It’s that time of the year where the kids and the dogs want to be outside. And let’s be honest, we want them outside! Here are five fun outdoor dog games to play with your furry friend.
Mr Magoo is in constant need of entertainment and Miss Millie just doesn’t cut it. Mostly because she won’t always play with him. I have been getting creative and coming up with things a puppy can do. Awesome byproduct Miss Millie seems to think they are pretty awesome too! Check out these outdoor dog games that will keep your dog entertained!
Most dogs love to play fetch. Millie is an exception, she’s picky about the fetch game. Mr Magoo seems to think the game is pretty fun for the most part. For Mr Magoo I normally throw a tennis ball. And for Miss Millie she wants her bumper which is a canvas dummy.
I decided to mix it up. A couple of weeks ago I learned the game Pickleball. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a cross between tennis and badminton. It is played with a paddle similar to a ping pong paddle but most of them are thicker. You use a ball which looks like a whiffle ball but it is slightly larger.
I’ve been practicing hitting the pickleball and Mr Magoo and Miss Millie are having a blast retrieving it! My yard isn’t very large so using a tennis racket and tennis ball would be too much. You can pick up a pickleball racket and balls for about $20.
If you have a whiffle ball and a lightweight bat in the house you could get the same effect.
Bob for Treats
You’ve heard of bobbing for apples at Halloween? This is the dog version. Added bonus for a Portuguese Water Dog it helps train the underwater retrieve exercise. To learn more about water training check out this article.
You will need:
Treats that sink. I use hot dogs cut into large chunks to start with. You could use anything, including apple or carrot slices.
Plastic Pool or Tub. You want it deep enough that your pup will eventually have to stick their head under to get the treat. But shallow enough to start that they won’t use their paws to knock it over. For Mr Magoo I’m using a plastic sweater box to help contain the exercise and eliminate the use of his paws.
Start with enough water to cover the treat. Drop a couple of treats and have your dog “get it.”
Then add a bit more water, drop a few treat and have your dog “get it.” Continue this until they have to submerge part of their face. For the Portuguese Water Dog, they must retrieve underwater so that the water reaches their eyebrows. This is a good goal for any dog!
Hide and Seek
Mr Magoo isn’t super good at this game yet but most of that is his age. Miss Millie however LOVES this game. You can use treats or toys or a combination of both. If you use treats make sure you collect them all so you don’t have insects or other creatures venturing into your yard.
As with Bob for Treats you want to start so the dog can be successful. Place the treat or toy just out of their direct line of sight. If you play the game indoors you might be able to start a little more advanced, behind a pot or chair that is close by.
This is a great opportunity to work on obedience commands. When you are hiding the object, you can work on a stay. You have the opportunity to add some distractions, like using your phone for music or environmental noises, but in a controlled area. Mastering commands in and around your home makes them more reliable when you are out and about. If you aren’t sure how to teach the commands you can pick up some ideas in this post.
This is Miss Millie and Mr Magoo’s favorite game. Not surprising since they are Portuguese Water Dogs. This game is great because you can be getting work done around the yard and entertaining your dogs. To play this game you will use a garden hose with a spray nozzle attached.
I use the “Jet” setting when we are playing. I’ll spray the hose a foot or so from them to get them engaging with the water. As they come closer I’ll shut it off. And spray it again in a different direction. Occasionally, I’ll let them win and get a drink of water or get themselves wet.
Mr Magoo can play this game FOREVER! Miss Millie tires of it more quickly now but she has been playing it for seven years. If you don’t have a garden hose you can use a toy water gun. You’ll need to be able to refill though if you want to play for a longer period of time.
Having an obstacle course in the backyard is fun for kids and dogs alike. However, you don’t have to break the bank setting one up. You don’t need much but you will need to show your dog how to use it safely. Do not leave the equipment out if you aren’t able to be present.
I suggest using jumps and tunnels. These are the easiest obstacles to teach a dog. Plus, they are relatively inexpensive to pick up.
To teach jumping I use the command “over.” Place the bar on the ground and have the dog go through the upright. You can toss a treat or a toy to get them moving in the correct direction. Once they grasp that then raise the bar up off the ground. Don’t raise the bar over the dog’s shoulders. Even if they can jump higher you don’t want to risk injury.
My only caution with a tunnel is to make sure it is secured to the ground. Either using sandbag weights or pins into the ground. You don’t want to make the tunnel curve until the dog understands it straight. If you have a puppy do not encourage any wrapping or curving of the body. It can cause long term problems.
I hope your dog likes these games as much as Miss Millie and Mr Magoo do. What are some of the outdoor dog games you like to play?
If you are looking for other ideas to combat boredom, check out this article
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