20 Fun Games to Play With Your Dog

20 Fun Games to Play With Your Dog

Playing fun games is the best way to bond with your pup. Not only that, but it is also good for their health and quality of life.

So what should you play next? 

Dive in to get 20 interesting ideas for things to play with your paw. From outdoor strength and fitness games to brain games and simple indoor activities, this list caters to all your pup’s instincts!

Indoor Dog Games

It’s not always suitable to go out – sometimes it’s rainy or too hot.

So what to do in these situations? Let your pup get bored?

Absolutely not! You don’t need to go outside to have fun with your friend. Here are some engaging games right inside your house!

1. Find the Hidden Toy 

How to Play: Have your paw sit and stay while you hide their favorite toy somewhere in the room. Release them with a “find it!” and watch them sniff it out. 

Start by hiding the toy in easy-to-find locations, like under a couch cushion or behind a curtain. As your dog gets better at the game, you can hide it in trickier spots – behind throw pillows, inside a laundry basket, or even on top of bookshelves.

Just be careful that the hiding spots are safe. There should be no breakable stuff, such as glass decoration pieces or things that could fall down and cause harm.

2. Sock Puppet Show

How to Play: Put on a silly sock puppet show for your dog! Use different voices and make the puppets interact with each other – nothing technical, just fun!

Rainy days are the perfect time to get creative with a classic rainy day activity – a sock puppet show! It’s a budget-friendly activity that only requires a few household items and your imagination. 

Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your little-paw and provide some mental stimulation.

3. Stair Step Challenge

How to Play: Encourage your pup to walk up and down the stairs with a treat lure or a favorite toy.

This simple indoor fun strengthens leg muscles and improves coordination of your dog. If you have carpeted stairs, this is a great low-impact exercise for your dog. However, you need to be careful if you’ve concrete or wooden surface – don’t let your paw get hurt.

Caution: Only play this game if your dog has healthy joints. Avoid playing it with older dogs. Stop if they get too excited and jump about too much as there are chances of falling down.

4. The Mimicry Game

How to Play: Perform some simple actions like shaking your head or clapping your hands. Watch your paw closely and the moment they mimic your action, reward them with a treat!

Did you know your pup might be a secret copycat? Dogs are surprisingly adept at mimicking human actions, and you can turn into a fun indoor game!

As your paw gets the hang of it, you can get more creative. Try yawning, rolling over, or making funny faces. Keep it light and fun, and get amused as your dog tries to copy your silly antics.

5. Put Things Where They Belong!

How to Play: Get a designated basket or bin for dog toys. Show your pup where each thing goes by first placing them in the basket or bin yourself. Your dog will naturally follow!

All that playtime can leave a trail of scattered toys and hidden treats. But don’t worry, you can make cleaning up a fun activity too. Turn it into a quick and easy game of “Clean Up!” 

Once your pup is trained enough, you can gradually expand the clean up game to things other than dog toys, such as clothes.

Fun Brain Games for a Smarter Pup

Dogs are intelligent creatures, and that’s just one of the reasons we love them. With enough mental activity and training, your pup can become more intelligent.

Here are some games to make your pup smarter while having fun!

1. The Treat-Dispensing Challenge

How to Play: Fill a Kong toy or puzzle feeder with treats and kibble. Let your dog work on figuring out how to get the goodies out. 

Challenge your pup’s problem-solving skills with a treat-dispensing toy! These ingenious toys come in all shapes and sizes, from balls that spit out treats as they roll to puzzle feeders with compartments that require nudges to release hidden goodies.

Here’s how you can up the fun: Change up the difficulty level by using different dispensing toys each time.

2. The Name Game

How to Play: Give a specific name to your pup’s toys. Practice by asking your paw to fetch each toy by name.

Whenever you take or give a specific toy, say its name. That’s how your pup will learn what it’s called. It’s a fun way to make your paw learn new words. As your friend becomes smarter at it, you can move on to learning body parts, important household tools, or other things that you use. 

However, you need to remain patient and move on slowly. It’s true that dogs can remember many words, but you should keep it light and fun for your paw. Don’t make it too stressful.

3. The Scent Trail Surprise

How to Play: Take a dog treat, rub it along a path leading to the place where you will hide it. This creates a scent trail for your dog to follow.

Do this when your paw is outside or in another room – don’t let that sneaky smart pup see you!

The scent trail surprise is a fantastic way to challenge your dog’s sense of smell. Just make sure you hide stuff in locations your dog can access safely.

4. Hide and Seek

How to Play: Bored of hiding toys and treats? Here’s an idea: hide yourself! With your pup in a waiting position (like a “sit” or “stay”), find a safe hiding spot inside your house.

Once you’re hidden, shout out a release word like “Seek!” or “Find me!” Keep still and let your paw try to sniff you out. When your best friend discovers your hiding spot, shower them with praise and cuddles!

5. The Matching Game

How to Play: Grab some identical treats or their favorite toys (at least 3 pairs). Spread them out face down on the floor and let your pup observe for a moment. While your pup patiently waits, flip over two of the items.

If your pup reveals a matching pair (two identical treats or toys), celebrate! This simple memory and recognition challenge can improve paw’s problem-solving skills while having fun at it!

Dog Games for Strength and Fitness

Want games that will get your paw’s heart pumping and muscles working? Try these activities to keep your dog strong and fit:

1. Flirt Pole Chase

How to Play: Use a pole that has a rope and toy or lure attached to one end. Simply move the pole around, mimicking the movements of prey, and watch as your dog chases and tries to catch it. 

Run, change directions, and jump around to keep your dog thrilled. Occasionally let your dog “catch” the lure by letting them snatch at it for a moment – you must provide a sense of accomplishment!

Chasing the flirt pole is an excellent way to satisfy your dog’s natural hunting instincts while giving them a full-body workout. Start slow and gradually increase the intensity of the chase as your dog gets fitter.

2. Obstacle Course

How to Play: Set up an obstacle course in your backyard or living room to challenge your dog’s agility.

Whenever you build a new obstacle course, you should guide your dog through it using treats and encouragement. Plus, you can get creative with household items like cones, chairs, and blankets to create tunnels, jumps, and weave poles.

3. The Balancing Act

How to Play: Place a sturdy exercise ball on the floor and encourage your dog to stand on it with treats or praise.

This game is perfect for larger breeds with good balance. Once your dog has mastered standing, try adding a “shake” or “sit” while balanced. 

This game will strengthen your pup’s core muscles. Remember, you should start with short sessions and supervise closely to prevent falls.

4. Tug-of-War

How to Play: Grab a sturdy rope and challenge your dog to a game of tug-of-war. 

This classic game strengthens your dog’s muscles, particularly in their jaws, neck, and shoulders. 

We all love the good old tug-of-war, but here is one precaution you must take: teach your dog the “drop it” command to release the toy. This ensures the game remains safe and enjoyable for both of you, and your hand doesn’t get nibbed!

5. Fetch and Retrieve (Frisbee!)

How to Play: Find an open outdoor space like a park, and throw a ball or a frisbee for your dog to chase and retrieve. 

It’s another classic game with both fun and physical benefits. This game provides excellent cardiovascular exercise and helps improve your dog’s speed, agility, and coordination. Plus, the thrill of catching the frisbee mid-air is sure to keep your paw excited!

Creative DIY Games for Your Pup! 

Ran out of games to play with your pup? 

Entertaining our pups is not that hard, You don’t always need to buy particular toys or create elaborate games to keep your dog engaged. You can come up with your own creative games using simple household items.

Here are some ideas you can try out:

1. The Muffin Tin Treasure Hunt

How to Play: Take an empty muffin tin and hide treats under some of the cups. Let your dog sniff it out and find the hidden goodies! 

It’s a simple game, but your paw will surely love it. It engages their sense of smell and keeps them engaged. 

Start with just a few treats hidden under some of the cups, leaving the others empty. As your dog gets the hang of it, you can increase the difficulty by adding more empty tins. 

Also, use a variety of treats to keep things interesting. Try their favorite kibble, some yummy jerky, or even frozen yogurt (in a dog-safe mold, of course!).

2. The Crinkle Ball

How to Play: Cut up some old fabric scraps (like fleece or felt) into squares. Crumple them up and tie them together with some string to create a colorful crinkle ball. 

Keep watch as your pup tries to untangle it, chew it, or kick it around! You can add a squeaker inside the ball for extra excitement. 

Just make sure to choose sturdy fabrics and remove any loose threads to prevent choking.

3. The Cardboard Box Bonanza

How to Play:  Cut out doorways and windows to transform cardboard boxes into a pup palace. Hide treats or toys inside the boxes. You can even connect multiple boxes for a sprawling maze.

Don’t toss out those cardboard boxes just yet! They can come in handy when getting creative with dog games. Multiple boxes with hidden surprises can provide a stimulating play environment and encourage exploration.

4. The DIY Snuffle Mat

How to Play: Make your own snuffle mat by tying strips of fleece or fabric onto a non-slip rubber mat or a sturdy frame. Sprinkle your dog’s kibble or small treats among the fabric strips, and let your pup use their nose to sniff out the hidden goodies! 

You can vary the difficulty by hiding treats deeper within the fabric or by using different textures and lengths of strips.

5. The Frozen Treat Surprise

How to Play: Take an ice cube tray and fill each compartment with a mixture of water and chicken broth or beef broth. Drop a small treat or piece of fruit into each compartment, then freeze the tray. 

Once frozen, pop out the ice cubes and let your dog enjoy licking and crunching their way through the icy treats! This game is perfect for hot summer days and provides a refreshing way for your pup to stay cool while also enjoying a tasty snack. 

Why should you try out playing different games with your dog?

Different dogs have different personalities. Some may like you to test their strength, while others may enjoy playing detective. You need to try out different activities to learn more about your pup’s preferences.

Also, you should not stick to the same games everyday because dogs need well-rounded exercise for a better quality of life. For instance, it’s not enough to provide your pups with physical stimulation while neglecting their mental faculties.

Finally, perhaps you or your little-paw have become bored of playing the same thing and want to try out something new – it’s not that deep!

So try out the ideas provided above or come up with your own fun mini games! Remember, a playful dog is a healthy dog. By playing different games, you can make sure your pup is healthy and happy.

Reena McElroy Avatar