Enriching your Dog's Life With Games
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Enrichment is a great form of mental stimulation. If your dog is not stimulated enough they may try to stimulate themselves by getting in to things they shouldn't. Below are some great games you can play with your dog.
Hide and Go Seek Version #1
Then call your dog. Your dog will search for you.
When your dog finds you reward them.
Hide and Go Seek Version #2
Put your dog in a sit/down stay while you hide a treat or favorite toy somewhere obvious, even letting him watch you hide it.
Then give him the release cue (such as ok, free, release) to go find the toy.
Reward your dog when toy or treat is found.
Once your dog understands the game, hide the treat or toy in another room, or someplace where other scents mask the treat or toy, like the bottom of the laundry bin or under the food dish.
You can also make the game really hard by using cardboard boxes. Set up 10-20 cardboard boxes or plastic containers of different sizes and, without your dog seeing, place the reward in only one box. Let your dog investigate all of them and provide the reward or a jackpot treat when he selects the correct box.
There are so many variations of this game that it will have the two of you playing different versions for years to come.
Take two plastic cups and turn them over.
With your dog watching, place a treat under a cup.
Give your dog the cue to come turn over the cup and get the treat.
When your dog understands the game, alternate which cup you place the treat under.
When your dog selects the correct cup, let him have the treat. If he doesn't select the correct cup (and that will happen, even when he sees you placing the treat under the cup), show him the treat under the correct cup but don't let him have it. Keep him watching which cup you place the treat under so he can guess the right cup.
To advance this, place a treat under the left cup, then slide the cups to switch places, so that the cup with the treat is now on your right.
Release your dog to find the treat.
If your dog selects the correct cup, give him the treat. If your dog doesn't select the correct cup, show him the treat but don't let him have it. Keep repeating this and see if your dog can figure out the trick.
But if your dog does, bump up the challenge even more by swapping sides randomly.
Which Hand Game
Simply take a piece of dog treat and place it in one of your hands.
Hold both of your hands out towards your dog in a fist and have them pick which hand it is in.
Reward your dog with their findings.
Teach New Tricks
Such as paw, touch/target, spin, circle, give names to your dog’s toys, etc.
Kathlyn Lawrence of All Jazzed Up Pet Services LLC is a Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) with years of experience training dogs and working with animals. For more information on our Pet Services please visit our website.