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18 Mar Cost effective games to play with your dog

When you picture having a dog, you usually imagine long walks in the countryside, the sun shining and your pup lovingly looking up at you as you explore the world together.

The reality is, for those of us in the UK at any rate, is that most of those walks take place when it is cold, raining, windy or all three! 

And as much as we love our dogs, and as much as we know they need daily exercise, sometimes it is much harder to get out and about with them than we expected. And while nothing can beat the merits of a good walk, if it really isn’t possible, we have a solution for you…play!

Did you know that play can contribute to your dog’s daily exercise goal?  Well it can, and this is why the PitPat dog activity monitor, measures it as a separate physical activity that is equally as important as running and walking.  So if you’re really stuck here is our pick of the perfect, and low cost, games to play with your dog indoors, to get those active minutes up to where they need to be.

Clean up

Let’s be honest, dogs, whatever their age, are capable of creating a lot of mess, and it’s never fun to step on a spiky dog toy in your bare feet!  Wouldn’t be great if your pup could learn to clean up after themselves?

The good news is, they can be taught!  First teach your dog to pick up a toy and put it in a basket, while giving the command “put it away” or “tidy up”. Then scatter a few toys and work on getting them to put toys into the basket multiple times.  Once this is mastered you can make it even harder by spreading toys out in different rooms! The ultimate challenge is to teach your dog the names of toys. You say the command “tidy up teddy” or “tidy up squeaky” and that is precisely the toy they select to tidy up… It is achievable, we promise!

Forage boxes

What dog doesn’t love treats? And making them work for them helps hone their doggy skills whilst being a really fun game too!

Fill a cardboard box with scrunched up newspaper and scatter treats in it. It sounds really simple, but your dog can’t tell the difference between an expensive branded toy and some cardboard. They’ll love the noise it makes and the achievement of finding the treats.

Scent trail

There is one thing dogs have that we don’t, an incredible sense of smell, and it’s the primary way that they make sense of the world around them.  So tap into their desire to explore and lay a scent trail all round the house for them to follow.

Just put your dog in a room while you lay the trail. Every few steps rub a toy or some food on the floor then hide it in another room. Release the hound and let them sniff it out!

Under, over and through

Who says that you can only get your dog engaged when you take them outside? Why not try mixing mental and physical exercises in your games?

Grab a kitchen chair or stool and teach them to crawl under and stay. Then get them to crawl all the way through, go around it and jump on it entirely. It will keep your dog’s brain engaged more than fetch but still works on balance and agility. Once they’ve mastered the commands, try stringing them together so they have to do a little sequence before getting rewarded.

Hide and seek

Hide and seek is not just for children – dogs love it too!

Make your dog sit and stay in a room or spot outside while you run off and hide somewhere. Call their name and watch as they frantically run around trying to find you, making sure to give them lots of praise when they do!  

So get out the cardboard, find some great hiding places and get creative!  And If you would like more insights into your dog’s world then download the free PitPat app and start tracking their exercise, play and progress today.

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