Pets tips: easy games to teach dogs

Teaching and playing simple games with your animal like hiding and seek or fetch create a closer relationship between pet and owner.


Dogs have been regarded as man’s best friend for centuries. The role that most dogs enjoy the most is pleasing their masters. Whether your dog is just a puppy, or whether he is full-grown, he will still enjoy learning and playing new games with you. Teaching your dog a few simple games can lead to hours of enjoyment and a stronger bond between you both.

One of the most common games, of course, is the game of fetch. It usually isn’t that difficult to teach a dog to run after something you have thrown. It is more difficult, however, to teach them the concept of returning the object to you. Your best bet is to find an object that your pet really desires, wave it in front of him, and toss it a short distance away. Squat down and call him in an excited and pleased voice. If he doesn’t bring it back, however, don’t scold him. Wait till he comes to you either with or without the object. If he brings the object to you, praise him excessively and throw it again. If he doesn’t bring it to you, calmly pick up the object and keep trying. He’ll gets it eventually.

You can vary the game of fetch by throwing the object into the water. Use caution, however, when playing this game. You don’t want a puppy to swim out very far. He might become exhausted, and the risk of drowning could occur. Start throwing your object a short distance and gradually increase it based on your dog’s strength and endurance.

You can also hide favorite objects and encourage your dog to hunt for them. You might want to start out hiding a rawhide bone or a doggie treat. The scent of the bone or treat will encourage your dog to put his nose to the ground in search of the hidden treasure. Once he becomes more familiar with the game, show him an object, instruct him to stay, and hide the object. You might have to help him begin the hunt, but most dogs love to search for things.

Another game that some dogs love to play is hidden and seek. You will need someone else to help you with this one. Have someone hold your dog. Be sure and get his attention, then walk quickly or run to a hiding place. Have your friend release your dog. If he doesn’t immediately start searching for you, make a sound or call his name. Once he finds you, praise him, and start the hiding process again. Your dog will love to hunt for you.

Dogs often love challenges, and a good obstacle course can be just the thing to get your dog up and running. You can easily set up an obstacle course in your yard using buckets, tires, ropes, wooden sticks or logs, and anything else you might have on hand. Set the course up, leaving enough space for your dog to run a few yards between each obstacle. Place a leash on your dog, and encourage him to jog with you towards the obstacle. If he doesn’t jump the first time, don’t worry. Just keep repeating the course. When you have practiced it enough times that he seems to understand what to do, remove his leash, and run beside him, pointing at the obstacle. Eventually, he will learn the pattern and can follow the course with little direction from you.

These are just some of the many games that you can develop and teach your dog. Playing and spending time with your dog will lead to a happier and better-behaved animal.