Your dog’s activities do not have to be limited to walks and a simple „run”. Even if you don’t have time to go outside or the weather doesn’t encourage it, you can still have an interesting time at home. We have put together 10 ideas for playing together with your dog at home. They do not require special toys or equipment. It all depends on your dog and your creativity.
1. Treat-finding game
The sense of smell is the dog’s best-developed sense and offers plenty of opportunities for playing together. You can hide treats in your hands or under a cup, or you can hide treats all over the house such as under a rug or blanket. Make a sniff toy out of a cardboard box or a bowl filled with pool balls. Hide the treat in a room where your dog is not present. Then invite him in there and as soon as he is close to finding the treat say 'search’ and let him eat it as soon as he finds it.
2. Agility exercises: tunnelling and jumping
If your dog is healthy and you have some space, you can set up a small obstacle course for him even at home. Use two chairs and a blanket to create a tunnel and encourage your dog, for example with a treat or a toy, to go through it. If your dog can manage, the tunnel can be made longer by adding more chairs. If the floor is not slippery, you can also practise jumping over a leg or objects, and sizing them up to suit your dog’s ability and condition.
3. Hide and seek
A second person’s help is useful in this game. Guide your dog while you hide. Beforehand, focus your dog’s attention on you, stroke him, and make eye contact. Your helper can stay with the dog in one room and, after a set time, allow the dog to look for you. He or she should allow the dog to move freely to find you on its own.
4. String pulling
This game can be a lot of fun under certain conditions. Remember not to overload your puppy with it. Your dog should also know that it is a game and distinguish that it is only a toy for pulling. It is a good idea to teach him the command „give it back” or „let go” beforehand. A string or other sturdy toy can be used for pulling. It is best if you initiate the game and finish it, especially if your dog inadvertently snags you with his teeth.
5. Learning the names of toys
The famous border collie dog was able to recognise as many as 800 toys. Your dog can also learn to recognise toys, even if there are far fewer of them. Start by playing with your chosen toy, give it a name and repeat it often until your dog associates it with it. Then teach him to fetch it from a group of other toys.
6. Cleaning up toys
If your dog can already recognise toys by their names, you can teach him to bring them to the box. Teach him to grab a particular toy („take”), bring it and let it go over the box („let go”). You can also teach your dog to clean his socks in the drawer in this way.
The fetch can be any toy, as well as a towel or even a sock. You can teach your dog to fetch in small steps – first teach him to grab the object, then to give it back to you, and finally to fetch it from a greater distance. This is great fun and you can also combine it with learning the names of the different objects.
8. Chase the dog
This game involves running away from the dog and rewarding it when it catches up with you. It can also be part of learning to recall the dog (if the dog ignores your recall, it is better to run away than to chase it). Sometimes you can get down to floor level when doing this – your dog will be delighted!
9. Playing with a cardboard box and a plastic bottle
Such objects will provide many a dog with long moments of fun! Dogs love to „rip” the bottle (empty or filled with water), fetch it, chew on it, wrestle with it and unscrew the cap. On the other hand, you can hide treats in a cardboard box among the paper clippings and encourage your dog to find them. An empty cardboard box also gives you almost endless opportunities to practise tricks such as 'climb’, 'hop’ and 'go around/revise’.
10. New tricks and command repetition
Any opportunity is good to consolidate a command or learn a new trick. You can also do this by playing with your dog. By playing with a ball you can consolidate commands such as „stay”, „stop” and „to me”. In doing so, you can gradually increase the distractions by pretending to throw the ball without giving a release command („run”, „ok”). It can also be fun to learn new commands and tricks – here you are only limited by your creativity 🙂 .