Does your dog love to play? Are you missing game ideas? Here are some game suggestions for the summer to allow you to spend as much time outside as possible with your best friend.
Why playing is important for your dog
Playing is an essential activity for dogs in order to meet their needs and to stimulate them. What I like about playing is that it’s an activity that can be done with dogs. So, the opportunity is ideal to maintain your relationship with your companion.
Also, it is important to add an intellectual portion when we play with our dog to encourage good behavior and even if your dog is excited.
The traditional “Go fetch”
When playing “go fetch”, every toy is appropriate. The important thing is to find the toy that your dog adores, a plush toy, a ball, a Frisbee. Also, the texture, the shape, the color and the noise of a toy will have an impact on the willingness of your dog to bring it back to you.
Learn good manners to your dog, before you throw the toy ask him to sit down and you will quickly see that sitting behavior will soon become a reflex.
Hop in the water!
Whether it’s an above ground pool, inground pool, a plastic kiddie pool or even your watering hose. If your dog loves swimming and the water, he will be so happy. Do not forget the floating toys!
If you do not have a swimming pool, but your dog loves water, we have more and more dog pools in Quebec, for example at the “Complexe Animalier Accès Vet Blainville”, allowing you to enjoy it all year long.
At the same time, encourage your dog to come back to you when asked. Do not forget that swimming is much more exhausting than a walk. Take your dog out of the water after 15-30 minutes or make sure he can touch the bottom or come out regularly to avoid drowning.
Digging to china!
Does your dog love digging? Why not offer him his own garden with some plastic toys hidden in the ground. Digging is a necessary behavior for several dogs and being able to redirect him to an area or bin for it will save you from losing your own garden.
You will have the opportunity to teach your dog the “dig” demand, very useful to help you in your own gardening or your weed war.
Searching for toys
Hide toys in the yard and encourage your dog to find them, so you can reward him with his favorite treats when he finds them. You can also throw his meal in the grass and encourage him to seek it.
You can take advantage of the situation and work the demand “stay” while you hide his toys and kibble.
Contrary to what people believe, the tug-of-war game is very fun and positive for most dogs. I recommend you choose a long and stretchy toy. To avoid hurting your pet’s neck, your movements with the rope should be horizontal.
If your dog is the hunter type you can hold the toy to a stick or rope and encourage him to chase it and pull with you.
Encourage your dog to easily let go of the rope just by stopping to play, but still holding the rope. As soon as your dog decides to let go of the toy by boredom, say “loose” with a cheerful tone and start the game again.
In conclusion, do not forget to remain careful during the summer. When the temperature is high, it is recommended to stay outside for a shorter time and go out early in the morning or later in the evening. Also, prioritize the grass to play with your dog to protect his pads from the heat. Remember that your dog will never have enough water at this time of the year.
Once again, we transport you into the skin of your cat as he is getting ready to play with his favorite human. Observe how the cat prefers to play with you.
By the time your favorite owner approaches you to play, you are in the middle of one of your main and favorite tasks as the feline of the house. You are very focused to offer the best performance … sleeping. That’s why you need a little more time before you’re completely alert, about half a second.
This time, your owner seems to have learned from your last game session when you scratched him without any intention. In fact, it was his fault. Since you were young, he has been playing with you by using his fingers as if they were mosquitos. For years, he allowed you to play with his skin as if it was a toy, do not be surprised if anything that looks like skin has now become a toy for you.
So, after his bad experience, your owner has equipped himself with a cat teaser. At the end of the stick, you see what looks like a mosquito or a bird. It even makes noise when you move it. What a great idea! You are excited about the idea of catching this new toy and you are ready when your owner is “twirling” it round in front of you. Seeing that this doesn’t seem to interest you, he starts to make it fly from left to right. Since when do birds or mosquitos turn in circles or from left to right like that? Are there asylums for bugs that fly in circles? Seeing that you don’t seem quite excited by this movement, your owner decides to make more random and fast movements. Ha! Now it’s fun! It’s a much more natural way to fly. It is really when your owner immobilizes the prey on the wall momentarily or makes it disappear behind an object that things become really interesting.
You start on this artificial prey with the firm intention to catch it but you fail. Wow, it’s not easy to catch! You start again and miss again. A third and a fourth time with the same result. It’s obviously not easy. So far everything goes. In the wild, there are also prey that are not easy to catch. But after ten consecutive attempts without success, it’s not very funny and you decide to give up. After all, why spend energy on something you are never able to catch? And we wonder why cats become less interested to play with time. If you always lose at a game, you would lose interest in this game after a while, right?
Lucky you, the next day, your owner accidentally notices an article of the Cat Educator on the website of BeOneBreed (what a happy accident!). Which explains that you should let your cat catch the prey game once every three game. So you are satisfied, because you finally catch the prey and when you do, it behaves exactly like a wild prey would by struggling for a second or two between your paws and then it stops. Believing that you really had it, you lift the paw to check and hop, it starts again to fly, making the game more fun and natural, not only allowing to prolong the game but also to spend more energy.
Now you have played 10 minutes intensely and as a good sprinter as you are, you start to run out of energy. So you lie down in your favorite recovery position, with the front legs stretched out in front of you and the hind legs on the side. Your owner should then understand that the intensity should gradually drop and that the artificial prey should quietly die in your paws.
After a while, you decide to grab the toy and you run away with it to a quiet corner. Your owner returns to pick it up and the game starts again for a few minutes. It is very stimulating and you repeat this game during a few minutes until you are very tired. Your entertainer seems to have understood, he no longer makes the prey fly in all directions. Once finished, he puts the toy away. You would have liked to be able to continue playing, but you must admit that putting the toy away makes it much more interesting for next time.
This new way of playing is much more challenging than the old way: the laser pointer that you were never able to catch. With this game technique, you have a pleasant activity that seems like a real hunting sequence. If your owner could play a minimum of 10 minutes twice a day, you would be a happy kitty. You would have a lot less energy to do bad things like climbing the curtains or unwinding the toilet paper!
With cold weather and our occupations, it can be difficult to go out as long as we wish with our dog. In the winter time, we are less active and our dog can develop disturbing behaviors. Often the solution is not to change the behavior, but rather the environment of the animal by creating a rich environment. Let me suggest you to the best activities to entertain your companion.
Ideas for food activities
Eating is already an activity that your dog should usually do twice a day. The common mistake is to buy a metal dish and simply pour the kibble into it. This type of bowl is suitable for drinking water, but is very annoying for your dog.
I always recommend to encouraging your dog to play while eating! There is a variety of ways to feed your dog. Slow feeder bowls are the simplest and fastest example. It is a fixed bowl on the floor, but with shapes and compartments that encourages the animal to seek his food.
Ideas for masticatory activities
If you have a dog that destroys his toys, masticatory activity is definitely interesting to confirm the real usefulness of a toy. Destructive dogs are often simply lacking masticatory activity and suddenly attack toys that are allowed.
Masticatory activity allows a dog to use his jaw for mastication. Natural or enzymatic rawhide sold at your veterinary clinic are excellent sources of chewing. Using toys that contain rewards inside will also encourage your dog to chew but avoiding the destruction of the object.
Also the “tug of war” is a good way to satisfy the masticatory need by making sure the toy remains unscathed, because you are at the other end of the “tug”. You can teach your dog to release the “tug” on demand and thus being able to let go and chew upon request.
Just pull and move horizontally while your dog holds his tip. For your dog to let go you just have to stop pulling and put the “tug” between your legs and wait. Your dog will pull to drive you to play again and after a short period of time he will simply drop the toy and at that very moment say “Loose” or any word of your choice. All you have to do is repeat in small sessions of 3 to 5 minutes.
Fun games Inside
Playing is fun, but it is important that you be a part of this activity. I always recommend to do at least 3 periods of playtime per day of about ten minutes each. Even if you play outside, you can create fun inside playtime.
You can play classic games like throwing a toy or bickering. You can also play the hide and seek with your dog and encourage at the same time the “recall” command. The games where you hide the toys with a small reward inside are very stimulating for the sense of smell of your dog.
You might as well teach your dog how to put away his toys. If your dog knows how to “bring back” and “give” his toys, learning will be a breeze.
- Take your dog’s toy basket.
- Throw him a toy for he brings back to you (you can also tell him to take a toy if he knows the request)
- Hold the toy basket in your hands next to you.
- When your dog brings back the toy, simply ask him to put it in the basket instead of your hands.
- Use a new word like “basket” or “put away”.
- Repeat with different types of toys and increase the number of toys to bring back.
- Soon, you will be able to leave the basket in its place and simply tell your dog to “put away” his toys.
Lastly, activity is a routine that must be developed inside to allow your dog to have stimulating occupations that allow him to use his intellectual side. An intelligent and amused dog is a happy dog.