Fun in the Sun! 8 Summertime Games to Play with your Dog
With The 4th of July just around the corner, summertime is in full swing! For many, summer means more time off, beach trips, and fun in the sun. Which is why we love it! And for most of those reasons, that’s why your dog loves summer, too! Because with more time off and better weather, that means there can be summertime games to play with your dog.
Just like you, your dog will be the healthiest with regular, daily exercise. Taking your dog for a routine walk (in any weather!) is extremely important for maintaining a healthy weight, managing their stress levels, expending excess (sometimes destructive) energy outside the home, and relieving themselves. Along with your dog, you also receive health benefits of walking every day outside in the fresh air and sunshine!
But your dog needs more than just a daily walk. It’s important to spend time coming up with new games to play with your dog to keep them not just healthy, but mentally fit, happy, and feeling loved. Luckily, there are plenty of summertime games to play with your dog that will help do just that. And here are some of our favorites!
- Water games
- DIY agility obstacle course
- Retrieval games
- Name that Toy!
- Treat scavenger hunt
- Digging box
- Doggie play-date
1. Water games
We all love summer, but summer (especially in Texas) gets HOT! And it’s not just people who get hot and need relief from the heat. Your dog does, too! And the best way to cool off your pup and have fun is to plan some games to play with your dog that involve water! Fill up a dog kiddie pool and let your dog splish and splash in the water. Turn on a sprinkler or get a hose and watch your pup refresh itself and have fun by chasing the water. Or take your dog on a trip to the lake and let them swim and play in the water to their heart’s content. In fact, you might as well bring a bathing suit and join them to cool yourself off, too!
2. DIY agility obstacle course
Have you ever watched dogs compete on the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show’s agility course and thought, “My dog could never do that…!” I mean, those dogs are super impressive. But the truth is those dogs have just had a lot of training. And your dog can be taught, too!
Maybe you don’t have grand competitive visions of your dog winning gold medals in the dog Olympics. However, creating some games to play with your dog to teach them agility in the summer is a great way to keep your dog active and mentally sharp. And they will have a ton of fun, too!
The best way to teach your dog agility is by making an agility course, much like the ones you see on the WKC Dog Show. Also, if you are an avid DIYer, this can be a fun summer project for you! Watch the following video for a few ideas.
3. Retrieval games
One of the most classic summertime games to play with your dog is fetching. Dogs love playing retrieval games with you. Whether it’s a frisbee, a ball, or even just a stick, your dog will have a blast. Retrieval games are a great way for you and your dog to bond, have fun, stay active, and enjoy the fantastic weather outside together. And it’s cheap! All you need is some space – your backyard, the park, the beach – and your dog’s favorite item to fetch, and voila! A perfect summer afternoon for you and your pup.
If you haven’t taught your dog to fetch yet, watch this video to see how!
4. Name that Toy!
Now that you’ve taught your dog to fetch, there are more available games to play with your dog! One game involving fetching that also teaches your dog to learn the names of their favorite toys is the “Name that Toy” game.
In this game, choose a couple of your dog’s favorite toys. Essentially, you take one and say the name of the toy (for example, “Bunny!”) as you throw it, and let your dog bring it back to you. Repeat this several times. Then take the other toy and repeat the process, saying the name of this toy as you throw it. Next, place the two toys next to each other and say the name of one of the toys for your dog to bring to you. If they choose the right toy, reward them with accolades or a small treat. Keep repeating this process and your dog will know the names of his favorite toys!
Here is a more thorough tutorial on how to teach your dog this naming game.
5. Treat scavenger hunt
One of the simpler games to play with your dog outside is to create a scavenger hunt out of treats for them in the backyard. Simply hide a few treats around the yard, and watch as your dog has fun sniffing around to find them! You can place the treats on their own, or inside a toy that holds treats, and then give your dog the treat when they bring it to you.
6. Digging box
If your pup loves to dig (R.I.P. landscaping), try to isolate their urge by making it one of the games to play with your dog. Create a special digging box or boxed-off area. Fill it with sand or dirt, and encourage your dog to dig there by burying a few treats. Hopefully, they will learn to only dig there, and they can have fun digging to their heart’s content (and save your grass while you’re at it).
Here’s a great example!
One of the most entertaining games to play with your dog is simply to blow bubbles. Your dog will love chasing around the bubbles trying to pop them, and you’ll laugh as you enjoy the spectacle! Just make sure they are dog-friendly bubbles, which are easy to make on your own or find online!
8. Doggie play-date
Your dog is your best friend, and you are theirs. But does your dog have a doggie bestie, too? If so, invite your dog’s BFF over for a play-date! Or maybe take them to the park together. If you’ve been playing endless games with your dog and they still seem to have tons of energy, this is a great way for your dog to have fun and be social while you get to finally rest a little in the sunshine.
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