games for your dog

Five Games That Will Delight Your Dog

Summer is a wonderful time to spend outdoors with your dog. Here’s your chance to reclaim the outdoors. Get your dog and go out to your yard or the park for some fun. To help you along, we’ve compiled some activities and tips on how to make them more enjoyable.


This time-honored game requires nothing but a lightweight ball of relatively soft material (if it is too hard, the ball could damage your dog’s teeth) and a willing dog. Make sure the ball isn’t too small, otherwise he could accidentally swallow it while leaping. (Depending on the size of the dog, even a tennis ball could be too small.)
The object is of course to have your dog bring the ball back to you. That isn’t always the case; sometimes the dog trains the owner to run after the ball. Unless you don’t mind running at your dog’s whim, here are a few suggestions:


What would you rather do, watch overpaid athletes strut around a basketball court or play hoops with your dog? Teaching him how isn’t difficult, and he’ll be grateful for the chance.


If there’s a body of water nearby, your dog may want to go for a dip (only allow this if it’s safe AND permitted). Most dogs take to the water like ducks, but if he’s new to swimming, you’ll want to make sure he can swim. Never just throw him into the water, and always supervise his water activities.

Hula Hoop

Begin by holding a hula hoop (still available at most toy stores, believe it or not!) upright, but on the floor. Lead your dog through the hoop, then reward him with praise or a treat (or both). Repeat several times.


Dogs like playing tug-of-war, but it is important not to let the game get out of hand. Because dogs are, by instinct, hunters, the game reminds them of catching prey. For that reason, stop playing when the game starts to appear too serious. If your dog starts to take winning seriously, it’s time to play a less competitive game. And don’t ever show off your dog’s grip by picking him up with the rope in his teeth.

You should also be careful in choosing the material you should use. Don’t use your socks or other clothing, even if your dog is still a puppy. He’ll associate your clothing with the game and you may wind up with lots of holes in your socks. The material shouldn’t shred easily, either, because your dog could swallow pieces. Your best bet is to pick a rope that has been specifically designed as a dog toy.

The Benefits of Playing With Your Dog

Playing with your dog not only keeps him happy and healthy; it forges a special bond between you and your pet. To learn more about the benefits of play, see the story Why it’s Important for Dogs to Play.

For more ideas…from our dog lovers, please read MORE Games That Delight Dogs.