New Ways to Play – Increase Your Dog’s Ability, Confidence and Happiness

Games are a fun and easy way to bond with your dog. Of course we all know about tug, retrieve and playing catch. Here are a few unique ideas that don’t require much time or money.

Hide and Go Seek

A versatile game that can be played either indoors or out is Hide and Go Seek. The “thing” being hidden from your dog could be yourself, a favourite treat or a toy. Have someone hold your dog or put them in a “Stay” position somewhere out of sight of the hidden object, then release them to “Find it.” Start out easy and offer help so they begin to get excited about the game and quickly attain success.


In the game of Chase, you encourage your dog to follow as you run fast or slow or deke them out. In this lively game, it’s important to ensure your dog is always chasing you. You don’t want to get in the habit of chasing your dog, as this could become a hindrance when you want your dog to “Come” when called. Chase also increases your dog’s interest in being near you and following you.


Not everyone can take their dog to an agility course, but Obstacles can be played in almost any park. Lead your dog as you weave or circle around trees, signs, benches or other objects you find. Encourage jumping on and off of rocks, logs and benches. By navigating a series of mixed and matched objects, you create your own obstacle course. Changing your pace will keep it interesting. Be fair and let your pet know what you’re doing next, so as to not catch them off guard. This will help them to stay safe and focused on you.

To keep your dog motivated in any of these games, it is important that they feel like they can succeed. Every dog is an individual with different abilities. Make it easy for them at first and then gradually increase the difficulty level as they understand the game and get better at playing it. They should always have an opportunity to win and you can celebrate their success with them.

By CALEY MORRIS. Caley is the owner of Metro DogStop, providing dog daycare, walking, grooming and boarding services in Toronto since 1995.

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