There are many goals to training your dog, but apart from the obvious skill and connection building benefits, another advantage is that it challenges your dog and eventually makes them smarter. And who says it can’t be enjoyable?
Aside from basic obedience training, there are many interesting activities for dogs that are both intellectually engaging and amusing – for both of you! Continue reading to learn about many games and activities that can help your dog immensely.
1. Teach Your Dog to Make Eye Contact
Teach your dog to make eye contact with you. Ask your dog to stare at you while holding a goodie to your brow or near your eye. Gradually remove the food and ask your dog to look at you using a hand gesture and a vocal command. This simple activity not only helps you gain your dog’s attention when he is distracted, but it also causes oxytocin to be released in both you and your dog. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone between parent and child. Scientists refer to this as “eye hugs.”
2. Switch Up Your Dog Walking Routine
If you truly want your dog’s complete attention, you need vary your routine from time to time. One simple approach to achieve this is to change the path you usually travel when walking your dog. You may begin by walking in a different direction or turning left when you generally turn right, but you can also try somewhere entirely new to test her even more.
Exposing your dog to new sights, scents, and noises will confuse them, so be sure they are paying attention to you and following your lead. Before introducing your dog to a new walking area, be sure it’s safe for both of you.
3. Hot & Cold Game
The “Hot & Cold” game helps your dog discover a concealed reward or toy by using verbal communication and voice tone. When your dog is not looking, hide a treat. If your dog goes away from the concealed goodie, use a calm tone for cooler. As your dog comes closer to the concealed goodie, use a more eager tone for “hotter.” This game improves listening abilities. It also contributes to the development of your and your dog’s own “language.”
4. Teach Your Dog to Solve a Problem
Allow your dog to learn how to pull a string to acquire a treat. Tie a ribbon or tiny rope around a treat and conceal it behind a small platform or piece of furniture, far enough back so they can’t reach it with their mouth or paw. Encourage your dog to investigate and time him as he tugs on the line to get the goodie. Reasoning abilities are vital for both young pups and senior canines. Successful problem solving also boosts confidence.
5. DIY Interactive Treat Game for Dogs
Use plastic storage bowls that nest inside one other, either of the same size or ranging in size from large to little. Place a goodie in the bottom container, followed by the second container. Layer the snacks and containers again. To get your dog started, place one treat in the top, open container. Make sure you do this under close watch so your dog doesn’t eat the plastic containers. You may increase the difficulty by adding additional containers as your dog figures out each stage.
6. Put Dog Treats in a Plastic Bottle
To play this game, make treats-in-a-bottle out of plastic soda bottles, a metal rod, and a wooden base. Three soda bottles should be threaded through the metal rod and secured in the wooden base. Fill two of the bottles with goodies and watch your dog try to grab the rewards from the bottles.
7. Fun and Plush Dog Puzzle Toys
Similar to the activities mentioned above, the AKC Shop has a range of puzzle toys that will be very stimulating for your dog if they are food motivated. Of course, the goal is for kids to utilize their brain to earn the reward. These interactive toys boost your dog’s memory and train them to focus on a single job for an extended amount of time.
8. DIY Dog Agility Course
This is not only psychologically but also physically engaging for your dog! You may simply construct an obstacle course out of everyday home items. Set up your dining room chairs for your dog to weave between, or set up a broom or mop for them to leap over. Your dog will be following your commands to complete the course, but they will be having so much fun that they won’t realize they are being trained!
If your dog actually excels at this, you should consider getting them involved in agility.
9. Play Hide and Seek With Your Dog
This is not a child’s game! It’s a fun game to play with your dog, and the ultimate prize is you. Ask your dog to sit and remain while you search for the ideal hiding area. When you’re ready, call your dog over to you. Because dogs have an amazing sense of smell, it shouldn’t take them long to discover you. Reward them when they find you. Over time, you can choose increasingly difficult hiding areas so they have to work extra hard to figure out where you are.
10. Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Teaching your dog (young or elderly) a new skill isn’t always easy, but it’s surely rewarding for both of you. You may have to practice on this over time, but it will improve your attention and obedience abilities. Under the Bridge is a good place to start. Simply sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent, and use a high-value reward or your dog’s favorite toy to entice them to move under the “bridge” you’ve created with your legs. Make sure you lavish them with praise once they’ve completed the assignment!
For a well-rounded dog, mental activity is equally as vital as physical training. These and other activities help to enhance not just your dog’s intelligence but also your relationship with your canine partner. Enroll in the AKC GoodDog! program for more game ideas and to create a unique training plan for your dog. Helpline, a telephone assistance service manned by professional dog trainers available seven days a week.