COVID-19 updates & information Read more

Fun games to play with dogs to help them keep fit

Latest News Tags: dog, dogs, exercise, fetch, fit, games, play

Dog playing with ballOur dogs can get bored easily and they are always more than happy to play fetch or have a tug of war given the chance. However, often it can be a struggle to find ways of keeping your dog stimulated in both mind and body, especially when trying to fit it in around life commitments.

Here are some fun and easy games that you can play with your dog to cure their boredom and keep them fighting fit.

Playing fetch is a classic way to give your dog some much needed exercise. However, most dogs won’t automatically understand that they are supposed to bring the ball back.

To teach your dog to play fetch begin by throwing the toy but having an identical toy hidden behind your back. Once the toy has been retrieved then call your dog to you. Tease your dog with the toy you have in your hand and say drop as soon as your dog releases the toy from its mouth. Pick up the toy from the floor whilst throwing the one in your hand. Repeat until the dog is dropping when asked to then reduce the game to one toy. Treats are not recommended for this game as it stops the flow and becomes all about food. By using an identical toy the dog doesn’t keep hold of its favourite one helping the dog to learn quickly and have a fab time.

Some dogs love a game of footie even if the ball is deflated and they will goal keep, dribble and often nose the ball back to you – great exercise and fun for both of you.

Running partners
It’s not for every dog but some of our canine friends love to have a good race. Find somewhere away from dangerous obstacles and cars and let your dog off their leash. It’s a great way for both of you to burn off steam and for your dog to interact with its surroundings. Taking your dog to different locations also provides them with lots of different sights and sniffs and can be very stimulating for the adventurous pet.

Scent games
We all know how powerful dogs noses are, but did you know that the average dog has as many as 220 million scent receptors in its nasal cavities, compared to just 5 million in humans. Try preparing an ‘egg hunt’ or hiding treats away, and then let your dog use its powerful senses to track down the hidden prize.

Hydrotherapy and swimming
Some dogs love to swim and it can be a brilliant low impact way to boost their overall fitness. Here at WitsEnd our unique pool is suitable for dogs of all ages and fitness levels. Our special non slip flooring, hoists, buoyancy aids and toys provide everything you need for an enjoyable swimming session. Click here to find out more.

For practical tips on dog training, behaviour therapy and more please visit our articles page which is full of free advice.

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists
Dr Shahad Mohammed