by Don Raddell
(New York City, USA)
Playing games with your dog serves many purposes. It’s a good way for both you and your dog to get your exercise, and like all exercise, helps you tone muscle, lose weight, and blow off steam.
Plus, playing games with your dog allows you to spend time together and bond, and it’s just plain fun.
Some of these games your dog will pick up fairly quickly, and others might mean you have to spend some time getting him to understand the rules. He’ll appreciate the time you spend with him either way.
This may be the first game you think of to play with your dog, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. The fetching object doesn’t need to be a ball every time; vary it with a Frisbee or a rubber toy that bounces every which way. Just make sure it’s not so small it presents a choking hazard.
Duck, Duck, Goose:
It may be a children’s game but dogs can learn to play it too. Give your dog his favorite toy and tell him to lay down and wait. Start walking around him in a big circle saying “duck, duck” as many times as you want, and then yell “goose!” and chase him until he lays down again. He’ll figure this one out pretty quickly.
This can be something you’ve put together yourself or some deluxe model out of a catalog. The important thing is to make it challenging enough for your dog without putting him in danger. You might spend several hours teaching him what you’d like him to do but once he understands, there’s no stopping him.
Of course you need a lake and a dock for this one, but this activity makes for a great time. There are actual competitions involving how far the dogs can jump before hitting the water, although that’s not what you’re about. You’re both going to run a few steps and jump in. Your pet will love that you’re doing it with him.
Hide and Seek:
Have your dog sit and wait in another room with the door open. Then go hide and call your dog. He’ll love this game, especially when he’s rewarded with congratulatory hugs.
A variation of this is Find the Treat. Again, put him in another room and hide small treats in several different rooms. Make them increasingly harder to find if he’s got a good nose for scents.
Playing games with your dog gives you two a very special bond; and you get to do something healthy for both of you to boot.
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