Games to play with your pup

Whilst most of us get those daily walks in with our pooch, there are some days when the weather may just cut it short, or life just got in the way. Thankfully, brain games are a great tool for keeping our dogs occupied.

John Woods · February 12, 2019

4 Fun Brain Games to Play with Your Pooch 

By John Woods 

Whilst most of us get those daily walks in with our pooch, there are some days when the weather may just cut it short, or life just got in the way. Thankfully, brain games are a great tool for keeping our dogs occupied! Not only that, but, brain games are a great way to reduce stress and ward of cognitive decline! So, John Has shared with his favorite four fun and fast games to play with your pooch:

Let's Play a Treasure Hunt

Perfect for the family dog with a high search and retrieve instinct, you can play this game inside the house or the yard! Before you start playing: 
Before you start playing:
  • Collect Fido's favorite toys from around the house
  • Then hide various toys around the home, or garden, and place a high value treat on the toy (e.g. Liver Sprinkles)
  • Start the game!
  • Start by allowing Fido to sniff a high value treat
  • Then throw the treat in the direction of a hidden toy
  • Entice him in the right direction to seek out the hidden treasure (toys)
  • When he finds the toy, praise and label the behavior "find!"
Repeat. The more you repeat, the more he learns what he needs to do and he will enjoy playing whilst he gets some praise and food!

Name Your Toy

Before you start the game, find two or three of your dog's favorite toys. To find out which are his favorite toys, line them all up alongside each other and see which one he takes first. 

Start Playing:
  • Take just one toy
  • Encourage Fido to pick it up and label the toy "ball" for example.
  • Repeat this every time he goes to that toy.
  • Once he has mastered ball add another toy into the mix
  • Still ask for, "ball!"
  • Every time he picks up the right toy, reward him with a tasty antler chew
Separately label individual toys in the same manner. Eventually, Fido will be able to retrieve the right toy on command - the perfect party trick.

Nose Touch

  • A game for the more sensitive dog.
  • Start with a treat in a closed hand; offer this hand to your pooch.
  • As soon as his nose touches your hand, release the treat and say, "touch!"
  • Repeat this behavior a few more times.
  • Now try it with an empty hand by use the "touch" command.
  • Your dog should move to touch your hand; as he does, praise and label the behavior and release a treat from your other hand.
  • If he tries to touch your hand without you asking, ignore him...he just wants a treat! You want him to "touch" on command.

Water Bobbing

Our final dog game is certainly not one to play indoors!
This game is perfect for warmer weather.
Collect Some Supplies
  • A children's wading pool or shallow trough.
  • Floatable dog toys
Many dogs love the water, but some may be more resistant. Don't force Fido to go into the water, if they he doesn't want to play, use a different game! 

Start Water Bobbing: 
  • Find a sinkable treat and throw into the shallow pool of water.
  • This should encourage Fido to retrieve in the water.
  • You may throw in toys, or other sinkable treats - think of it like apple bobbing for dogs!

This game is particularly good for those dogs that are limited on their exercise in hot water. 

Brain games are a great tool for strengthening the bond between human and dog. They encourage creative thinking and are a brilliant resource for stressed, bored or housebound pooches. We hope these four ideas have given you a good starting point and as always, you know your pooch best, only ask of him what you think is safe and is capable of doing. 

Raw Food Tip:

"The amount of garlic in our diet is just enough to be beneficial for both dogs and cats. Garlic is a great ingredient. It is a natural antibiotic and aids digestion. Garlic is rich in vitamins, proteins and trace minerals. It performs as an excellent antibacterial agent and antioxidant. It can also boost liver function; prevent heart disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases. It has a great history with its uses with pets and we include it in the diet in quantities that will not harm your pet." 

- Robert Mueller Sr. 


John Woods

Article by John Woods, dog-parent and founder of All Things Dogs; a digital dog magazine looking to teach over 50,000,000 dog-parents how to train and care for their dog.


Add Comment

What is BARF?

"BARF®" is our acronym that means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It is a complete and carefully balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables and bone. Our formula mimics what nature has designed our pet's to thrive on in the wild. The result is a pet free of allergies, digestive problems, and full of life!