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Outdoor Games for Your Dog

Dogs

Play Together, Stay Healthy Together

As we and our dogs pry the cold fingers of winter off of our lives, there is one thing everyone is itching to do: go outside! Our dogs are especially drawn outdoors to get out there and sniff and explore. This month, we’d like to give you some ideas for outdoor games for your dog—and your whole family.

These will get you all out playing, having fun and enjoying the fresh air. These activities, when enjoyed together will enhance your bond with your dog while helping him or her get the exercise and activity needed to stay both physically and mentally healthy. In fact, the more mental and physical exercise you give your dog, the better behaved he or she will be, so get outside and get going!

Before Playing these Outdoor Games for Your Dog:

Remember, not all dogs will like all games, and not all games are suited for all dogs. Try a few and mix them up from time to time to keep it interesting for everybody. Make sure to set out the play rules for your dog and consistently enforce them so that everybody stays safe and has fun! Make sure to bring a few healthy snacks along, and lavish your pet with praise when he or she does a great job. Also make sure plenty of fresh drinking water is available, especially on warm days. If you have any ideas for outdoor games for your dog too, let us know!

Obedience—Freestyle!

Start with a large, open yard or park space and walk around while your pet follows you. As you are walking, practice basic commands like: Sit! Stay! Come! Down! Be sure to praise your dog profusely for each successful command. Once he or she has mastered basic commands, you can kick it up a notch with other commands like Back up! Circle (around something)! Or Jump (over something)! Not only does this challenge your dog to learn new things, but trains him (as you walk around) to keep his focus on you.

Obstacle Course

If you can set one of these up in your backyard, you and your dog can have lots of fun. You can find many obstacle course items at local pet supply stores (tubes, pause tables, hurdles to jump over), or you can use things you have around the yard like hula hoops to jump through, boxes to jump over, ladders (to prance through, not climb up). First guide your dog through the course on a leash to show him or her the way to go through the course. Praise profusely each time your dog accomplishes the right task. This is one of those outdoor games for your dog that is good physical and mental exercise for your pet!

Batter Up

Instead of just the usual fetch game, you can change it up a little by getting a Wiffle bat and a ball that your dog likes to fetch. Hit the ball out into the field with the bat. After your dog runs out to get and return the ball, make sure you don’t hit another ball out until he or she learns to drop the ball at your feet.

Water Fetch

water fetch game with dog

If you are out at the lake or similar body of water—and your dog feels comfortable playing in and swimming in the water (not all dogs do, and you shouldn’t force them if they aren’t)—you can toss the ball into the water (something buoyant is best) and have your pet fetch it for you. Before you play this, make sure your dog knows where he or she can get out of the water safely. This is a great way to keep cool on a hot day!

Pool and Hose Fun

If your dog is a newbie to water, this may be one of the better outdoor games for your dog that also includes cooling water for a hot day. Get out the kiddie pool and a hose and encourage your dog to splash and play in the water. You can also entice your dog to jump in and out of the pool by trying to catch the spray of water from the house. This game helps your dog get some exercise and stay cool at the same time. (P.S. It’s also a good way to give your dog a bath!)

Hidden Treasures

Hide a few yummy treats in sneaky places around your yard. Then, with your dog in a sit/stay position, have him or her sniff the treat. Hide that someplace out of sight and then let your dog sniff around the yard trying to find the reward! Make each game challenging by finding different places to hide the treats each time.

Stick and String Chase

Use this only in a wide open space: get a soft dog toy and tie it to the end of a long rope (6 feet or so), then tie the other end to a broomstick or similar long stick. Move the toy up and down, around and from side to side so that your dog is running to try and fetch the toy. When he or she gets the toy, praise and reward! This outdoor dog game can tire your dog out quickly, so be careful on warm days and make sure there are plenty of rest breaks and fresh water to drink.

We hope you can put some of these outdoor games for your dog to good use this summer! Let us know if you have any other ideas too!

 

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