Backyard games are a great source of activity for high-energy dogs, those who are watching their weight, and just about any pup who loves to play. They can also provide your pooch with a few behaviors that will impress your friends — especially the nosy neighbors who are always looking over your fence. Here are five backyard games for dogs to make the most of those hot dog days of summer!
Throw a Pet BBQ
Have some friends that have four-legged best friends too? Throw a puppy party in your backyard and enjoy the nice weather with them. Pick a theme, get some dog treats and prepare to celebrate the summer.
Agility is an athletic and competitive dog sport that requires a dog to navigate an obstacle course. You don’t have to enroll your dogs in classes or compete to have fun with it. Inexpensive backyard agility equipment is available online, or you can even make your own. Choose the agility equipment that would best suit your dog: jumps, tunnels, weave poles, tire jumps, chutes, or teeter-totters.
Jumps are a great place to start, since it’s easy to teach a dog to comply using treats and positive reinforcement. Start with the jump pole on the ground, and have your dog walk over it. Once he’s good at that, raise the jump just a few inches, and continue raising the jump as your dog becomes familiar with the game.
Red light, green light
Do you remember playing red light, green light in the pool or in the yard? Why not play this game with your dog? The twist is that you put obedience training into this by telling them to sit – stay- come (or heel) and at the end reward them.
Playing is just as important as going for their daily walk. Playing games with your dog doesn’t only bring joy to your dog but also puts a smile on your face. After a long day at work or school, it’s a wonderful way of letting go of anything negative that happened or any tension your dog built up.
Name that toy
If you’re looking for a fun game that’s going to exercise your dog’s mind as much as his/her body, ‘name that toy’ is perfect for you and your pooch. First, you’ll begin this activity with a game of fetch. Say the name of one of your dog’s toys (“ball”, for example) and then throw it for him to fetch. After a few throws, switch to another toy and say its name (“teddy”) as you throw it. Once your dog has had some practice, place both toys on the ground and ask him to fetch “ball” or “teddy”. If he brings the correct toy, shower him with praise and give him a small treat. After more times playing this game, your dog will be able to bring the correct toy without you needing to throw and name it first.
Staying cool in the puppy pool
A shallow plastic pool can mean hours of backyard fun during the summer months, when your dog may want to cool off with a dip. Toss apple slices, baby carrots, or your dog’s favorite treat into the pool for a kind of “bobbing for treats” game. This is a great way to persuade skeptical pups to get their feet wet. You can also fill the pool with floating toys and balls.
Backyard safety tips
- Only play with an unleashed dog in a fully fenced backyard to avoid losing him to something more interesting, like a squirrel or another dog.
- Always supervise any backyard game, especially if toys or water are involved.
- Refrain from playing “chase” as a backyard game. This teaches your dog to run away from you rather than come to you.