Play time with your dog can be a great way for you to bond with each other. Here are some great ways you can play with your dog and have fun together.
1. Fetch is a great game you can play with your dog either indoors or outdoors. If you have a Retriever of some sort it’s likely that your dog will probably beg you to play for hours. Not all dogs are natural retrievers though, so you may need to teach your dog how to play. You can start out playing with a toy such as a soft spongy ball, like a Nerf ball. The idea is to make your dog as excited as possible about the ball. Play with the ball, toss it up in the air, speak in a high, excited voice, use your dog’s name – “Where’s the ball? Who’s a good girl? Where’s the ball?” You can toss your dog a few treats, too, so she knows the ball means something good.
Next you should toss the ball a little way. Don’t expect your dog to bring it back to you at first. But do encourage your dog to go after the ball. If she goes to the ball and touches it you should praise her and give her some treats. If you keep associating the ball with treats your dog should pick up the ball and you should give her a few more treats. You can start encouraging her to bring the ball back to you once she starts picking the ball up. Don’t chase her if she doesn’t bring the ball back to you. Once she starts carrying the ball around you should hold off on the treats until she actually brings it back to you.
Most dogs can learn to fetch a ball (or other things) in just a few days, at most. Once they learn to fetch dogs usually love to show off their new skills.
Hide ‘n Seek
2. Dogs love to play hide and seek. This is an easy game to play. It helps if your dog knows a couple of basic obedience commands such as the sit and stay. Put your dog in the sit and stay position and then go hide. That’s it! You can give your dog the release command from afar and let her come looking for you. Or, you can ask someone to hold your dog while you hide. If your dog is really clever, you can let her hide while you go searching for her. Dogs in training as tracking dogs have to play hide and seek with their handlers in order to develop search skills.
Tug of War
3. Some people will tell you not to play tug of war with your dog but there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t, especially if you are sensible about it. It’s also a good way to teach your dog several basic commands. You can use a simple toy such as a small rope to play.
Some dogs are more interested in playing tug of war than others but you can get most dogs to play if you wiggle the toy in front of them. You should praise your dog for taking hold of the toy to let them know it’s okay with you.
If your dog gets over-excited and pulls too hard, or won’t stop playing when you tell them to do so, you can simply stop playing. After all, it takes two to play tug of war and if you stop pulling the game is over.
You can teach your dog to “drop it” when playing tug of war. When your dog lets go of the toy you can praise her, offer her the toy again, or give her a treat as a reward. “Drop it” is a good command for your dog to know in case she picks up something she shouldn’t eat or something dangerous.
Enjoy Regular Playtime With Your Dog
Games allow your dog to bond with you as this is how dogs would normally bond with each other in their pack. Other playful activities such as frolicking and playing chasy means that your dog gets exercise and can help fend off canine stress and depression.
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