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Playing With Your Dog: Fun Games To Fight Boredom

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brown and white terrier playing with your dog as terrier dog plays tug of war with pink and white rope toy

With quarantines, work from home options and winter weather such a big part of life right now, playing games inside with your dog can provide exercise for both of you.

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Playing games with your dog is great for your dog if he has any problems with boredom or anxiety. It’s not hard to keep a dog active and busy. If you give a dog something to do and keep them busy, he/she will be happy. Ideally, if your dog spends time playing then it will help him use up some of his extra energy.

A simple game of fetch or time spent searching for hidden treats can keep your dog busy and use up lots of energy. Games such as these also require a lot of your dog’s mental energy. These games will keep your dog’s attention and keep them entertained for quite a while.

When Playing With Your Dog: Choose Right Games

No matter what kind of dog you have, there are lots of games you can play together to keep your dog happy and entertained. Games will also help the two of you bond and enjoy each other’s company. Here are some of the most popular doggy games to keep your dog happy and having a good time:


Fetch is a wonderful game to play with your dog. Some dogs will play this game non-stop. If you’re playing fetch with your dog you should try to control the session and control when your dog stops. Hide the toy (perhaps on a shelf) or give a command so your dog knows when it’s time to stop playing. You may be able to distract your dog with a treat or switch to another game.

Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is an easy and fun game for dogs. All you have to do is hide from your dog and call your dog to find you. When your dog finds you, let you dog know he’s done a great job. Make the game harder by hiding in spots that are harder to find.

Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunt is a fun game that makes a dog use his brain. You can even use treat dispensing toys as part of the game. To play the game you should hide treats in different places around your house, or even in toys. Then send your dog to go find the treats. Keep it fresh by changing hiding locations. Dogs are smarter than you think when figuring out how to score more treats!

One game I discovered a couple of months ago is Snuffle Mat.. The mat has a lot of places to hide small treats or individual kibble pieces, then the dog must use his nose to sniff them out. I like the fact it’s big enough that both of my dogs can interact with it at the same time without getting in each other’s way. When not in use, it folds up for easy storage. For dogs that like the shortcut approach, the mat also comes with ties to secure it on furniture legs to prevent dogs from simply flipping it over to access the treats.

Trick Response

You can play this game by having your dog working to do the tricks he already knows. Use whatever tricks you have taught him in the past. Make sure you teach your dog the exact phrases or commands you’re going to use in the game. Praise and reward your dog for completing each trick.

Tug of War

You can play tug of war with your dog by using a toy that is ONLY for tug of war. Teach your dog the “drop it” command. Control the game so your dog knows to stop when you say the game is over. You can stop the game at any time by simply no longer tugging on the toy. Woven rope toys are popular for tug of war play, but do not leave your dog unattended with these toys, as the rope threads can be a choking hazard.

If you prefer a DIY option and your dog isn’t a crazy chewer, find some old t-shirts, cut them into strips. Braid the strips together and tie knots in both ends.


Ideally, you should make playing with your dog part of every day, especially now. It’s great exercise for your dog and a great way for the two of you to bond. Taking a walk is important, but nothing takes the place of play. Playing games together can also help you teach your dog some important lessons.

Remember to have fun when the two of you play. Don’t encourage bad behaviors and be consistent with your dog. Be sure that everyone in the family knows the rules for play so your dog isn’t confused.

You and your dog can have a wonderful time together, even during these trying times. Your dog can be happy and he can have the kind of exercise that makes him tired in a good way and you can have a good time, too.



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