How do you keep your dog entertained and happy during all waking hours? Try these games for dogs at home!
Now that you have adopted a dog, and filled your home with all the essentials and have brought your dog home, what are you going to do with him? Is it enough to just provide a safe and loving space? The answer is no.
A dog is like a child. It needs to be engaged fully in order to be completely happy and well-adjusted. In order for that to happen, you need to commit time and energy. One sure way to do that is by having games for dogs at home. Not soft toys or squeaky toys. We are talking about actual games for dogs and there are plenty in the market. If you can’t buy, you can make up some of these games. There are outdoor games and indoor games. There are even mental games for dogs.
DID YOU KNOW? At VOSD –
1. None of our dogs are in chains.
2. We use 10 tonnes of dry food a month
3. We drive, fly, or bring by train 200-250 dogs each year from over 30 cities across India
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Here is a list of games that you can start with and as you go along on this beautiful journey with your dog, you are sure to create a lot more.
Indoor Games for dogs
Hide and seek: This is the most familiar game you can play. It combines the fun element along with some mental stimulation. If your dog has not yet learned the stay command, someone can stay with your dog as you hide. This is simple and challenging physically as well as mentally.
Tug of war: One of the easiest things to do is to play a game of tug of war with your dog. All you need is a shank of rope that is lying around in the house. This can be physically challenging and make your dog completely focused on you and your actions.
Chasing the ball: This game can be played within the walls of your home. Use a tennis ball or something softer so that there is no damage to things around your home. Just rolling it out to a corner of the room will be sufficient for a young dog or a puppy. This can become an outdoor game later. You may not even need a ball; a soft toy that your dog will learn to fetch would be a great start.
Muffin tray or Shell game: All you need is a muffin tray where you can place tennis balls in each even as you hide a treat underneath one of the tennis balls. Similarly, in the Shell game, take three or four cups; place a treat in one of them and turn all the cups over. Shuffle them around and let your dog find the one with the treat. These fun games are mentally challenging and will keep your dog totally occupied.
These indoor games seem simple enough to create at home and yet, are amazing mind games for dogs.
Outdoor Games for dogs
No one can stay cooped up indoors for long. It is just not natural. This applies to dogs, as well. Just as a simple walk can refresh our minds and body, your dog will need the fresh air and the exercise as a well-regimented routine. However, you may want to get creative as far as outdoor activities for your dog are concerned.
Walks: While we do believe that a regimented routine can be essential for your dog, it is more along the lines of time and distance. The walk itself can be more creatively stimulating if you put your mind to it. Even a simple change in the route will be interesting for your dog! Their sense of smell gets more fine-tuned and gives them a variety to store up in their memory.
Training: This can be done indoors as well as outdoors. There are games for dog training, too. It is rewarding for the owner as well as the dog because it would feel like such a huge accomplishment as your dog learns to control impulses and learns to respond correctly to a few simple commands. Make it fun!
Playdates: This is a great way to develop social skills in your dog. This does not require any extra effort. Taking your dog to the park and having your friends come along with their dogs would more than provide all that is necessary for a friendly date.
Water games: Dogs love to play in the water. This helps them cool in hot weather and it helps develop their muscles. Throwing a frisbee or ball into the water and having your dog fetch it back is simple and can be so much fun for you as well as your dog. This is sure to burn off a lot of energy and keep them happy!
Keeping your dog busy: Tips for owners
There are times when your dog will be bouncing off the walls with abundant energy – not literally! You can see that your dog is restless and looking for something to engage in. Do not ignore it. Unrelieved boredom can be destructive and it is unfair to your dog. If you are not able to take your dog outside, even a simple job around the house would work wonders. You can involve your dog in simple chores such as clearing the yard. Your dog will be happy to accompany you as you clear the room of toys or the yard of sticks or twigs. Dogs can be trained to do this and they will enjoy it even as they learn new tricks. Every single activity only strengthens the bond between you and your dog and in such a pleasurable way.
What if You’re Not in the Mood to Play?
In order to keep your dog entertained or engaged, do not overextend yourself. There are bound to be times when you simply do not want to play. You may be exhausted or busy. There are other ways to bond with your dog. You may just want to listen to music. Your dog can enjoy it, too. A quiet evening spent with you will be as wonderful for your dog as it will be for you.
Keep Yourself Entertained As Well
Above all, remember to take joy in the company of your dog. Whatever you do for your dog, you’re also doing for yourself. Even a simple walk in the park can be enjoyable for you as long as you don’t treat it as a chore. While the long term goal is to ensure your dog is trained and well-adjusted it is best if you do not lose sight of the simple fact that you have a friend for life and every engagement is a pleasure.
Do you find this information useful? For more general advice about dogs, visit the VOSD website.