If you have some outside space during the Coronavirus lockdown, getting outside with your dog to play games that will stimulate their minds and bodies could be just the thing, especially to offer some respite from being cooped up indoors all day. Here are some great games to play in the garden with your dog.
Make it more interesting by throwing it a little higher each time. A great game for fit, high-energy dogs to get their concentration and agility going. Start small by building his intrigue in the Frisbee, experiment with small throws or rolling it towards him to check he’s happy then build up to larger throws where he can catch the Frisbee in his mouth.
A good old game of fetch never fails. Not great for larger dogs though – as tennis balls can be a choking hazard. If you have a younger dog, who is still growing, you can roll it along the ground to avoid injury.
Hide and seek
Hide some tennis balls or outdoor toys around the garden. Make sure your dog can’t see you. Let him out to sniff them out. Reward him every time he finds a toy. Help him out with encouraging words like ‘good’ when he gets close. You can even teach him to ‘tidy up’ and bring toys back to you.
Scatter some dry food or treats on the ground or in the grass. The grass provides a great place for hiding treats.
With a little imagination, you can create an obstacle course in your garden. There are loads of things lying around the house that can be used to make tunnels and jumps, or things for your dog to clamber over or under.
A rope attached to a tree for your dog to pull on; a plank on the ground with a log under it makes a great seesaw; an old curtain draped over a frame makes a tunnel; or a blanket loosely pegged to the ground for your dog to crawl under to retrieve a toy or reach a treat.
Lay a ladder on the ground for you to lead your dog along it at a slow walk so he learns to pick his feet up over the rungs. By thinking about what his feet are doing, especially his back ones, he becomes more aware of his body, which provides mental stimulation.
Digging is another great doggy activity, which can be encouraged by providing a sand filled digging pit. Hide some dog treats, bones and/or toys in the sand for the dog to discover.
If you have paddling pool you usually use for the kids, why not let your dog have a go while it’s still too cool for the children to use it outside. Toss in some toys and let him have his own splashing fun time.
Playing with a hose and stream of water can double the fun. Some dogs just love to chase the stream of water flying out of the end of the hose. Other dogs don’t like to go anywhere near the hose so exercise caution.
This is a great game for the whole family to play, especially if you have quite a good sized garden. Ask every member to spread out (at least 20 feet from one another) then have every person call your dog’s name. Every time he comes, reward him with praise and treats.
You will need a laundry basket a your dog’s favourite ball. Show your dog that you want him to by saying “Drop” each time you drop the ball into the basket. Make sure he’s paying attention! Repeat several times. Pass the ball to your dog. Every time he drops the ball into the basket when you say “Drop,” make lots of fuss and give him a treat. Keep practising so that he learns the goal is to put the ball in the basket. Encourage him with treats every time he gets it right on the command “Drop”.
Remember to never let dogs play with sticks.