20 Fun And Easy Games To Keep Your Dog Mentally And Physically Fit

By on June 21, 2015
Dog Games That Are Fun And Easy

Playing with your dog is almost always a fun time. Whether you’re throwing a ball, or just having a game of tug of war, you’re keeping your dog active. But what else can you be doing to keep them in shape mentally and physically? We’ve compiled a list of 20 games that you should try with your little one. And don’t forget to give them a reward while at it!

20 Fun And Easy Games To Keep Your Dog Mentally And Physically Fit

You may have seen some of these games before, and maybe even tried some of them, but we hope that the list is large enough to help give you some inspiration. Because hey, we love rubbing them and talking baby to my dog as much as the next dog lover, but we know that won’t keep them sharp.

We hope you enjoy the list!

1. Egg Hunt

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Just like you would hide small plastic eggs filled with candy for children to find, you can hide small piles of dog food around your house or yard for your pet to discover. In the wild, dogs had to forage and hunt for their food. If they didn’t find something to eat on the first try, they kept searching until they were successful. (Just remember where you placed each pile so you can point them out to your pooch and avoid attracting rodents or insects.) Read More…

2. Cagey Cube

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In Cagey Cube, a ball is placed inside of a flexible cage, and the dog must try to extract it. I switched out the ball in mine with one that has a hole for treats. That extra motivation keeps my dogs working on the puzzle longer. Read More…

3. Puppy Basketball

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Place a trash can or laundry basket in the room and grab your pet’s favorite toy. Demonstrate what you would like the dog to do by dropping the toy into the basket. Drop the toy into the basket while giving the dog the “drop” command. Make sure that they are watching you and hearing the command. Repeat it until you think that he has it, then it’s his turn. Reward all successes with great enthusiasm. Dog Treats will always work as reinforcement for success! Read More…

4. Sign Language

Teaching Dogs Sign Language For Fun

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These signs are not special or official. They are not from a book of signs. They are simply ones made up to use with my deaf dog Berkeley. It is only a very small sample. You can add to them and adapt them in whatever way you like. The main thing to bear in mind is that whatever signs you choose you must be consistent. Read More…

5. Magic Cups

Dog playing with magic cups via Pawsh Magazine

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Inspired by the classic childhood shell game, ‘Magic Cups’ uses three plastic cups and one tennis ball (or a similar beloved toy) to create a mental hunt for your dog. Read More…

6. DIY Spin Out Game

Spin out games for dogs Instructables

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This Spin Out Game will fascinate animals of all types! It keeps their naturally curious nature busy trying to get the treats. It gives dogs something to do to occupy their minds and time and creates fascination in the animal world if placed in a location where wildlife lives. This game was fun to make and has been even more fun to see how animals have reacted to it in nature. Read More…

7. Help With Clean Up

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Clean-up time can be a lot of fun when your dog knows how to put things away! This game is easy — just scatter the toys all over the house and have your dog find each one and put it away in a basket to earn a reward. Start out by first training your dog to know what “put it away” means. Work on teaching your dog to pick up a toy, carry it to a basket or box, and drop it in the box. Read More…

8. Fetch

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Playing fetch is a great way to have fun with your dog and exercise him at the same time. If you’re lucky, your dog plays fetch naturally, but few dogs intrinsically understand the concept of retrieving. Some dogs will chase after the toy but then won’t bring it back, while others simply look at you with a confused expression, wondering why you repeatedly throw the toy away! Read More…

9. DIY Baby Pickin’ and Treat Lickin’ Lovers Game

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This brain workin’ game takes only minutes to put together. Start by gathering all of the supplies listed above, then roll up a few pieces of kibble or small treats inside of strips of the fleece (I only put treats in some of the fleece pieces). Stuff the fleece pieces tightly in the Hol-ee Roller. Read More…

10. The Engage-Disengage Game

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The Engage-Disengage Game is helpful for dogs that respond with a “fight” or “fool around” response. These dogs often become over-aroused quickly and end up hurling themselves toward the trigger out of fear, anxiety, or frustration. Unlike socially savvy dogs that self-interrupt frequently in order to keep interactions fun and safe, these “fight” or “fool around” dogs have immense difficulty disengaging from the trigger in order to self-interrupt. Read More…

11. Tennis Ball Cupcakes

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The purpose of Tennis Balls cupcakes is for your dog to use his/her nose to find the treat(s) in the tin, under the tennis balls. If your dog is food motivated, Tennis Ball Cupcakes is a FUN PAWsome game to play. It is a wonderful and low-cost game to play with your dog, especially on winter days when its very COLD and you are stuck in the house. Read More…

12. Word Recognition

With time, patience, and plenty of practice, most dogs can learn to associate certain words with certain objects. Here’s how to start. Give two of your dog’s favorite toys a name – something simple, like “ball,” “bear,” or “baby.” Remove all other toys from sight to help your pet focus. Say the name of one toy and throw it so she can retrieve it. Do this a few times, repeating the name of the toy as you toss it. Then do the same with the other toy. Read More…

13. Strength Training

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Your pup may not be able to pump iron, but toning your muscles is an easy addition to your walking routine. “Do lunges with the dog as you walk, then have him sit while you squat and do calf raises. Aim for 50 lunges and 50 squat raises per walk.” If your dog is small enough, use his weight as resistance. Read More…

14. Brush N’ Play

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If you’ve ever tried to brush your dogs teeth then you’re familiar with the awkwardness that ensues. If they only knew you were trying to help! Here’s a clever way to trick stubborn pups into cleaning their teeth. The Q-Ring is like any other pull/chew toy but features a squishy bristled end that removes plaque, reduces gingivitis and stimulates gums. Simply twist the tactile, soft grip handle inside-out and it doubles as a frisbee! Read More…

15. Hide And Seek

Dog playing hide and seek

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Hide and seek isn’t just for kids. Dogs can really enjoy this game. Grab one of your dogs favorite toys, chews or treats. Tell your dog to stay. Then, go find a good hiding place. When you are ready, call your dog to come to you. If possible, squeak the toy or shake the treats. Reward your dog with praise and the toy/treat when she finds you. Read More…

16. Impulse Control Game

This is a tutorial on how to play the impulse game for dogs. This game is great for aggressive dogs who are in training, it helps them to be able to focus on their handler while in a high arousal state. Read More…

17. You’ve Got a Friend in Me

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Trust exercises can be challenging at times when they don’t go as planned, but as long as you chunk them down into achievable increments, you can build a lasting bond with your dog with a strong root in trust. One game that I play often with my dogs is stepping over them while they are in a down position. To get started with this game you will need to teach a reliable down with duration and start to be able to walk around your dog while she holds the down. Read More…

18. Kong

Dog chewing on kong

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This toy is best used when a liquid or pureed food is stuffed inside and frozen. Take peanut butter and yogurt or cottage cheese and some broken freeze dried liver treats, fill the kong and freeze it! Freezing the kong will keep the dog working at the toy for quite awhile! This is a great opportunity to get some healthy probiotics in your dog while entertaining their nose and bellies! Read More…

Need some inspiration on what to fill your kong with? Try these 17 kong recipes.

19. Use the Stairs For a Workout

Running up stairs with dog

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If you’re snowed in you might not have an opportunity to get in your regular amount of physical exercise with your dog. If you have stairs in your home utilize them. Have your dog follow along as you get in some exercise going up and down the stairs. If your dog isn’t clumsy you can also try playing fetch on the stairs. Read More…

20. Learn To Earn Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt With Dog

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With the Learn to Earn exercises, the dog is attached to the owner on leash and follows the owner around the house. Every time the owner stops, the dog should sit or lie down patiently. This requires a lot of food, petting, and praise rewards at first until it becomes a habit. Once the calm, controlled behavior becomes a habit and the dog regularly looks to the owner for guidance, he no longer needs to be on leash in the house. Read More…

Hopefully you learned a lot from our list of games and that you will try at least one or two of them soon. If you have any other games that you suggest, please let us know in the comments! Be sure to give full steps on how to play so it will help others 🙂

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  • The perfect list of fun and easy games. My dog really likes Kong, it’s her favorite toy.