Playtime with your puppy can be a joyful and exhilarating time for the both of you—a pup’s energy never gets old! However, throwing a ball for your pup to fetch can get a bit repetitive and boring after a while, which can lead to problematic behaviors. Changing up your puppy playtime games can easily help remedy these problems and get your puppy active. It can even help stimulate and improve your fur-baby’s mental capabilities.
Here are 10 fun games that will keep you and your puppy entertained and happy—at least for a few hours!
- Hide and seek. Who doesn’t love a good game of hide-and-go-seek? This game will definitely help keep your puppy entertained as they search for you in every place they can think of. Of course, the rules of the game must be modified to accommodate your furry playmate (no counting, for example!). It’s a simple, fun game that helps prevent boredom for the both of you.
- Tug-of-war. When played correctly, tug of war can be a great bonding game for you and your fur-baby. All you need is a rope toy and your little furry cutie. Before you initiate play, make sure your puppy understands the command “stop” or “leave it.” If your puppy mouths at you and begins playing rough, stop the game. You should also avoid giving sharp tugs while your fur-baby bites at the rope as it can damage their teeth.
- Fetch with toys. It’s common to use a ball or a stick when playing fetch, but let’s be honest—a ball can get a bit boring and a stick can cause lacerations in your puppy’s mouth. Use your pup’s favorite toys instead! Here are 5 must-have puppy toys that you can buy. You can also vary the height and distance you throw each toy, which helps your pup keep physically and mentally active.
- The three cup game. You’ve probably played this fun mental exercise before. Basically, you line three cups in front of your puppy, making sure they watch you as you place their favorite treat under one. When they choose the correct cup, you can give them the treat and shower them with praises. Once they have an idea of how the game goes, you can make it more challenging by mixing up the cups around.
- The “which hand” game. Like the three cup game, this game is a fun way for pups to get some mental exercise in for the day! The game works like this: place your pup’s favorite treat in your hand (make sure they’re watching!) and hold out your hands in a fist to have them choose which hand it’s in. You can make the game harder by switching your hands before letting them choose.
- Puppy soccer. Yes, even puppies can play soccer! You can use a regular ball that you’re okay with your pup sinking their teeth into or you can use any ball designed for puppy soccer action. By pursuing a moving ball, your puppy gets their daily exercise in a fun way.
- Chase the toy. This game is pretty simple–just tie a stuffed animal at the end of a rope or belt and walk or run around with the objects in your hand. Your pup’s immediate predatory instincts will likely awaken and they may chase after you. You can peak their interest even further by spraying an animal scent on the toy before playing. Just make sure the spray is safe to ingest.
- Play with water. If you don’t mind having your furry friend get wet for a couple of hours, there are a number of fun and refreshing games to play with your puppy that involve water. You can play a game of chase while the water sprinklers are on (just make sure you don’t slip and fall!) or play with water-filled puppy toys. A trip to a dog-friendly beach or pool also provides many playtime opportunities, either in the water or on the shore.
- Scavenger hunts. For first time players, hide your pup’s treats in different areas of your house or yard while they watch. You can encourage your fury-baby to look for their treats. This helps give them an idea of how the game goes. Once they start relying on their sniffing ability to find their treats, the real fun begins! You can make the game even more challenging by hiding treats in harder-to-find spots.
- Put the toys away. It’s not a regular game but for you and your pup, it can be a fun way to clean up after playtime. Have your pup pick up a toy on the floor and bring them over to where the toy is stored. Use the command “drop it” as they stand over the area. Do this exercise a couple of times. With enough patience and practice, your puppy will be able to clean up after themselves.
Applying new games and modifying the rules of old ones can definitely help add more excitement and energy to a puppy’s playtime. In all honesty, playtime with your pup should never be boring. With these games, you and your pup will be able to bond and have fun together!
If you would like some tips on puppy exercises, check out our blog, Exercise Tips That Your Furry Friend Will Appreciate.