Dogs just want to have fun. Your dog is always ready to play and can make a game out of anything. Whether you bring your pal along on your favorite outing or design a game just for her, she'll be ready to romp. All you have to do is say, "Fetch!"
Beyond The Walk
Your pup quivers with excitement at the first sign of her leash and you need some exercise. Instead of taking her for a walk, train her to accompany you on a bike ride. Introduce her to a bicycle by storing it near her crate. After a few days, sit on the bike while holding her leash. Next, walk the bike, moving it forward while still holding the leash. Lengthen the leash and slowly ride the bike a short distance while holding her leash. Practice, be patient and reward your pup when she runs alongside you.
Treats are always welcome, but a toy that contains a treat is double the fun. Treat toys, often made of hard rubber, are available at most pet shops and are relatively inexpensive. You simply place a dog bone, peanut butter or other treat in a hole in the toy and your pooch will quickly learn to use her paws, mouth and smarts to extract the treat from the puzzle. Watch in delight as your pet scrambles to find the best way to get the goodies.
Hide and Seek
This game creates a scavenger hunt that encourages your pup to use her sense of smell. While your pup is out of the room, hide her favorite toys or treats. Make it easy the first time you play by placing the treats in an obvious spot. Once they are hidden, let her in the room and say "Where is it?" or "Get it!" Help her the first few times you play and hide the treats in more challenging locations as she gets better at the game.
This game is so challenging that not all dogs can master it, according to "Modern Dog" magazine, but it offers healthy stimulation for your pup's brain. Sit your dog so she can watch as you take three plastic cups and hide a piece of kibble under one of them. Give her a command, such as "get it," and watch as she uses her snout to find the kibble. Reward her with a treat if she guesses correctly. Increase the challenge by making the kibble more difficult to find. Press kibble crumbs onto your fingers and run your fingers along the rim of all three cups. Now the smell of the kibble is everywhere and her nose will only confuse her. Your pooch needs visual skills to determine where you hid the kibble.
Based in Los Angeles, Mary Helen Berg has been writing about pets, travel, families and parenting since 1989. Her work has appeared in publications such as "The Los Angeles Times" and "Newsweek." Berg holds a Master of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.