DogGone Right! Angel

Fun Games for You and Your Dog

By Margaret Pender, Published: Apr 15, 2012

Fun Games to play with your dog

Here are some fun games to play with your dog.

» Playing games with your dog will strengthen the relationship between you.
» Games will keep your dog from getting bored, which will keep her from things you don't want her doing, and make her healthier.
» Many games will actually help train your dog. It's important that you can establish control of your dog even when he's very excited.
» And finally, most people get a dog for companionship -- isn't playing with your dog the whole point? One thing to keep in mind is your attitude while playing. Most dogs will have fun if it's clear you're having fun, too.

Hide 'n Seek

Why? Helps with Recall (the "Come" command) relationship.

I played this game with Angel when she first came to live with us and still play it with her. She loves it.

When you are out of sight of your dog, call her to you. You can either use your normal "recall" command or just her name. Be very excited when she arrives. Start making it more difficult by "hiding" behind doors, couches, etc. If she doesn't find you at first, call her again. If your dog is very good at "stay" you can use this to keep her in place while you hide. Some dogs will use their noses for this task, others will just look. Most of them will learn a faster recall. This is a great game for kids to play with dogs, as long as the kids don't encourage the dog to chase them.

Treasure Hunt

Why? This game can help you cure your puppy/dog of digging in the backyard.

Put your dog in a down-stay and place a treat (food or toy) within sight. Return to your dog and release her, and encourage her to go to the treat -- she can eat it or play with it. Repeat this, varying where you put the treat. Next time, "hide" the treat where the dog can't see it, but she can see you putting it there (behind a piece of furniture, for example). Release her, and let her get the treat (show her if necessary). Next, hide the treat further away, then in another room, out of sight, and if she stays in her "stay" let her find it. You can increase the distance, difficulty, and even number of treats (several small food bits) as your dog gets better at "stay". This is especially good for dogs that have begun to learn "stay" but are nervous about having their people go out of sight.


Some dogs are natural fetchers, others are not. All can learn to enjoy this game. Be sure to teach and practice "drop it" first. If your dog refuses to return the ball (and this is pretty instinctive!), or drops it too far away, end the game immediately. Don't turn "fetch" into "keep away"! "Fetch" can be shaped by rewarding interest in a toy, then approaching a toy, then touching it, then mouthing it, then picking it up. Use a clicker to click-and-treat faster retrieves, catches in the air, or a neater return.

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Training Tip 5

The more difficult the situation, the better the potential reward should be. Remember to always reward the recall, but reward the best recalls with the best reward i.e. a jackpot of treats instead of just one.