Playing with your dog isn’t just fun for your pooch, it can also have some significant health benefits for you.
Just having a dog in the room with you lowers your blood pressure. Imagine what a few playful activities can do.
Get moving with your dog with these 9 fun things to do with your four-legged friend.
1. Bubble Time
Have fun with your dog with a classic activity like bubble blowing. You can enjoy being a kid again by trying to blow as many bubbles as possible. Then your dog can pounce on the bubbles as if they were prey.
Dogs love to chase, bite, and pop bubbles because it reminds them of their ancestral instinct of hunting. The good news with bubbles is that no one gets hurt and your dog looks super cute.
Be sure to use a non-toxic mixture to ensure your dog’s safety.
2. Soccer Fetch
The most common dog games involve some sort of fetching. Include yourself in the fun by kicking the ball to your dog instead of throwing it.
Your dog can act as the goalie and the fence can be your goal. Try to get the ball past your dog to score.
Dogs will love the challenge of the different angles of the ball zooming across the grass. Do a high kick to make them jump to really make them excited.
Both you and your pup can get a good workout playing this game.
3. Hide and Seek
Dogs naturally like to hide and find things. That is why they bury their bones.
Include activities for dogs where they can find hidden treats and toys throughout the house or yard. They will get rewarded for their efforts and listen to you as you offer commanding clues.
This is a great way to train your dog to locate things around the house when you need them. Imagine having your dog find your lost keys or bring you their leash when it’s time for a walk.
When you play with your dog, the goal is to get out all their built-up energy. Exercising your dog can remove bad behavioral problems brought on by a lack of stimulation.
A great game to play with your dog to get the energy out is tug-war. Dogs like to shake, rip, and bite ropes while you hold them. They like the challenge of trying to retrieve the object from your hand.
Once they are able to succeed in getting the toy they become overjoyed.
Using a rope for tug-a-war is also good for their teeth. Ropes can get in between the teeth and clean your dog’s gums.
5. Agility Course
If you want to get creative with games to play with your dog then try to make an obstacle course. You can challenge yourself to make a fun, interactive agility course to test your dog’s mental and physical skills.
Dogs feel motivated by the new tricks they will learn.
Start with simple bars for your pup to jump over. Use some cones for them to zigzag to the finish line. Or get a tunnel for them to crawl through.
Use treats to reward your dog for their efforts. Also, remember to keep it fun. Your dog shouldn’t be forced to do tricks that he or she is afraid of or hesitant to do.
6. Food Inside Toys
What is better than a toy to your dog? How about a toy filled with food. Use Kongs or dog products like a treat dispenser to get your dog excited about playing.
Fill toys with peanut butter to keep your pet busy for hours. Or have them press buttons to retrieve treats.
Dogs love to get praised and rewarded. Food is their most prized possession next to their toy. Why not combine the two to see your dog’s face light up with happiness.
7. Water Play
Not all dogs like the water but when they do it is a perfect game to cool off in the summer.
Get out the kiddie pool to give your pup his own spa. Dogs like to dip their bottom in the water to release the heat. It also serves as a big water dish so they stay hydrated.
Another water play option is a hose or sprinkler. Your dog might enjoy chasing the spraying water. They also like to try to bite the water, thinking that it is a solid.
8. Hiking Trail
A simple walk through the woods is relaxing for both you and your dog.
The outdoors are filled with scents that your dog wants to smell. You may notice that they can’t stop sniffing every 6 inches. Let them explore while still keeping a steady pace.
The walk should be challenging as well as relaxing. You can switch to a jog to tire your dog out at the end of the trail.
If there is a lake or a beach nearby then take advantage of it by letting your dog take a dip. They will enjoy many new smells while staying cool.
Make sure your dog does not drink dirty or salty water while on your journey. Bring a portable bowl and clean water with you to give to your pet.
9. Digging Boxes
Certain breeds love to dig more than others. This can cause problems in your back yard when you fall into a ditch.
Allow your dog to dig as much as they want with a designated area. Make your own sandbox using a few pieces of wood to make a square. Then add several inches of sand.
Include a lid for your box to avoid other animals using it as a bathroom.
Playing with Your Dog for Your Health
Don’t think that playing with your dog is all about your pet. It can help you be happy and healthy as well. You have more reasons to get off the couch and go outdoors.
It can also be a part of your fitness plan. Include your dog in sports or a running routine.
See our fitness section for more ways to get a workout.