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Whether you're still cooped up with your dog or back out at work, finding time to play with your dog is essential. You probably already know how to play with dogs, but we found some new ideas for dog games and activities.
All dogs play a little differently, some can chase the ball for what feels like hours while other dogs play well with each other or even by themselves. My dog high school, Cody, who I could only guess was a mix of Greyhound, Husky, and German Shepherd, loved running.
He would run in large circles while dodging my attempts to catch him; at this point, it felt like my dog was chasing me! Now you might see why I think he had greyhound in him, as for the other two mixes, it was the pounds best guess.
Luckily for my family, we lived close to our high school sp we could take him to the fenced-in baseball field to play. The amount of energy Cody had could have been harnessed to power the entire neighborhood. Maybe Elon Musk could look into puppy power.
Fast forward twenty years, I'm writing this while my cocker spaniel, Harley, plays fetch with his stuffed Moose.
*Yes, I have a purebred, ironic for my store's name, Mutt Camping. To be fair, my wife got him as a puppy before we met, our next fur baby will undoubtedly be a rescue.*
Anyway, Harley might fetch the Moose once or twice, play tug with me for a few minutes, and then do the cutest thing. As if concerned for his beloved Moose's well-being, he takes him to his bed and licks him back to health. He's had that play toy ever since he was a pup, as the lonely dog child in our family he treats that Moose like his brother.
You might even have entertaining stories of play with your dog, and I'd love to hear them in the comments below. Today we want to cover how to play with dogs that bring them new stimulation. Fetch games for dogs only go so far; while it's an excellent exercise for your dog, it can grow boring for both of you.
Much like us, dogs need some variation. After all, it is the spice of life. Living long and healthy lives is a balance of many things, and finding new pet games is a great start.
While the suggestions we're about to give you contain many new challenging games for dogs, some will require you to talk to your veterinarian first. They'll be the ones to evaluate your dog and provide you with alternatives or cautions to look out for. Knowing is half the battle, and for us, Harley had back surgery earlier this year. With this, our vet was specific in limiting certain playful activities while encouraging other specific dog activities.
For those of us with yards, this one is as easy as turning on a few sprinklers, running through them with your dog is optional. But even a garden hose offers you the opportunity to see your dog chasing down streams of water across the yard. If you're cooped up in an apartment, visit the nearby creek or lake. With the right safety gear, open water can be a great source of fun for water-loving dogs.
Check out these tips on dogs and water safety.
Doggie Pawball (Soccer)
Even if you have two left feet, and your dog has four, this is a lot of fun for both of you. The ideal size ball for your dog is as tall as your dog's elbow. This way, they can quickly get their paw on top to stop your incoming passes. It will also likely be big enough to keep them from picking the ball up with their mouth, that's a foul!
Given how low impact this is, it could be a street dog game or played in the yard or park.
Chase the Squeaker
All dogs have a hunting instinct; it's in their wolf DNA! Bring out the playful beast in them and introduce new physical challenges with our Squishy Face Flirt Pole. With the lure at the end of the pole, keeping them on their paws as they sprint, jump and change direction to catch their prey. Some dogs don't even need the squeaker to know it's a prize worth catching!
Play with Bubbles
Who doesn't love bubbles? Much like chasing the squeaker, playing with bubbles brings out the playful hunter in our dogs. For some, it's mere curiosity and others; it's a neverending battle of air bites. With that said, be sure to use a non-toxic bubble formula or soap because it could irritate your doggo.
Since this can be a fun activity for kids, too, we urge you to be careful, mixing dog play and toddler play. Your child should learn how to play with dogs delicately. If the bubbles cause your dog to snap too much, keep the kiddo out for now.
Your dog doesn't have to be a half-time entertainer to enjoy a good game of frisbee. In fact, with the extra hang time that a frisbee provides, this brings a new challenge to some of our slower pets. Catching! Vary up the throw and even the type of frisbee based on your dog's level of athleticism.
Reinvented Game of Fetch
Okay, so it's hard to reinvent something as classic as fetch, but we found a new way to play fetch with your dog. A round ball oftentimes provides the same bounce, over, and over, and over. How about some variability with the Crazy Bounce Ultra?
This six-sided, hard rubber toy that never bounces the same twice. Pro-tip: rolling the crazy bounce like a bowler simulates a dog chasing hard to catch prey.
Play at their Level
We should only recommend this if you're willing to get a little dirty yourself, so maybe this is best inside on the carpet. On your hands and knees, simply outstretch your arms to imitate a dog that's ready to pounce. This should be enough to get a similar reaction from your playful dog prepared to wrestle around. While this is an exciting dog game for both of you, it can be easy to get carried away.
Always keep it playful, and do not encourage them to play too rough with you. Dogs playing with each other is very different when they try to do the same thing with us humans. Teaching them to get away with bites can lead to dangerous habits.
Tug of war, for me that brings back memories of a field day as a kid. But today, I play tug of war with Harley using our Shackle Rubber Tug Toy. It's made of eco-friendly hard rubber that's easy for him to chomp down on and me to grip far enough away from his chompers.
When playing tug of war with your dog, be careful not to introduce too many quick pulls, that could put a strain on their neck and even pull teeth. Those dangers, although rare, is more likely depending on the type of toy used.