13 Fun Games To Play With Your Dog That They Will Love

(Photo: Tara Moore/Getty Images)

Here are 13 games to play with your dog. My dog loves them, and I know your furry friend will too.

I spent some time on social media speaking to fellow dog owners about their favourite games to play with their dogs. I received some fascinating suggestions.

I have to say that I wasn’t satisfied with many of the games I found online. Many of them failed to consider the whole play “WITH” your dog aspect. In this article, I want to fix that.

Keep on reading to find out about the fun games you can play with your dog and also what benefits they have.

1. Tug of War

When it comes to entertaining your dog, tug of war is always a popular choice, as I’m sure many dog owners can attest. Tug of war teaches your dog to control its impulses while increasing its confidence around you and other people.

If you’re looking for a way to tire out your dog, tug of war should do the trick. It’s an excellent way to get your dog to burn off excess energy. Tug of war will also provide much-needed mental and physical stimulation for your dog.

Many dog owners believe that tug of war causes their dog to become aggressive. If this is the case, you may not be playing the game correctly. If your dog already exhibits aggressive behaviour, tug of war is not a game you want to play with your dog. Finally, allowing your dog to win will not make them dominating. Winning will instead make them even more eager to play since, let’s face it, games are usually more enjoyable when you win.

two border collie dogs playing tug of war with a pink toy on green grass
Remember to just hold the rope and not to pull (Photo: Oszkár Dániel Gáti/stock.adobe.com)

2. Playing Frisbee with Your Dog

Dogs always seem to enjoy round objects, especially balls and frisbees. However, unlike balls, frisbees require much more skill and elegance to handle. Playing frisbee with your dog often means that they run long distances, providing them with the essential exercise.

As you know, chasing and catching are natural behaviours to many dogs. Because of such tendencies, your dog will find frisbee an enjoyable and intuitive game to play. Games that your dog enjoys will stimulate them and make them more inclined to participate. Unfortunately, some dogs aren’t as athletic or energetic as others, so it’s always a good idea to start slow when playing frisbee.

Initially, try using a soft frisbee. This is generally best for dogs who are not athletic. Begin by throwing or rolling the frisbee over small distances to get your dog excited and active. When they are comfortable, you can begin tossing it higher and farther.

A  young dog owner holding out a yellow frisbee to her dog about to toss it into the park.
Play frisbee in an isolated and open area (Photo: Ozello/ stock.adobe.com )

3. Teach Your Dog to Chase Bubbles

Bubble chasing can be an exciting activity for your dog. It’s a fantastic way to persuade your dog into going outdoors. It’s also convenient because it allows you to put in minimal effort while the bubbles keep your dog busy and occupied for a long time.

When you initially introduce your dog to the bubble chasing game, they may be sceptical. As a result, consider enlisting the help of your children, and your dog will hopefully pick up on the game faster. Ideally, your dog should soon join in and realize how much fun chasing bubbles is.

Make sure you get the right kind of bubbles for your dog. The bubbles must be “non-toxic.” Bubbles can also have scents and flavours such as bacon or roasted chicken. By purchasing flavoured bubbles, your dog will not only enjoy the thrill of bubble chasing but will also receive a tasty treat.

Ginger corgi dog puppy is chasing lots of bubbles through the green beautiful grass
Gogs love to play with lots of bubbles (Photo: nataba/ stock.adobe.com )

4. Tag

There is a lot of running around when playing tag. Running is a terrific way for your dog to get some exercise and stay healthy. It is also an excellent game for getting your dog to expend any excess energy they may have.

Tag is most pleasant, in my opinion when other individuals are also participating. At first, I just let my dog chase me around the garden, but I quickly realized it’s better to play it in a more controlled environment.

To accomplish this, you and everyone else playing should stand in separate areas of the garden and use a recall to encourage your dog to run towards you. Don’t forget to reward your dog when they reach you, so they don’t become bored with the game.

5. A Game of Fetch

This game needs no introduction.

Fetch can be a fun game to play with your dog as it encourages them to use their physicality and instincts to locate and retrieve objects. Most dogs are already adept at finding and retrieving objects, so your dog should have no difficulty learning to get used to fetch if they aren’t already.

That being said, don’t be too disheartened if fetch isn’t your dog’s speciality. The idea of chasing a ball is not appealing to all dogs.

A miniature golden doodle chasing after a green tennis ball in the park
(Photo: Kathy Images/ stock.adobe.com )

6. Play The Which Hand Game

The which hand game puts your dog’s sense of smell to the test.

How the game is played:

  1. Get down on your knees and encourage your dog into a sit-stay position.
  2. Hold out both of your clenched fists; one should be holding a treat.
  3. Encourage your dog to choose a fist. If your dog selects the hand with the treat, give it to your dog. However, if your dog is wrong, play the game again.

Begin the game by making it simple for your dog. Ensure you have treats in both hands; so your dog understands how to play. Having treats in both hands will also help build up the initial excitement, and once your dog has figured it out, you can continue with a treat in just one hand.

7. Hide & Seek

Hide and seek is a fantastic brain stimulation game for your dog that is also beneficial to you as an owner as it encourages positive training. Hide and seek helps your dog be active while keeping him out of trouble. It also helps them channel their impulses and build confidence.

To begin, make sure that your dog is in a stay position. You might need some assistance holding your dog back while you go and hide. You can call your dog out to look for you once you’ve found your hiding place. Don’t forget to praise them if they manage to locate you.

A woman playing hide and seek with her little puppy in the park
(Photo: TeamDaf/ stock.adobe.com)

8. Stairway Fetch

You’ve most likely never heard of stairway fetch. Regardless, if you have a staircase in your home, your dog will certainly enjoy it.

It’s similar to fetch in that your dog will need to run a lot, but instead of running in an open space, your dog will need to run up and down the stairs. A few minutes of this game will ensure that your dog expends any remaining energy and that the rest of the night is peaceful.

To play this game, throw a ball or toy down the stairs and encourage your dog to fetch it and bring it back to you. Going up and down the stairs is a demanding activity for your dog, so encourage them to take their time when playing this game. If your dog has joint problems, I recommend that you play other games with them.

A beagle and a german spitz running down the stairs
Be very careful when playing this game with your dogs (Photo: Przemyslaw Iciak/ stock.adobe.com)

9. Flirt Pole

Flirt pole, what is that?

A flirt pole, sometimes known as a flirt stick, is a piece of training equipment used to entice dogs to chase a fast-moving lure. If you do additional research, you will discover that the purpose of a flirt pole is to prepare dogs for competitions; however, you can also use it as a recreational activity.

The way it works is that you hold the pole and move the rope by using varied motions. The goal is to move the stick so that your dog cannot easily catch the bait. During this activity, you put your dog’s ability to control its impulses to the test.

The benefit of using a flirt pole is that you can tire your dog out without tiring yourself out first. Start at a low level and progressively increase the difficulty as your dog becomes more comfortable with the game.

Staffordshire bull terrier dog running to catch the rope lure at the end of the elastic rope attached to a flirt pole
Playing this for a couple of minutes will really tire them out (Photo: Christine Bird/ stock.adobe.com)

10. Play Some Water Games

Summer heat can be too much for your dog at times, so it’s always a good thing if they can come up with ways to cool down.

Playing water games is one of the best ways to do this. Water games keep your dog occupied while also keeping him cool. Swimming is one of the first things that springs to mind. If the beach is nearby, you could go there, but if large crowds frighten your dog, you could get them their own tiny pool or even turn on the sprinklers. Bobbing for sweets is another game you might play. We all know how much dogs love their treats.

Think outside the box to combine your dog’s favourite pastimes with the cool water to make the summertime more enjoyable for them.

A Loyal golden retriever playing water games with a family of a mother, daughter, son and father
(Photo: Gorodenkoff/ stock.adobe.com)

11. The Name Game

The name game is a great way to put your dog’s memory to the test.

To begin playing, give your dog’s favourite toy a name. Place the toy somewhere on the floor, and then ask your dog to get it using the specified name. This process should be repeated several times. By doing this, your dog will begin to identify the toy with that specified name. You can then take it further by arranging the toy among other toys and random objects.

Did they bring back the correct toy? If they did, repeat the process with a different toy. Now, arrange both toys with other objects. Can they figure out which one is which? Once your dog has mastered one toy, move on to the next.

Dogs can learn up to 250 words every day, so try to test their memory as long as they’re interested.

12. Go-Wild, Sit!

With your dog on a leash, try to get them as excited as possible. Run around, bounce up and down, and wave your arms in the air like you don’t care.

Encourage your dog to join you amid the excitement, and then, unexpectedly, give your dog the command to sit and stay. Because Go-Wild, Sit! is such a strange game to play, it will take some practice before your dog can participate confidently. But don’t be concerned. After a few tries, your dog should be adept at the game and have much better impulse control.

13. Agility

Agility obstacle courses are a fantastic way for your dog to get some exercise while also stimulating their mind. Agility also helps deepen your bond because it requires a great deal of communication between you and your dog.

Agility courses challenge your dog to jump over, through, and under obstacles. You could buy an expensive course, but why not create your own? You can build a simple one from everyday materials found around the house to make a course that your dog will undoubtedly enjoy.

Dog in an agility competition jumping over an obstacle course in a park
(Photo: ecummings00/ stock.adobe.com)

So What Now?

What are some of your favourite games to play with your dog? Go ahead and read our article on excellent mental stimulation games for your dog.

Further Reading