the family involved in showing affection to your furry friend.

Plus, it’s just really stinkin’ cute.

8. Staring Contest

Games to Play with Dogs - Dog Staring Contest

Remember when you were a kid and would get locked into some serious staring contests with a sibling or a friend?

With that version of the game, it was important not to blink. But with this version, it’s all about making a loving connection with your pup.

Since this game is calm, it’s great for older dogs or dogs who need to take it easy. To play, simply sit or stand in front of your pupper and stare into their eyes. If you have a treat handy, you can give them one after a few seconds as a reward for being such a good boy or girl.

Eye contact can be a sign of dominance for dogs, so this game is also a great way to show your pup that you’re the alpha. Just make sure not to stare for too long, as it can be overwhelming for some dogs.

9. Frisbee Fetch

Frisbee fetch is a fun game to play with your dog if you want to mix things up a bit. Frisbees are great for tossing long distances and your doggie gets more exercise than with a ball.

To play, simply throw the Frisbee as far as you can. Your dog will run after it and hopefully bring it back to you. If they don’t quite understand the game at first, you can teach your dog how to fetch the Frisbee and bring it back to you, starting with shorter distances.

After a few rounds of fetch, your dog will be a pro at this game. Make sure to get a durable rubber frisbee that won’t be broken as easily as a plastic one.

10. Hiking

Games to Play with Dogs - Hiking with Dogs
Photo by Jamie Pilgrim on Unsplash

You can play with your dog without even realizing it if you go on hikes together. Hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors with your pup and get some exercise at the same time.

Unlike taking a walk around the neighborhood, this activity will encourage your dog to sniff around and explore brand-new surroundings. They’ll also get to burn off some energy running around.

If you live near woods or trails, go on a hike with your dog at least once a week. You can even make it a longer hike on the weekends to really tire them out. And don’t forget the treats, water, and poop bags!

Check out our article on what to take when camping with your dog to find some tips and items useful for hiking too!

11. Chase

If you don’t have any toys but want to play with your doggerino, just chase her around! Getting your dog to run back and forth is a great way to burn off some energy.

You can start by running in the opposite direction of your dog to get your dog to chase you. Once they catch up, turn around and run the other way.

Your pupper will love this game and so will you. Just make sure you have enough space to run around without knocking anything.

12. Fun Command Training

Teaching commands also count as games for dogs! Simply teach them in a fun way rather than going through the motions of a normal training session.

Use treats as rewards for your dog when they follow your commands. You can even finish the session by offering your doggie even more games to play. This could be a quick round of fetch or tug of war as a reward.

13. Obstacle Course

Games to Play with Dogs - Obstacle Course
Photo by Roger Chapman on Unsplash

Do you have dreams of your pup becoming the next canine superstar? Start training early by setting up an obstacle course in your backyard.

This game is perfect for dogs who are full of energy and need to burn it off. The obstacles can be anything from jumping over a hula hoop to crawling under a table. You can even purchase a kit online.

Make sure to play with your dog instead of intensely training them. The goal is for your pup to have fun while completing the course. This means using positive reinforcement and trying to teach them in a laid-back, fun way.

14. Sprinkler Games

One of the best games to play with your dog (and kids!) in the summer months is with the sprinkler. Set up a sprinkler in your backyard, turn the water on and let your pupper run through it to cool off.

You can also use water directly from the hose and spray your pupper while they run around. Just make sure the water pressure isn’t too high as it can hurt their sensitive ears and eyes.

After a few minutes of playing in the water, your dog will be all tuckered out and ready for a nap. Make sure to dry them off faster (or finish with bath time) before coming inside.

The Original Dirty Dog Shammy
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15. Tickles

What’s better than cuddles? Tickles! One of the best games to play with your dog involves you tickling them all over.

They’ll usually start wagging their tail and may even roll around on the ground in pure enjoyment. Just make sure you don’t tickle them too hard, as some dogs don’t enjoy being touched in certain areas.

You can also use a feather or toy to give them gentle tickles all over their body. This game is great for bonding with your pup and making them feel loved.

How Can I Entertain My Dog Inside?

Many of these games can be adapted into indoor games. This includes playing fetch, tug of war, or even setting up an indoor obstacle course.

One of the easiest ways to entertain a dog is by using an interactive dog puzzle toy or a classic Kong toy. These toys are designed to keep dogs entertained and busy. Simply put some treats inside and watch your dog go to town trying to get them out.

This is a good idea if you’re tired, need to take a break or even a work Zoom call with your team. Your dog will be happily occupied while you do your own stuff.

Final Thoughts

There are endless games you can play with your four-legged friend. The sky’s the limit! Not only are these games a lot of fun, but they’re also great for your dog’s mental and physical health.

So get out there and start playing!

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About the Author

Alex 

I’m Alex and I’ve always wanted the best for my pupper Indy, so she could have a healthy and happy life. I’m pretty sure this also applies to you and your doggie, otherwise you wouldn’t have made it to the end of this post.

I started Pampered Puppers as a family-owned business, based in Australia, to help all dog lovers around the world achieve this easily. So that’s our mission, to help improve your dog’s safety and quality of life with entertaining and helpful articles via our blog 🐶

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