3 Games You Can Play to Keep Your Dog Engaged

By on May 11, 2023 in Dogs with 0 Comments

Keeping your dog engaged can be difficult at times.  But it is important for several reasons.  Here are a few key benefits:

Mental Stimulation

Dogs, like humans, need mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Engaging your dog in various activities such as puzzles, training exercises, and interactive toys helps keep their minds active and prevents boredom. This mental stimulation can prevent behavioral issues that may arise from a lack of mental engagement.

Physical Exercise

Many dogs have a lot of energy that needs to be expended through physical exercise. Regular engagement in activities such as walks, runs, playing fetch, or participating in dog sports helps keep your dog physically fit and prevents obesity. A tired dog is generally a well-behaved dog, as they are less likely to engage in destructive or attention-seeking behaviors.

Bonding and Socialization

Engaging with your dog through interactive play and training strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend. It creates opportunities for positive reinforcement, communication, and trust-building. Additionally, socialization with other dogs and people during activities like dog park visits or obedience classes can improve your dog’s social skills and overall behavior.

Preventing Destructive Behavior

Dogs that are bored or not engaged may resort to undesirable behaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing furniture, digging, or trying to escape. By providing them with appropriate outlets for their energy and mental stimulation, you can redirect their focus and discourage destructive behaviors.

Emotional Well-being

Dogs are social animals and thrive on companionship and attention from their human family members. Keeping them engaged and providing them with regular interaction helps prevent feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. A happy and engaged dog is more likely to exhibit positive behaviors and overall emotional well-being.

dog engaged

3 Simple games to keep your dog engaged

The food game

How it works –  Get – Get it – (Food toss ) Game

Toss food left, Get it, Toss food right – Get it – Toss food left – Get it – Toss Food right – Get it – repeat the sequence a couple of times

Start with a short toss at first, get the dog’s attention, and be sure they see you toss the treat.
When they get the first treat, wait until they turn back to look at you and then toss the next treat in the opposite direction – And so forth

You can also do a target version ( use a small dish, lid, or paper plate to place the treat). Once the dog knows the game, then the targets can be used to help the dog confidently go to new places. The targets can be used to encourage a shy dog to walk down a hall. Explore a room, or go close to strangers. Just practice a series of targets in a trail – Get it GET it.

Chase me

A love of running and chasing is hard-wired into dogs. It is a big part of play between dogs, they consider it a very cool game. Dogs will consider it super-cool that you know the game, too!
One absolute rule; it’s a one-way-only game.

TIP: The dog should chase you and not the other way around (don’t encourage the dog to run from you).

How it works – To play the game, run away from the dog – make some noise, Clapping and giggling are good.

This should encourage them to run towards you.
When they are only a few feet away, Toss a treat behind you (even through your legs) so they keep running in your direction. Then turn and run the other way.
You have to run 5 or 10 feet to play!

This teaches the dog; running to you is fun! this is a great foundation for a fun and reliable recall. Consider interspersing chase games and obedience commands for a fun session!

Know when to stop

If chase leads to nipping, mouthing, and or/ over exuberant jumping. Then the game stops.  This game is not recommended for young kids to play for this reason.

Play catch

Some dogs don’t try to catch at first – but as the treats fly gently in their faces.  They will try!

Enjoy watching those motor skills improve! Coordination may take time, but they will develop the skill.

Catching is fun and often quite amusing for all involved. It is great for old dogs, young dogs, confined dogs, shy dogs, bold dogs, busy dogs, and bored dogs – and it is so very easy to play !

Remember that different dogs have varying energy levels and preferences, so it’s essential to find activities that suit your dog’s individual needs. Regular engagement, combined with a balanced diet, proper training, and veterinary care, contributes to a happy and healthy life for your furry companion.

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