Ensuring that your dog gets regular exercise has various benefits for their health and happiness. Dogs that get routine exercise are less likely to struggle with health conditions connected with being overweight. Additionally, they’ll have a higher chance of avoiding issues with their joints or certain types of injuries. Finally, dogs that receive routine play and attention have a stronger human-dog bond, better mental wellness, and are less likely to be bored and participate in destructive habits.
If you're looking for some great ways to play with your dog, Central Pet has you covered! We've rounded up nine of our favorite games and activities that dogs love, and they're all easy to do outside. Take a look at our list, and get ready to have fun with your pup!
Here are nine fun ways to play with your dog:
- Play frisbee
- Use a flirt pole
- Play tug of war
- Create an agility course
- Play find the treats
- Play water games
- Teach your dog to chase bubbles
- Use a digging box
- Play a game of hide and seek
1. Play Frisbee
Playing frisbee can be one of your dog's favorite activities. You will enjoy some light exercise while playing, and it's something you can do almost anywhere. Dogs really love playing catch, so don't be surprised if they start tugging at their leash in an attempt to go outside as soon as you pick up a Frisbee! You will want a soft and flexible frisbee; otherwise, it might hurt your dog's mouth.
2. Use a Flirt Pole
A flirt pole is a long piece of fabric that you attach to a pulley and dangle in front of your dog. A flirt pole offers an interactive toy that allows you to play fetch with your dog while allowing them room for exercise. Flirt poles come in many different materials, such as cotton rope or leather, so you can choose one that best suits your dog's needs. Take care when using a flirt pole, make sure your dog doesn't get tangled in loose strings and be certain that it won't fall on top of them if attached to high ceilings.
3. Play Tug of War
Have you ever had a rope toy for your dog? If not, get one! This is an all-time favorite for most dogs and can be fun for you, too. Just make sure that it's safe for both you and your dog when you play tug-of-war. It is common for larger, more aggressive dog breeds to get a little hostile over your game of tug of war. If your dog seems to get too aggressive, stop this method of play. Most of all, remember to have fun together! (Your dog will thank you later.) While there are many different types of toys out there, rope toys made specifically for playing tug are best since they don't contain any stuffing and won't cause damage if they accidentally become chewed up during play. Central Pet’s retail store carries all sizes of rope toys for dogs.
Related Read: What toy is best for your dog?
4. Create an Agility Course
Agility training is a great way for you and your pup to have fun and bond. Whether you set up an obstacle course in your backyard or head out for an agility class, it's a way for you to teach your dog new skills and keep him engaged with mental stimulation. With some creativity and resourcefulness, you can create a one-of-a-kind agility course in your own backyard. Let your dog be themself! This means letting them choose when they want to go fast and slow down, stopping at obstacles they choose (or not), choosing which obstacles they want to jump over first, etc.
5. Play Find the Treats With Your Dog
You can either hide treats for your dog or give them a command, like sit or down. You can also take things a step further and ask them to find their own treats, which is especially good for keeping older dogs sharp. To do it:
- Scatter small pieces of dog food on your floor.
- Stand back and let them sniff the treats out! If they don't find any right away, move the piles a little so they don't get discouraged.
- For an extra challenge, place some fun objects between one pile of food and another (like a ball, tug toy, or bone) to see if they can figure out how to reach them using only their nose!
There are also special treat dispensing toys that you might like to use in addition to this fun way to play with your dog! Explore fun, made in the USA, pet supplies in the retail store at Central Pet.
6. Play Some Water Games With Your Dog
Dogs love getting wet but don't always like swimming. Luckily, there are plenty of water games you can play with your dog to allow them to splash around without actually swimming. These include everything from simply splashing around in shallow water to playing fetch using a toy or ball in a pool. Just make sure that any pool or water you play in is safe for your dog.
7. Teach Your Dog to Chase Bubbles
If you're bored of fetch and treat-stuffed Kongs, introduce your dog to bubble play. It's a fun way for canines and their owners to have some raucous time outdoors while also providing plenty of exercise. Bubble blowers are at most pet stores or online; there are even battery-operated options if you don't want to be tethered by an outlet or battery pack. Step out into grassy areas—under trees, and near ponds are especially good—and give your pooch free rein!
8. Use a Digging Box
Digging boxes are fun for dogs and help develop their instincts, so it's a great way to spend time together. Dogs love burying their toys and bones in sand, grass, or dirt – but you can save a lot of effort by purchasing a digging box for your pet. These items provide more space than a standard toy box and make cleanup simple. Be sure to put your dog inside his digging box before he tries to dig around in other parts of your yard!
9. Play a Game of Hide and Seek
This is one of our personal favorites. A game of hide and seek can be a great way to give your dog some mental stimulation while enjoying some fun playtime together. Simply hide around your house without calling your dog's name or making any noise. Call them over as if you were going to play fetch or go for a walk, and when they find you, reward them lavishly with treats and pets! To get started, try hiding in familiar areas first, then gradually make things more challenging.
Under Stimulation in Dogs and How to Avoid It
Understimulation can be a serious issue for dogs. Although it's more of a problem for some dogs than others, all can suffer from a lack of stimulation if their natural play and exploration needs aren't met. Some common symptoms of under-stimulation include barking, biting, excessive digging, or hyperactivity. To help your pup avoid being bored, try getting him out on walks, playing games that require thinking, and puzzle toys that stimulate his mind instead of physical activity. Engaging in mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity.
Related Read: How Much Excercise Does a Dog Need Everyday?
Playing with your pet is an excellent way to bond. At Central Pet, we understand just how important that is! If you’re frequently away from home and your pet is left alone, one alternative is using a doggy daycare. Our facilities are designed to help keep your dog busy throughout the day. This can help to eliminate some of the issues that come with a bored pup at home, like chewing, excessive barking, or aggressive behavior. Find out more about our doggy daycare services and see how we can improve your dog’s daily activities. You can also buy a variety of toys at our retail store! We’re conveniently located in Tucson, AZ to make sure your furry friend is cared for in the best way possible.